TT2012 Friday Practice & Superbike Race Report
The last night of practice went on for me with some (much needed) time on the Team Hairy Snid 600. Getting out early in the session the bike has needed next to no setting changes – just I needed to learn how to ride it. I set a good first lap from a pit lane limiter test at the start line of 117mph + and was running a much better second lap having found my way around the bike. Seeing the fuel light on the run to Ramsey was a concern as I knew with over 10 miles left to run getting back to the start/finish was going to be a struggle. I started to short shift over the mountain to conserve a bit of fuel but eventually ran out to a stop at the approach to the 33rd milestone. Desperate to get out on the ZX10 and another run on the Norton I asked the marshal what the best route back would be on foot. He said to head across the fields to the creg and get picked up from there. I set off stumbling/running and crashing my way through bracken, natural springs and over barbed wire fences in my leathers etc. James (from Infront Motorcycles Chester) was on his way to meet me at the Creg. After around a mile I was starting to flag a bit (it was a pretty hot evening and I’d just ridden the 600 flat out for 70 miles and now some fell running in full race kit was taking its toll). I’d just gotten to Kate’s cottage with the Creg in sight when I got a call to say that the session had been cancelled (this info would’ve been more use 20 minutes early where I could have sunbathed on the mountain instead! I carried on (at a more sedate pace) down to the Creg and got a lift back to the paddock, disappointed not to have had a chance to test some big changes on the Norton or some minor ones on the ZX10.
The first Superbike race got underway on Saturday, I’d qualified in 23rd with my Wednesday practice time of 124.3mph. Having made some fork spring changes which I’d hoped to test during Friday night’s final practice session. With this session cut short due to a heavy oil spill I went into the race untested but confident that the bike would be an improvement.
From the first time over Snugborough the front end was clearly more settled. I finally felt confident to press on over the bumpier sections with the bike. I got passed during the first lap which is always a bit demoralising. But I pressed on and regained the position with some slick pit stops. The race went well for me although the lap times didn’t reflect it which was frustrating. Several yellow flags etc held me back but still I’d hoped for more to be honest, finishing the race in 16th place with a best lap of 122.8mph.
Happy enough to get a solid finish under my belt but frustrated that I’d not improved on my Wednesday night lap time.
The afternoon practice session saw me get a lap in on the Norton. Refreshingly the bike was a huge improvement with some big geometry changes. Where it had been a bit of a handful it was now starting to feel like I could push it. Unfortunately rain on the mountain meant that a decent lap time was impossible but we didn’t need a time to show us that the bike was making progress. Some more, minor changes, are on the cards for Wednesday night’s Senior practice.
Posted: June 5, 2012