Royce’s condition improves, but still a long road to recovery

Since arriving at Aintree Hospital, Liverpool, Royce has undergone a successful surgery to mend his broken femur and pelvis.

While these were our main points of concern early on, as well as the lungs, there were also fractures to Royce’s collarbone and ankle that we knew would need minor surgery eventually, which is now planned for this coming Monday.

While things are definitely improving, it’s tough to see him still under heavy sedation. This is to assist his lungs in recovering properly, given the amount of pain he’ll be in when waking up.

Tests have been conducted by staff to ensure he’s responsive and in true Royce fashion, he passed with flying colours. After Monday’s surgery, the plan is to gradually ween him off the sedatives and allow him to wake up slowly.

The medical staff at Aintree have been, and continue to be, terrific and are confident Royce will make a good recovery, however this will take some time.

We are very grateful to the many people who have enquired about Royce’s condition and have sent love and best wishes.

A special thanks goes out to our friends Laura and Chris who were kind enough to drive Debbie and Beth (Royce’s mum and partner) to Aintree Hospital from the ferry.

Back on The Island as we dealt with Royce’s situation, we saw a magnificent gesture by the winner of the Senior Manx Grand Prix, Nathan Harrison, who mentioned Royce and wished him well in his victory speech.

From here, we’re hoping for a successful surgery on Monday and the chance to finally speak to Royce once he slowly comes to. There will be further medical plans to come and hopefully some timeframes from doctors, which we’ll keep everyone posted on.

Incident update following Tuesday, 27 August practice

Although recovering well from illness and being back on the pace for his MGP Lightweight class, the Rowe Racing Team regrets to announce that Royce has unfortunately had another incident on the Isle of Man in the MGP Junior/Senior practice session overnight.

Heading out on the Triumph, Royce came off on his first lap at Alpine, a very fast, sweeping right-hand corner.

He’s broken his left tibia, the ball joint of his right hip (subsequently breaking his pelvis) and all the ribs on his right-hand side – which has caused his right lung to collapse. There is also a break to his wrist, and a number of lacerations and abrasions to his body.

If anything can be considered lucky out of the incident, he did retain consciousness throughout and has no brain or spinal injuries.

He wasn’t able to talk much as he was in severe shock and heavily sedated by the time the team reached him. He was first treated at Nobles (local Isle of Man hospital) where the staff were fantastic – we can’t thank them enough. However, to be safe and due to the difficulty of treating the hip injury, he has been airlifted to Aintree Hospital in Liverpool. The family will be flying over ASAP.

The support from everyone on The Island has been great and we thank everyone for their well wishes through this trying time. We’ll provide more info as it comes to hand.

Resting up for the big dance

First the rain was hampering our campaign and now Royce is feeling under the weather! He was admitted to Nobles Hospital late on Sunday with what is believed to be a serious case of food poisoning.


PIC: They kept my old room for me!


He spent nearly five hours in there on a drip but doctors are confident that he will recover quickly, however we are going to have to monitor the situation. It may affect our programme if he doesn’t recover his fitness as soon as possible, but we have faith that Royce knows his body well enough to make an educated call.

Last night (Monday) we had the opportunity to go out for a single practice lap at the end of the days classic races but Royce still wasn’t feeling 100%, so we decided to sit it out.

Instead, we found a good vantage point to watch an epic Classic Superbike race. After leading most of the way, Michael Dunlop retired just a couple miles from the finish to see our friend Dave Johnson take the win.


PIC: Hoping this fog lifts and we get a sunny couple of race days! (Credit: Deb Lock)


Due to the time lost Monday morning because of fog, we have four laps of qualifying scheduled for Tuesday, which was supposed to be a day off for rest. It’ll be two on each bike, as long as Royce is feeling up to it.

The racing then starts on Wednesday, so we’re all hoping he’ll be ready to give it his best shot! Luckily, we’ve got another rest day scheduled for Thursday, before a big day of racing on Friday.



