Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Far Eastern Cyberspace
TALES FROM T HE NW 200 - OUCH !!
Latest Report... 16 May 2006
North West 200
What a week of racing!
This has been without a doubt the toughest week I have had in a long while. Straight from our Tandragee 100 celebrations, it was up to the PortRushCoast to set up the team's pit awning.
The team have recently acquired a 45 ft semi-trailer with the ex-team Honda wrap around awning to be used at all the international races. Man it this thing huge! We have enough room in our awning for all the bikes, hospitality and plenty to spare. It makes it great for everyone to get out of the weather.
Tuesday night was the first practice/qualifying session and I headed out on my Robinson's Concrete Honda to record the 6th fastest time on my third lap, feeling very comfortable around the track.
Next I was out on the Wilson Craig 600cc machine and the week began to get a little more trying! On my first lap entering Church bend a second gear right-hander I changed line to pass some slower riders and as I crossed a man hole cover the back end came round on me. No probs I thought, just a small slide until I came to an abrupt stop against the curb to the Church fence feet first!
Straight away I knew I was in trouble as my heels were hurting bad and I was in the ambulance to hospital straight away.
Gareth Robinson and Tash got to the hospital soon after to find me in bed looking worse for wear and still in a lot of pain. After the x-rays I was informed I had a fracture in the left heel but both heels were very badly bruised.
I have to say it took me a long time to convince the doctor and nurse to strap my feet and not plaster them! Knowing plaster would be an instant end to my race week.
Thursday night I was back at the circuit to pass a brief medical examination. Showing the doc that the pain in my heels was not going to effect how I could ride the bike as my foot rests are either in the middle arch or the balls of my feet.
First I was out on my John Harris Motorcycles Superstock Honda to do a few easy laps and loosen up. This was my first time on the Superstock bike this year.
Next up back out on the 600cc and trouble again. On my first lap entering the Corona chicane I was over the highside and sliding down the road again. This time it was my hip taking the beating of the curb.
Straight away I knew something was wrong with the bike. The marshals confirmed this on telling me that the black flag was out for me at the next corner and my bike had been smoking since I began the lap.
Unfortunately I had a small oil leak that found it's way to my back tire and I was down.
Come race day I was very sore but blue sky and 120.000 people at the North West 200 was too much to miss and I was back to the doc for my medical clearance.
I have to thank to doctors for their help all week but there is no thanks for the part where I had to jump down two steps and land on each foot to prove I had strength in my feet/ankles!! After that I figured the bike would be a breeze and I was out for the first Superbike race.
Not a bad start and away in about 6th before catching Ian Lougher on the Stobart Honda. Ian and myself had a great race with our two Hondas evenly matched down the huge NW straights where we both reached speeds of 196 mph!
I managed to get Ian at the finish line to take fourth place.
Next I was out on the John Harris Superstock bike to get some extra laps and a little more time on this brand new Honda.
I'd qualified about 11th for this class and after a big moment with some other riders in lap one I was way down the field. Unfortunately my team mate Les Shand who was riding well in this race crashed and broke his collar bone in the Corona Chicane! I think that next year that could be the Uel Duncan chicane!!!
Now for the main event, the 2006 North West 200. Although sore I was looking forward to the challenge.
Having a blinder of a start I slipped into second place behind Michael Rutter into turn one and put my head down, knowing I had some very strong riders and bikes on my trail. The speed of my Robinson's Concrete Superbike held off the boys behind down the first long straight but heading into Metropole corner Bruce and Ian pushed up the inside under breaks. I ran wide so Plater and McGuinness also came by and I went from 2nd to 6th in one turn.
Next it was Guy Martin on the AIM Yamaha to pass me and I was in 7th!
Setting into the race I could see that Guy and I were slowing each other up and letting the others get away. So I put my head down passing them both and chasing McGuinness. Unfortunately Bruce Anstey had to pull out with a mechanical failure which meant I was up to 4th position and chasing John as I wanted a podium.
I made some ground for a couple of laps before my body started hurting more, causing me to ease up and ride home a safe and sound 4th!!!!!
So overall I am stoked, considering that both nights of practice I thought the week was over and even though we just missed the podium in both legs I had run as high as second against some of the best riders around.
Now it's rest and nothing more for me until the TT practice begins on the 27th of this month.
A massive thanks to the whole team this weekend as everybody worked so hard and it showed with the Uel Duncan racing team standing out as the friendliest/happiest in the paddock.
Thanks again Uel, Davy, Tash and sorry for causing you guys so much stress over the last weekend wondering where I was!