The Deep Mid Winter Report

Since the final round of the Thundersport GB season plans have been hatching for the 2013 season. Sitting down at the end of a busy racing season one morning before heading out to the dentist, and then on to work, I had a pile of credit card bills to pay in front of me. Thinking to myself “I don’t really want to but I should total these up” it was a job which needed to be done. The grand total, to my surprise, was over £20k.  With some of these cards just finishing on interest free deals I knew that in a few weeks I’d not even be paying the monthly interest, let alone lessening the debt shortly.  I headed off for the dentist in a slightly worse mood, somehow having my teeth drilled now seemed like a punishment!

This mulled over in my mind for a few days. Knowing that I had a £10k motorbike in the garage, briefly, convinced me to carry on racing. I could always sell the bike at the end of the season/TT and repay a good amount of the debt right?? Then the voices in my head said “What if you crash the bike and it gets destroyed or gets stolen? You’d be right in the brown, slippery stuff Mackers!” Unfortunately the voices were right. I couldn’t race the bike properly knowing that if it all turned sour then I’d be sitting on a huge debt with no way of getting out of it. The house has already been re-mortgaged several times for “home improvements” to the point where, with house prices falling, it’s now in negative equity.

So I made the call and sold the ZX10, fortunately this happened pretty quickly before I could change my mind! I’m still in the process of selling the rest of the spares off but my debt now looks much better. This left me looking around for something to race for the season. After all I didn’t want to quit racing just yet but the days of me owning my own race bike are now all over. I have kindly been given a 2013 Kawasaki ZX6R to race wherever I fancy. I just need to prepare/look after the bike and pay the running costs. Once again Kemtile Hygienic Flooring have offered their generous support which will help towards the cost of racing. My loose plan (plans are always best kept loose I find) is to race as much as I can afford to in preparation for the TT. After the TT I’ll reassess my funds and see what I can do from there. I’ll just mention at this point that any contributions will be gratefully received and advertised! So it looks like we are going racing after all!

The TT remains as my focus of the season. The good news is that I’ll be on the Norton again for the Senior TT. A new frame has been built with geometry changes learned from 2012 being applied. There are also a huge amount of changes to the rest of the bike too which once tested I’m sure will give us a big step in the right direction. The team has been expanded to two riders, myself and Dan Hegarty; this will speed up development hugely and can only be a good thing for all concerned.

So the mission continues to drum up support, the more funding I can get the more races I can ride in!

The rest of the winter has been going well. I’ve still been cycling to work, not as much as during the summer due to the weather. I don’t mind riding in the dark/cold but dark/cold and wet I feel is just asking for trouble. Getting injured being knocked off a push bike after a season of racing seems like a bad idea. I have a turbo trainer at home so have been on it regularly. A turbo trainer for those who haven’t seen one – I’d never heard of one before September either – is basically a frame that your push bike rear end attaches to with a roller that the bike wheel rotates (think dyno for push bikes!). So essentially it turns your push bike into an exercise bike. This is massively boring and I don’t think I’ve ever sweated as much in my life but it has, at least, kept my hard earned summer fitness level pretty high. All I need to do now is attach some sort of generator to the roller so I can supply electricity to the house (and take my idea to Dragon’s Den, remember you heard it here first!)

I also dug out my trusty Beta Techno and competed in a trial a couple of weekends ago. The bike had been stuck in the corner of my garage since I last used it in Feb 2012! I was quite shocked to find that I’d planned ahead and actually drained the carb after my last outing so firing it up was pretty easy. Both rear wheel bearings and the head bearings were hanging out of it though. Some hasty repairs the day before we left were in order. The trial was organized by the Wycombe and District MCC, with whom I used to ride trials with in my homeland/youth (is my youth over already?).


The event was run just outside of High Wycombe in Bucks. After a night out at the Thundersport GB awards in Hinckley we carried on down to the trial the next morning. It was great to see some of the old faces from my youth (there’s that word again) trials days and the event was as well marked out and run as they always have been. I had a great day, the South Midland centre is known for its mud plugging trials, not the rocks and stuff that I’ve had to deal with in the Cheshire centre. The best section of the day involved a fourth gear muddy slot with plenty of throttle and speed just the way I like it! I lost one, stupid, five on the final lap in a section which I’d not lost a mark on all day. Aside from that I was pleased with how I’d ridden considering I’d not been on a trials bike for almost a year. The results came in that evening to reveal that I’d won the clubman’s class and only missed out on winning the whole trial by one mark! Feeling pretty pleased with myself I have plans to ride another trial in Frodsham in late January, I reckon I might even take on the hard route. That’ll shrink the size of my head a bit I reckon.

So, my 2013 plan, so far, is to compete in some of the Thundersport GB/ Wirral 100 meetings early in the season followed by the TT. I will also ride in some local trials (I don’t like travelling so won’t go far!!). It would be rude not to do a couple of cycling events too Liverpool/Chester/Liverpool in July and the Manchester 100 in September are both on the cards. I reckon, if my backside will take it, I could do the 100 mile event in Manchester this year. We shall see!!

Now the season is approaching I’ll be able to update the blog with preparations of the new bike etc so please watch this space.

Mackers #30

Posted: January 15, 2013

Ian Mackman