11:30: Roads close around the Course

12:15: Manx Grand Prix Newcomers (A,B) Race (4 laps) & C (3 laps)

14:45: Manx Grand Prix Senior and Junior Qualifying (2 laps)

15:30: Manx Grand Prix Lightweight / Ultra Lightweight Qualifying (2 laps)

16:45: Roads scheduled to open around the Course



Super Saturday

After a week of poor weather, it was fantastic to get out for two laps on each bike Saturday morning in perfect weather. As the day went on, it got really warm – not Aussie warm, but enough for the Poms to start sunbaking!

The team is still sorting the Triumph out, but it’s going well. The Ducati is now fixed and back on song performing well. After the late night and hassle of missing our second session, we found it was a ten cent fuse that had broken… annoying, but such is the foils of racing on The Island – it’s a little further back to the pits compared to Royce’s usual trailer ride at Mallala!


PIC: A flying Duc in the sun (Credit: Tracey’s Pics)


During first practice, Royce managed to pass John McGuinness on the Duke. McGuinness was riding the immaculate green Paton, which he then piloted to the Classic Senior chequered flag in the afternoon.

As with all sessions, the day didn’t go exactly to plan. We somehow tore a front tyre on the Ducati, but Royce and team still are not sure what caused it.

We also damaged a front tyre on the Triumph when Royce clipped a kerb through Kirkmichael.

Not wanting to miss out on the party, the pit crew then managed to show support by sustaining a punctured tyre on the van – Rowe Racing Repairs sprung back into action!


PIC: “Yep, it’s definitely flat – do we need glue?” – Royce showing off his mechanical knowledge.


The second practice scheduled in the afternoon was cancelled after a red flag incident at Ballaugh stopped the Classic Senior TT. It’s lost time, but respect for the Mountain and fallen competitors comes first.

So, with the Saturday afternoon off after a busy couple of weeks, the team went down to Hillberry to watch Bruce Anstey win the Classic Lightweight TT.


PIC: Our local viewing spot at Hillberry.


Tomorrow (Sunday) we’re working on the bikes and checking everything before a final practice session on Monday at the usual 6.20pm timeslot. Then, the rest of the week it’s time to race!.


PIC: The Trumpy is improving after every lap (Credit: Tracey’s Pics)



Monday 26th August – Roads Close at 0930 hrs until no later than 2100 hrs


10:15hrs Junior Classic TT Race 4 laps


13:00hrs Classic Racer Magazine Classic TT Lap of Honour 1 lap


14:15hrs RST Superbike Classic TT Race 4 laps


16:15hrs Manx Grand Prix Newcomers A Race 4 laps


Manx Grand Prix Newcomers B Race 4 laps


Manx Grand Prix Newcomers C Race3 laps


18:20hrs MGP Senior/MGP Junior Qualifying (No Newcomers)       2 laps


18:55hrs          MGP Lightweight & Ultra Lightweight Qualifying (No Newcomers)2 laps


The Battle of Ramsey

What a hectic day on The Island!

After the inclement weather earlier in the week, we had been granted two sessions for Friday – one in the afternoon and one in the evening, giving us a chance to get four laps in on both bikes.


PIC: Royce on the line, finally staring into a blue horizon.


The first session was on the Ducati. This was its first run since we arrived and it performed extremely well, Royce lapping just behind leader Dave Butler. Royce’s 110mph lap has given the team some much needed confidence heading into race week. Most of all, it was good to just get out there!

It was then time for the Triumph, which performed well following a few suspension tweaks. Royce is still lapping well, sitting in the top 20 riders as he slowly increases pace in certain sections. We changed the oil in the Triumph in a carpark just after the first session to be safe.


PIC: Rowe Racing Repairs – We come to you!


In the evening sessions, Royce was out on the Ducati first up and it was running well, allowing him to slowly build rhythm back up. Unfortunately, this was short-lived as he broke down at the Ramsey hairpin – basically the other side of The Island from the pits.

Royce managed to ring Les and tell him where he was. The recovery operation got underway as Les and Brian headed out to Ramsey, leaving Brian there to look after the bike, and then racing back to get Royce into the pits before the second session (MGP Junior/Senior on the Triumph) which had subsequently begun, ended.

It was quite the drive and we returned to the Paddock just as the session closed, missing it by literally one minute. Locky and Mark had the bike idling and ready at pit exit as we’d phoned them to tell them we were almost there but just missed it.

