Tell me about your first 100mph lap around the Mountain Circuit
I think it was my second or maybe third time of racing the MGP and was a Monday or Tuesday practice. It was a 2 lap session and I remember coming over the line and thinking to myself that that felt quite good, but no more than that. It felt comfortable and smooth and I felt that I hadn’t made too many mistakes. But 100mph is not really that spectacular.
Aye but hang on, that’s an average speed over the complete circuit. Trust me, I think its spectacular.
In those days the timings were all done manually o we had to hand around till about 9pm to get our times. We were hanging over the counter like wee children waiting to hear how we had done. And there it was in black and white. My top speed would have been around 140mph. We celebrated that night alright.
Do you instinctively know that you have done a good lap?
Generally yes. I can say to myself that this corner was good, this one was poor, could have gone harder here etc but occasionally lap time can surprise you. The last practice for racing is usually the Saturday evening and I normally do one lap with brand new race tyres on –just to scrub them in a bit for racing. So I am not really trying my hardest on this lap but often complete it in really good times. It comes down, I think, to being smooth rather than aggressive.
How much is a quick lap down to the machine?
Oh, a whole lot. I feel I could go a whole lot quicker on a faster bike. I could vastly improve my time on JMc`s Fireblade J But still not as fast as him of course. Guys like him have so much talent. He will cut hedges and kerbs that wee bit closer than me and therefore carry more speed. He is braver than me .I like to have a foot or two to play with. If we both started together, on identical machine, I might just keep up with him in a straight line, but come that first corner, he would be away and I might never see him again. If a rider can demonstrate your talent on a lesser machine, eventually the right bike will come to you. Conor Cummins, Dan Kneen and Gary Johnson are prime examples of that. It can be a dangerous dream however to plough thousands of pounds into a bike that, may, just go a mile or tow an hour quicker than a production bike. It`s funny though, I do notice in the paddock here, that sometimes lads are spending more and more money on vans and kit rather than the bike, which is odd.
But that’s maybe so the women can come along to the races with the dog and watch Strictly J
Do you have someone do a board for you?
Yes and no. I do get a reminder for fuel and occasionally a Go Cargo board. I do give a nod or a thumbs up to those who I know but when you`re running 50th a proper board wouldn’t be much use to me. I did have a guy wave a calendar at me once because he thought I was going too slowly.
I do find though that I start to wind down a little coming over the mountain on the last lap. I am already thinking about getting over the line. Maybe a board suggesting that I am a second 2 behind improving my position would help me go a little faster.