Isle of Man TT blog: Cameron Donald’s supercross charge

By Gary Pinchin -

TT & road races

 31 May 2012 09:26

There I was, in the gym at 7.15am this morning – stupidly had a 15-minute lie-in and missed the doors actually opening – giving it max on the rower, listening to Manx Radio.

And there was some chat of John McGuinness and Cameron Donald laying down their markers in the previous evening’s practice.

Well if yesterday was marker laying, what about tonight’s session with John the first to lap at 130mph this week, and Cameron on a mission to do the same until a stone pierced his Wilson Craig Honda rad and forced him to park up at Windy Corner?

I can’t remember who it was stood by me in the pits, looking at the timing screen, but the comment was, ‘well that’s Cameron’s evening screwed – he’ll be stuck up there all night.’

He would have been if it hadn’t been for a couple of guys on off-road bikes. One offered him a pillion ride back to salvation. Then the other pipes up and offers him his KTM two-stroke!

Cameron jumps on it, celebrates his luck with a massive wheelie that’s wild enough for the guy on the other bike to think of chasing after him because it’s obvious Cam has no idea how to ride a crosser!

Cam, a former dirt track champ and who rides a crosser at least a couple of days every week all year round,  said: “I was just dicking about. I knew the trail back because I’d only been up there a few weeks ago with Knighter (Manxman David Knight, one of motorcycling’s greatest heroes that so few people outside of Enduro really know about) on trials bikes.

“I looped down to the prom and was ripping. That thing was a blast to ride. I pulled a couple of tight turns, full supermoto style, all crossed up, smokin’ the tyre. The bikers downtown were stood there, open mouthed!”

Cam got out on his stocker and did a 124mph lap.

Going back to markers being laid down. Bruce Anstey clocked 129.56 on his Padgetts Honda superbike tonight. Guy Martin did 128 and the increasingly impressive James Hillier led a bunch of guys on 127mph laps with a 127.811.

Hillier was accredited the same time to top Superstock practice but I’m not so sure. He definitely did a second 127mph lap (127.165) but I didn’t see him tonight after the session so I can’t confirm whether he rode the stocker or not. He clocked 118mph lap on his 600 though. I’ll find out for sure tomorrow.

Simon Andrews was credited with 127.376 on his stocker but I reckon that was his second flying lap on the Honda TT Legends superbike (he did 125.58 on his out lap) and then he clocked 124.004 on his stocker. On GP timing anyway.

If anyone was laying markers it was William Dunlop on his Wilson Craig Honda CBR600RR with a 126.184mph lap, but his brother Michael was his wing-man yet again – at 124.521 on the Yamaha R6.

Living the dream Michael? Sorry, private joke. You can read about it in MCN next Wedneday!

Ian Mackman did another lap on the Norton at 112.485 but said the rear was sitting down too much and causing the bars to flap around over the bumps. The engine also seems to be running a high temperature – and that’s after a single lap at a time.

By the way, have you checked out the Norton merchandising stand in the paddock?

I’ve got to be honest and say I’m not sold on the chrome-look paint of the race bike but I love the 961 Commando and their range of merch is awesome - that retro gear and their cool riding boots.

Biggest disappointment? There’s this image of Alex Jorgenson crossed on the old Ron Wood Norton dirt tracker (check it out #44 stylin’) on one of the merch stand backdrops. So I’m thinking it must be part of a tee-shirt logo right? Wrong.

Jorgy was one of my heroes when I was kid. I mean, any bloke on a Brit bike back then who could give Harley a hard time on the miles or half-miles had my vote. Now I have that old Sportster and shout it up for the XR750s. How times change.

Anyway, I’m already pulling the wallet out to buy a Jorgy Norton t-shirt and saying to the bloke, ‘mate you got that in an XL’ and I get this blank look. ‘Nah mate, that's an old Norton picture.’ Talk about gutted. 

Getting back to the track: Impressive for me is the progress of the Newcomers with Jamie Hamilton now up to 118.56 on his KMR Kawasaki, Lee Johnston at 117.527 on the Millsport Ducati Panigale, Michael Niblett 115.889, Karl Harris 115.820 (visor misting of all things holding him back) and Jimmy Storrar 115.209.  

Solo practice was brought to a premature halt when mist descended on the circuit at around 19.45 – 15 minutes before the end of the session. And the poor sidecar lads lost their evening’s practice completely.

Getting back to my gym performance, I forgot to tweet it. I know no one cares and I’m certainly no racer but, you know, social media means you gotta let the world know.

I reckon it was a pb on the bike, not too shabby on the rower, followed up by full English back at the Regency, all washed down with a bottle of Powerade Red.

I never know the flavours. They do blue too. Both taste foul but the sugars and minerals help this old man get through the day not feeling too tired.

As for the ice creams - the MCN staff seem to think I’m indulging in one every five minutes (I’ve seen your snidy Team Ice Cream tweets guys), I’ve got to disappoint and say I ain’t had one. Yet!

I did stand talking to Clive Padgett and Luca Scassa at the Dunlop bay while they made the most of their gelato.

Safe to say, though salivating massively and nearly succumbing to a 99 Flake, I seem to have a new-found willpower with all this gym work and instead went back to my M&S salad in the press office. Chicken and noodles with a sweet chilli sauce, as you’re asking. 

Don’t worry, we’ll be on the hog-roast, followed by Mr Whippy for afters, before the end of the week!