Isle of Man TT: Gary Pinchin's blog - Wednesday practice cancelled on the Island

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Well, the rain did stop briefly during the middle of the day while we were downtown Douglas having lunch and we got our hopes up there would be some track action in the evening after all.

No chance. We bumped into Cameron Donald in the coffee shop and he’d just heard practice had just been cancelled.

Four hours before it was meant to start, the organisers called it off after getting a met office report than there would be low-lying cloud over the Mountain all evening. Good call.

The forecast was spot-on and it’s been bloody miserable here ever since about 3.00pm. It’s nearly 8.00pm. Five hours of bloody rain.

Donald was a bit deflated because even though he’d clocked an impressive 125.82mph on Monday night, he said he needed to clock faster laps after missing last year’s Isle of Man TT due to injury.

Donald is on the Relentless Suzukis this year and looks right at home. He’s been strong everywhere , on the tight national road races in Ireland, at the North West – and on short circuits and everyone is tipping him to be the man to watch this year.

It’s not like he needs to learn which way the track goes – he did that amazing 128.44mph lap in only his second Isle of Man TT during 2006. But after a year away, it’s getting intimate with every last little bump, the new grip levels of the tarmac, where the wind might catch the front wheel.

The kind of data someone like John McGuinness has crammed into his memory banks after years of experience (he came here first in 1996), whereas Cameron only made his Isle of Man TT debut in 2005, is unimaginable.

The paddock was still quite busy though this evening. The Hydrex Bike Animal boys were flat out. Guy Martin ran his British Superbike motor on Monday night but the team were busy installing the North West 200 engine that ‘fried’ when the jubilee clip bust.

The roads engine has a slightly different spec to the BSB motor and gives more top end. The British Superbikes engine was good enough for 126.02 mph Monday though!

Martin’s Supersport bike was also being fettled. After his North West get-off, the team dragged his 2007 TT bike out of the mothballs (it had been sold to one of their sponsors) and fitted the North West 200 engine into it from the crashed bike.

James Ellison’s British Superbike machine was there too. Didn’t he ride bloody well at Donington? Good to see him mixing it with the HM Plant boys and great for the Hydrex boys too who worked so bloody hard this past couple of years with so little to show for it on the short circuits.

I figured it was a spare for Guy but chief technician Mick Shanley said the whole Hydrex Bike Animal crew is in the Island and they need to get the British Superbike bikes rebuilt for Snetterton. If they left it till after the TT the job would never get done. 

The schedule is pretty tough on the teams doing British Superbikes and the roads this year – especially after Brands Hatch got rescheduled.

Another busy camp was Phase One Endurance. After James McBride’s crash on Monday night the team looked at getting a replacement on their superbike and are now going to run Michael Dunlop!

The organisers had put Phase One team boss Russell Benney in touch with Michael who, according to Russ was coming over to the Island to race in the 125 and 250 TTs on Saturday, June 7.

Russ said he was bowled over by Michael’s enthusiasm and is looking forward to working with him. He also said there’s a chance he’ll run Mark Buckley on the spare motorcycle.

The Phase One boys – all volunteers in the true tradition of Britain’s most successful World Endurance championship team – are going to be proper busy, providing the weather improves enough to get the bikes on track.

They’re also running American Jimmy Moore and are looking after the preparation of Steve Plater’s Nitro Helmets-backed superstock bike. Some Isle of Man TT debut this is for the team!

Enough of this. We’re off to Paparazzi, the best pizza place in town.

Later GP.

Gary Pinchin

By Gary Pinchin