We then had to get back to Brian once the roads had re-opened, not getting there until about 10pm.


PIC: No rest for the wicked!


The team are now working through the night to get the Ducati fixed in time for an early practice session tomorrow (Saturday). The team have an inkling on what the issue may be, but obviously won’t take any chances on the Mountain Course, so will be checking the entire bike over for outliers.

Although losing two valuable practice/qualifying laps on both bikes isn’t ideal, Royce is still in high spirits and had this to say:

‘The morning started off well, with two solid laps on both bikes.

‘It was great to get some saddle time on the Duke, I felt comfortable on that quickly and will just keep building things up slowly. I’m still finding my groove on the Triumph but am just making sure I don’t rush the process of getting back to my old pace. It will come with time.

‘The evening session was a bit frustrating with the bike losing power coming into Ramsey, forcing me to retire. Ah well, plenty of track time for tomorrow!’


PIC: On the pipe, boy! (Credit: Tracey’s Pics)


The announcement came through not long ago that Saturday’s racing will have an amended schedule to account for some additional practice. The timing now runs as follows:



11.00: Roads close around the Course

11.30: Classic TT Superbike and Lightweight Qualifying (2 laps) & Manx Grand Prix Senior and Junior/ Newcomers A Qualifying (2 laps)

12.05: Classic TT Junior Qualifying (2 Laps) & Manx Grand Prix Lightweight/ Ultra Lightweight/ Newcomers B&C Qualifying (2 laps)


15.30: Back to the Future: The Hizzy Years Commemorative Lap


18.10: Classic TT Superbike Qualifying & Manx Grand Prix Senior & Junior/ Newcomers A Qualifying (1 lap)

18.25: Classic TT Junior Qualifying (1 lap) & Manx Grand Prix Lightweight/ Ultra Lightweight/ Newcomers B&C Qualifying (1 lap)

19.30: Roads scheduled to open


After finally seeing some track time, the followers back in Oz have been flicking channels to find the best source to hear Royce.

As reported, Manx Radio is great for listening, along with for cool live footage. In terms of live timing and Sulby Speed Trap, we’ve found that is great – you just need to sign-up with an email address, then pick the session and class you’d like to keep track of.

We also would like to thank every single person who has been showing support over the past few weeks! We’re all run off our feet here, so it’s sometimes hard to reply or pass on news in a timely manner. But, after just ticking over 1000 Facebook followers and regularly getting a couple hundred readers for each post on this blog, the support is well felt!

More rain hampers extended practice

After a soggy few days, the Clerk of Course had planned a double session for Thursday to help make up for lost time.

Unfortunately, the morning weather didn’t want to play ball and the extra early session was therefore canned. So, we waited around throughout the arvo for the evening session.

Just before the roads closed, there was a traffic accident on the mountain, so the start of the session was delayed by an hour.


PIC: With the cold and rainy weather, The Duke stayed in bed all day.


In the meantime, the rain returned and visibility dropped.

The Clerk of the Course decided to let Classics and Manx Grand Prix Lightweights out on an untimed sighting lap, but most Lightweight riders (including us) decided against it as the roads were too wet all around the course and there was nothing to be gained.


PIC: A pink pub in Peel.


We’re hoping for a double session tomorrow but will run the Ducati on a dyno first thing in the morning just to give it a blast and check it over before we get on track.


PIC: Royce talking to Irishman Dave Butler in Parc Ferme waiting for the session to begin. Dave is starting the Lightweight class at number 5 (Royce is starting at 6) so we’ve been setting up alongside each other all week.


Royce had this to say about another frustrating day on The Island, “We were so close to getting out tonight! It’s hard for me and the crew to get geared and amped up to go racing and then to pull the plug at the last moment.

“A bit of frustration hit tonight, with a delay due to a crash up on the mountain mile. The lap available out in the wet wasn’t gonna do us any good – there’s nothing to learn from it, so we decided to give it a miss.

“Tomorrow’s double sessions should supply some good saddle time finally.”


