Today’s post race press conference was a surreal affair. We had Michael Dunlop talking about going home because he’s let everyone down by finishing third - and second placed Guy Martin acting out a petulant protest over Saturday’s 30s penalty for exceeding the pit lane speed limit by 0.122kph. And, between the pair of them, sat a very patient and highly professional Ian Hutchinson who had just won his second TT of the week.
It was a shame that Dunlop and Martin were so negative because the race was an absolute belter.
I can understand Michael’s disappointment. He had won a Supersport TT last year and had pretty much dominated the entire practice week on the StreetSweep Yamaha R6. I think he thought the race was there for the taking.
I’m not saying he was at all complacent. He gave it his all - but I do think he desperately wanted to win a dry race to prove a point, after people in the paddock, even his rivals (and this includes Hutchy) said he won it because he was willing to risk all in the damp early going.
I stood listening to Michael, apologising to his team and his fans etc knowing where he was coming from, and taking on board he’s a passionate 21-year old with a determination to win races.
I think it’s totally honourable and refreshing for a rider – especially one so young - to hold his hand up and say ‘it was my fault, ‘ rather than look for excuses as some racers might.
Anything other than a win really is truly devastating to accept for him. And maybe by behaving that way, it will help him (in his head) to go on to even greater things.
I just wish he could have found it in himself to perk up at least to find some positives from his brilliant charge after, by his standards, a disappointing first half a lap or so.
What I found difficult to take was Guy’s behaviour. It’s one thing making a protest but it’s another being downright rude. To peel open an energy bar and continue to munch on it while answering post-race press conference commentator Tim Glover’s questions was plain ignorant.
Guy will argue he needed to get it down him for Superstock race but I didn’t see Hutchy or Michael chomping a Power Bar and they had to race in the afternoon too.
Again, I can see the reason why Guy felt compelled to make a stand.
To lose second place in a race because he ran over the pit lane speed limit by 0.122kph is bloody harsh. But if you look at it from the organiser’s point of view where do you draw the line? If you said 0.122 is an acceptable tolerance, why not 0.5kph, or even 1.0kph?
It’s not like the speed is measured with a hand-held speed gun, it’s done on a computerised system and when you go racing you either accept the rules or you don’t play.
I don’t buy into the theory that the organisers had it in for Guy either, as some suggested. He’s not been the only rider penalised this TT for exceeding the pit lane speed.
But on Guy’s superbike he has to remember to push and hold a button in on the handlebar to keep the speed-limiter activated where on his other bikes there’s a click switch that he can press and forget.
Guy disappeared at the end of the race and left two of his crew to remonstrate with the officials. And there’s another issue. His crew, a fabulous collection of real characters, are just as passionate as Guy and instead of one spokesman going to put in an official protest, the situation became an argument and nothing was resolved to anyone’s satisfaction.
I know this is all easy for me to say, and I understand why everyone got so hot-headed, not stopping at the winner’s enclosure after the Supersport race, walking off the podium without opening the champagne, and then acting like he did in the press conference achieved nothing but bad press for Guy.
He’s a great fan of Mike Hailwood – he even painted his bike to tip a nod to the old Honda six. But I wonder if he stopped and thought for a moment how that great man would have behaved in such a situation?
The bottom line for me is that Guy is bigger than these kind of antics. He’s an absolute diamond bloke and a wonderful character and our sport really needs people like him in a racing world that’s dumbed down by political correctness and corporate clones.
But there a limits and it worried me when I heard Guy giving an interview to the 3DTT people after the press conference, saying things like he’ll not forget the issue...
In my opinion, forgetting the whole sorry issue is the best thing Guy can do. He needs to live up to the carefree personality that he likes to portray and focus on his final two races of the week.
He owes that to himself, his crew and Wilson Craig, the man who has put some much money into giving Guy exactly what he asked for this year.
Get the latest MCN out on the 9th of June
- Rossi speaks from his hospital bed
- Schwantz on Rossi's come-back chances
- Yamaha Tenere V Ducati Multistrada V BMW R1200GS V KTM 990 Adventure
- TT: Find out what's gone into Hutchinson's Honda