TT2012 – Mackers Reflects….
After the craziness (is that a word?) of the TT the dust is beginning to settle and given me a chance to sum it all up. Not a bad TT on the whole for me and my small team. The ZX10, which has been making great progress on the short circuits, was a huge handful on the bumps at the TT. I don’t mind telling you that during the first lap of practice I wished I’d got my Suzuki back! Slowly making very minor changes to weight the front more and more was making the bike more and more stable every time. We really just ran out of time. Making changes to the bike and then going straight into a race is never a good situation to be in! Although my fastest lap speed didn’t improve (by a whisker) my overall race pace was faster. This I am pleased with as I know that there is much more to come from the bike. I felt that my previous Suzuki, and I, had got as good as we were going to get at the TT. I still have loads of things to try on the Kawasaki, longer wheelbase, dropping forks through, lesser damping etc etc. It gives me an excuse to go back next year and chase the 125 mph lap that I’ve been looking for anyway!!
My Supersport TT was nowhere near as successful as I had expected. The bike was a great handling machine which I made very few changes to. Minor faults and a lack of engine performance left me with some poor results. I hope to continue my association with Team Hairy Snid who were great throughout. They have also, as was always the goal, raised some great awareness for the charity and presented a cheque to the Rob Vine fund as fruits of their hard earned labour. Well done boys – my crew and guests were very complimentary about the Lancaster Ale too!
The Norton made a great start, there was absolutely no expectation on me or the bike, we just wanted a good base/data for the future. Some stability issues early in practice week, which weren’t unexpected, were hugely improved upon. Geometry changes during the limited number of laps (6 in total) were the order of the TT. The final, one lap practice on Wednesday’s race day saw a eureka moment with the settings and the bike took a massive step in the right direction. With the circuit damp through Glen Helen, Governors etc and a standing start/short lap the lap speed of 114.66mph really didn’t give an accurate measure of what the bike was capable of. Even with another lap on the same setting a much better time would have been achieved.
More changes in the same direction were carried out for Senior race day. With the weather delaying the Senior from Friday to Saturday and then eventually it getting canned completely was a massive blow for all the factory guys who had put so much effort into the project. I did however get the chance to run in the parade lap, Cal Crutchlow and John McGuiness being the only other bikes on circuit. A great chance to give the bike a run, test the new settings, and show it off to the folks who came to see some action. Again the bike was a big improvement, the most stable it had been but still maintaining the (almost too) quick steering which had always been a strong feature. I went for it early on in the lap, on the dry bits, to test the bike and tried my best to give a wave back to the crowd who were showing some real support. Stopping to do a burn out at Ballaugh, I caught up with Crutchlow and McGuiness at Parliament Square just in time to do another burn out next to Crutchlow. Now there aren’t many people in the world who can say that they’ve done that! I stopped at the Gooseneck too for another burnout, (I don’t treat all bikes like this by the way, the boss said do some burn outs and entertain the people, just following orders Sir!) it was great to see how much support the bike had got. The fans had all been out on the course for hours and it was good to be able to show our appreciation, no one wanted to have the race cancelled but at least we got to put on a show.
All in all a good solid TT, not a record breaker for me but all of the bikes made huge progress for next season. At least I can go there and start from the settings I’m at now rather than reinvent the wheel for the first 3 nights of practice!
Once again the TT was a success and, as always, we were all gutted to be leaving at the end of the fortnight. Everyone suffers from TT blues once home, having to obey road laws again and going back to a normal job is always a massive let down!! No one has stopped me in supermarket since I’ve been home asking for my picture with their kids/to sign their T-shirt either. To be honest I don’t spend that much time in the supermarket do I Mrs Mackers? So I guess I’m still not more famous than Elvis then! The only thing I won’t miss about the Island is the Doc Marten wearing seagulls walking on the caravan roof at 4am.
Huge thanks have to go out to all the people who helped me throughout the fortnight. With my free time being very sparse this year I literally couldn’t have done it without you. With my head being firmly in another place for the duration of the event I probably didn’t even say thanks either (ignorant git that I am!)….
James Powell (Infront Motorcycles, Chester), Joanne, Ted, Ann (the usual suspects), Ron Fry (genuine legend and I quote “well it all started in the Kentagon”, Sam Hornsey (Mr 6am home from Douglas, I’ll tell your Mum don’t worry), Dad, Steve, Louise, Jordan, Ian. Stephen (Mr Kemtile), Carol, Nicole. Craig (for Manx Buttery accompaniment), Daniel Cross, Stuart (Bike Devils), Terry (Motodirect), Kev (KS Performance), Big Kev (paddock marshall, for giving me a site worthy of a new postcode) and anyone else involved.
Many thanks as well to all of the Norton guys who put their priceless motorcycle in the hands of an idiot like me! Stuart Garner, Skinner, Touche, Steve (don’t call me Elvis), Si, Ian Morgan, Joe, Rob (the Bandit), Aiden and all of the guys at the factory who put an enormous effort in to just make it to the TT. This alone was a huge achievement in itself.
As a footnote we think our stuff is safe in the bottom paddock, as we are all basically in the same boat, no money, racing for the love etc. So to the ar$ehole who robbed 2 Snap on Ratchets, a row of 10 Snap-on sockets and various other tools from inside my awning during the fortnight. …Whoever you are I hope that your parents eventually get married, that you live a sad lonely existence and at some stage someone steals something from you that you really need, whilst you continue to be the tw@t that you obviously are…… Right I reckon that’s that one covered.
On return from the TT I have been trawling through the wreckage of my ZX10. The TT really does take its toll, the fairing looks like it’s took some heavy shrapnel damage on a bombing run over Berlin, 2 burnt out clutch packs, head bearings hanging out of it, fuel tank leaking etc etc. It’s taken four or five nights of 11pm finishes after work but it’s now more or less sorted, ready for the next Thundersport GB round at Snetterton this coming weekend 23/24 June. If you are able to attend come and say hello, I might even make you a brew (or Ann/Jo will, now I’m famous I try not to lower myself to the menial stuff!). See you there.