As it stands, the official statement for Friday’s riding is as follows:

Gary Thompson had already confirmed the additional Friday afternoon session due to the time lost earlier in the week. The confirmed schedule for qualifying for the Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix tomorrow (Friday 23rd August 2019) is as follows:

12.30: Roads close around the Course

13.00: Classic TT Senior & Junior/ Manx Grand Prix Lightweight & Ultra Lightweight/ MGP Newcomers B&C qualifying

14.30: Classic TT Superbike & Lightweight/ Manx Grand Prix Senior & Junior/ MGP Newcomers A qualifying

16.30: Roads opening around the Course

18.00: Roads closed around the Course

18.20: Classic TT Senior & Junior/ Manx Grand Prix Lightweight & Ultra Lightweight/ MGP Newcomers B&C qualifying

19.15: Classic TT Superbike & Lightweight/ Manx Grand Prix Senior and Junior/ MGP Newcomers A qualifying

21.00: All roads open around the Course

Competitors continue to battle weather woes

As expected, the heavens opened up Wednesday afternoon and the decision was made to cancel practice.

If weather permits, we’ll have two sessions tomorrow with roads closed early afternoon, then opened for people to get home, then closed again in the evening.


PIC: Catching up with Stockers and Chris, official suppliers of Coopers to the team.


The official statement came around 3pm Isle of Man time:

‘Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson has confirmed that due to the bad weather forecast during this evening’s (Wednesday 21st August) qualifying session for the Classic TT Races and Manx Grand Prix, the session has been cancelled.

Tomorrow will now feature two sessions which will run to the following schedule:











PIC: Making friends when the sun was still shining!


There wasn’t a great deal for the team to do, as the bikes are prepped and ready to see some track time. To pass the time, the team ended up listening for updates on the radio, then once the news came through ended up enjoying a quiet pint in a pub in Laxey.

With the early start, Aussie followers will be able to listen to Royce’s first practice at a half-reasonable hour. His first practice for the MGP Senior/Junior aboard the Triumph will set off at 10pm AEST. And for those willing to stay up and listen to the second set of sessions (4am AEST)… get that coffee brewing!


PIC: Royce having a bar snack at a pub in Peel.

Another practice abandoned but contingencies now confirmed

Poor weather has once again halted practice on the Isle of Man.

Today we were all set to go with Royce contesting the Lightweight class (Ducati) first and then the Junior/Senior (Triumph) after.

The opening session was to start at 6.20pm. We were warmed up, fuelled up and helmet on when at 6.17pm it started to rain, forcing the session to be delayed for 10 minutes, then again and again until it really poured down and the decision was made to cancel practice all together.


PIC: Before today’s session was due to start, Royce was interviewed by MGP TV who are planning to live stream most of the practices and all races this year. You can watch their Tuesday night pre-practice footage here.


The weather doesn’t look like it’ll get any better tomorrow, so thankfully Clerk of Course, Gary Thompson has made the call to utilise the additional practice session on Thursday afternoon.

“The schedule will now see roads close around the TT Course at 12.30pm and reopen between 4.30pm and 6pm and then close again at 6pm for the evening qualifying session. The full schedule for Thursday’s qualifying programme will be released on Wednesday evening.”


PIC: On Royce’s session yesterday he clipped a branch of a bush just before the Gooseneck, leaving quite a bruise. We went up there this morning and he did a bit of pruning.


We’ve learnt from past years that patience is one of the most important qualities needed so we’ll just continue to wait.

We have to be down at Technical Inspection before 3.30pm every day but sessions don’t start until 6.20 (when they do start) so we’ve had to equip one of the vans with a bed for Royce to get his required amount of sleep.


PIC: Royce in the makeshift snooze-mobile.


After a much anticipated return to road racing, Royce had this to say, “Getting out on the bike Monday was great. The track was just how I remembered with a few spots being resurfaced and felt quite nice.

“I’m just easing into it with early braking and rolling through corners. I’ve now got my base lap and will work on getting back to my previous lap times.

“I snoozed in the van ‘til go time then hung around parc ferme waiting for the clerk of course to let us know they were ready. The sudden downpour that sent people scattering was the give away that tonight wasn’t gonna go ahead.

“Will rest up and prepare for the next day.”


PIC: Royce making some smooth lines in Monday’s first practice (Credit: Nick Wheeler)


Fingers crossed the heavens somehow hold off for Wednesday night’s practice, but if not we now at least know there’s an extra couple of sessions waiting for us on Thursday. Onward and upward!

