Thursday, 14 June 2012

TT Tales

TT Tales or Kneen as Mustard!

Some intrepid Wemoto staff ventured forth to the Isle of Man TT this year to watch the Wemoto Marks Bloom sponsored rider Dan Kneen in action in his own manor. Here's what happened over there....

How did you get to the Isle of Man?

I travelled to the Isle of Man on Friday out of Fairoaks Airfield, courtesy of a friend with a Piper Arrow 4 seater plane. Peace descended as we rose above the clouds and, on leaving Wales, (not surprisingly as this is usual when leaving Wales) we left the rain behind as well and the sun came out as the Isle of Man hove into view ...mmmm

Where were you staying on the Isle of Man?

I was staying with a friend on the Island with a whole houseful of beautiful motorbikes so accommodation and flights were nicely sorted and the weather forecast was, well, shall we say mixed....all set for a fun TT.

Which races did you watch and where from?

I watched some of the practice races and, as Wemoto sponsors Dan Kneen – IOM local boy racer- I got a pass into the Pits. The Pits were humming and the atmosphere was electrifying with the racers coming in to prepare to race and characters like Jackie Stewart wandering about looking cheery.

On Saturday I watched the Superstock race from the pits and saw Dan Kneen on fantastic form, coming into the pits exuding confidence and enthusiasm on his GSXR1000 Suzuki. Dan rode an amazing race against nearly factory-prepared bikes and came in 11th – brilliant. Even the weather was fine in IOM world at that point, with everyone happy and excited there was a fantastic buzz.
After Dan's success in the Superstock race I was looking forward to the Supersports race where Dan hit the road on his GSXR600 Suzuki. Unfortunately that's exactly what he did... after a brilliant start and great expectations! He started really well and for the first 3 laps maintained a position of 4th or 5th – even staying ahead of John McGuiness at some points. He was giving away 10-15 mph on the straight but with sheer skill coupled with true grit, he was gaining on the bends and catching up... until...well here it is from the horses mouth:

In the words of Dan ...

'I felt I had a chance of a good run this year and was looking forward to some good results, but it's fair to say I ruined my chances of doing that, I just pushed a bit hard and lost the rear on some damp and it pitched me off so that was my TT over.' ... and his bike hit a telephone box and broke into four pieces while Dan crunched his spine – such a pity it had to end that way but it shows his potential for next time!

What is Dan like?

Dan is a gutsy rider with a lot of potential and is very popular locally with a great supportive fan club – the local kids all love him and he happily signs their hats for them - 'a nice unassuming bloke'.

Which other riders did you see and how do you rate them?

  • John McGuiness was quiet, unpretentious and very impressive. His riding style seemed to be to do just enough to win without pushing it – he went as slowly as he could while still being in the lead which meant that he held his nerve all the way not taking unnecessary risks just doing what was needed to win and keeping his edge all the time

  • One of the Dunlop brothers had an 'attitude problem' ....
  • John Barton who is also sponsored by Wemoto came 20th in the Lightweight race. He came second in the Classic Superbike race at the Manx Grand Prix last year and will be racing in the same race at the Manx Grand Prix again this year on his GSXR750

  • Cameron Donald also seemed like a really nice man. All in all a nice normal bunch of blokes

What were your highlights?

My highest point was pushing Dan's bike into scrutineering for pre-race inspection and then into the Parc Ferme ready for the race – that bike carrying all the hopes for the race which was to come to a sticky end on the Isle of Man tarmac.

Also heading to the Crosby Arms after Dan's crash to watch John McGuiness win in his own inimitable style. That man is in a class of his own.

How did you get home?

The Flyboy ride had gone home early as the weather was closing in so it was the unglamourous Flybe back into Gatwick in the rain.

Would you go again?

'Who wouldn't? - In fact I am going to the Manx Grand Prix in August where Wemoto are sponsoring the Supertwin and the Lightweight Manx Grand Prix races and the Jurby festival.

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