We’ve not had so much luck coming our way in the back end of this week but we certainly struck lucky with the rain today, causing the Superbike race to be postponed until Monday.
If it had gone ahead as planned today I wouldn’t have been on the grid. After the engine popped a head gasket on Thursday we ordered the parts, which arrived yesterday. Only trouble was we needed different big-end shells and only realised that at 10.30pm last night when Dave Hagen started to reassemble the engine.
There were none to be had on the Island so, thinking the race would still be on today, we hit the panic button. I tried to borrow an engine off TAS Suzuki but they had nothing available. I looked into buying a new bike off Padgetts and using the stock road engine in my superbike chassis. And I also asked Suzuki if they could lend us the engine out of a press bike I’d heard they had on the Island.
That fell through when Suzuki said the bike was booked to a journalist for the entire week.
I was making calls till 2.00am this morning chasing the options – and then heard that the race was off today so that gave us some breathing space.
The shells arrived this morning from the UK but when we went to pick them up, the courier’s secure storage was locked up for the weekend so right now we’re trying to get them to open it up for us so we can get out package.
That’s not even as simple as it sounds because we’re talking a tiny jiffy bag in a warehouse of stuff! We’re desperate to get it though, otherwise I’ll be back on the phone revisiting plan B, trying to get an engine by any means!
At least it’s given me a chance to spend some time with the Bathams Brewery bosses who flew in the morning, expecting to see me racing in their colours today. Instead we’ve been around the paddock, done the official autograph session with the fans and taken them to hospitality and they’re so fired up their back at the hotel now desperately trying to re-arrange flights so they can watch the Superbike race on Monday.
Because I needed some laps in last night’s practice, I took up the offer that’s been on the table all week of riding the JMF Millsport supersport bike I raced at the North West 200. It seems luck wasn’t on our side there either because we had a battery go on my first lap and, even though we fitted a new battery for the second lap, the bike was still plagued by a misfire. Even so, I did 117mph so it wasn’t a total nightmare.
So things haven’t been going great but it’s good to iron all the problems out in practice and hopefully we’ll have a clean run in the races.
The other good news is that I’ve got the Worx Suzuki ride for the Snetterton BSB round. It’s a good strong bike and will work well there. Thruxton was okay but it’s a fast, bumpy track and I was a bit rusty so it was a case of jumping on it, gritting my teeth and sticking it in there.
Snetterton circuit is a bit simpler to set up for and now I’ve been riding a GSX-R1000 for so while we should be more competitive. The team have basically said, ‘let’s see how I gel with the team there and if it all works out there may be chance of the ride for the rest of the year.’ What that means is coming away with some good results. I’m up for it.