Encouraging signs early for Rowe Racing Team

After some frustrating delays over the weekend, we finally got the chance to hit the track on Monday night (Tuesday morning AU time).

The Island saw some good weather, apart from a small amount of rain just before the session started, which meant the adhesion flags were out at Greeba, Gorse Lea and Ballacrain.


PIC: Royce doing his best ‘pre-race Rossi ritual’ impersonation. (Credit: Beth Tucker)



Royce headed out on the Triumph in the MGP Junior/Senior practice with the intention of easing himself back into the course showing the respect that the Mountain Course deserves.

We were surprised to see a 112mph lap flash up, putting him 14th in the standings. A full rundown of fastest laps can be found here.


PIC: The pit crew catching up with South Aussie legend, and current fastest Aussie around the TT course, Davo Johnson. (Credit: Beth Tucker)


Some minor adjustments are planned to the bike as Royce is experiencing a lot of wheel spin around the track, but overall the bike ran well and felt great.


PIC: Royce blasting through Windy Corner (Credit: Deb Lock)


Unfortunately, as Royce came in from his practice session, a red flag incident occurred at Black Hut which brought an end to practice for the day, which meant we couldn’t get out on the Ducati.

We’ve still managed to run the Duke up and down the road, but getting on track to start making minor adjustments and analyse data is really what we’re hoping for this week.


PIC: Royce getting back into the swing of things (Credit: Tracey’s Pics)


Good weather is predicted for tomorrow, so hopefully we can get more laps in on the Triumph as well as opening laps on the Ducati.

Roads are due to close at the same time tomorrow, 6pm. The MGP Junior/Senior session kicks off at 6.20pm and the Lightweight and Ultralight session for the Ducati at 7.15pm.

Bad weather hampers first practice

With the team prepped and Royce both mentally and physically ready to compete in first practice, it was a bit disappointing to have the news come through that Saturday and then Sunday practice were to be cancelled.

It was fine and sunny in Douglas but heavy rain fell between Glen Vine and Ramsey so we couldn’t get out on the Saturday.

18-8-19 017

PIC: Technical inspection went well thanks to a meticulous machine checklist.


We were ready to go as scheduled but there was a half hour delay due to the rain, then another half hour delay, then another, until it had to be called off altogether.

This is a bit stressful as we get ready to go then have to ramp everything down, get ready again and yet again stand down.

18-8-19 023

PIC: Royce chatting with Matt Stevenson, winner of last year’s Senior race.


Sunday was unfortunately cancelled due to a lack of marshals and impending poor weather. Given the track is so big, it’s a huge logistical ask to get people out across the whole island.

To try and help out the cause, a few of our very own support crew went out to help marshal. The girls were posted at Keppel Gate. In the early days the first rider who reached Keppel Gate had to stop and open it and the last rider through had to stop and close it.


PIC: The girls doing their bit as volunteer marshals.


Clerk of Course, Gary Thompson said, “What I don’t want to do is close the road, get everyone in place, have everyone waiting and then find we can’t hold the qualifying session, so we have decided to give everyone plenty of notice and cancel today’s session and concentrate on getting marshal numbers in place for Monday night.”


PIC: We hire our vans from ‘4 Hire’, who look after us each year and do a great job.


So, with weather permitting, the roads will now close at 6pm on Monday night (2am Tuesday AEST) for the first qualifying session, which is due to get underway at 6.20pm. This will be for Royce aboard the Triumph in the MGP Senior/Juniors, followed by the Ducati in the MGP Lightweights/Ultra Lightweights class scheduled to go out at 7.15pm.

18-8-19 003

PIC: Before heading off to the track we gave the bikes a quick test on the road outside our accommodation, Ballacain Cottage.


With some spare time, the crew have been catching up with old friends from past Manx Grand Prix events. The team also have enjoyed some hearty pub meals and great cultural events.

18-8-19 015

PIC: There are a number of wild wallabies on the Island, mainly up on the mountain. A few escaped from a wildlife park a few years ago and have multiplied, and there is currently a wallaby festival going on all around the island, with statues and exhibitions all over the place.