TT 2011: Gearbox troubles rob Amor of Supersport 'win'09/06/2011
By Phil Wain on the Isle of Man
Image by Stephen Davison/Pacemaker
Falkirk's Keith Amor was left rueing what might have been todaywhen a gearbox problem meant he could only finish fourth in Thursday's re-scheduled three-lap Supersport race - an encounter he says he could have won.
After crashing out of Wednesday's race, which was ultimately stopped due to the rain that fetched him off, Amor switched to his spare bike for the re-run but the bike had the stock gearbox fitted and although he was flying through the twisty sections of the course, his bike was almost 20kph down along the straights leaving him a very frustrated man.
Fortunately uninjured in Wednesday's crash, that was dramatically captured by the ITV4 cameras, it was clear all was not well on the first lap when Amor was down in eighth place in a class he's normally so strong in and the problem lay with the gearbox and he spent most of the race with the bike constantly hitting the rev limiter.
Worried about the stress the motor was going through, Amor pressed on as much as he could and increased his pace to 124.651mph on the second lap despite slowing for a red flag that was incorrectly displayed. This alone cost him up to ten seconds.
Circulating on the road with Guy Martin and Cameron Donald, Amor gave it 110% from beginning to end and with a final lap of 125.497mph, his best of the race, he was rewarded with a fighting 4th place at the end of the four laps, his fourth top four result of the week. However, had it not been for the aforementioned problems, Amor felt he could have been in with a great chance of the victory as he explained.
"To say I'm frustrated is an understatement as today was my best chance of a victory but I was denied by the problem with the bike. After the crash on Wednesday, that bike was too badly damaged to use today so I had to switch to my spare bike, the same one which I used last year," he said.
"However, when it got rebuilt over the winter, the kit gearbox had been replaced by a standard one, something we were unaware of, and we really paid for it today. I was on the limiter throughout and although I was quicker than Guy and Cameron through the twisty stuff, they were absolutely nailing me on the straights and when you're almost 20kph down along the straights, you haven't got a chance.
"On the first lap I was having to roll it everywhere as I was worried about the bike going bang but the boys at the pit stop said to keep going until it did go bang - but luckily it didn't! Then both Guy and I saw a red flag at Union Mills and I must have lost almost ten seconds because of that as it wasn't until Ballagarey that we got going again when Cameron came flying by us.
"I also hit a bird at Gorse Lea which, luckily, I caught out of the corner of my eye so managed to duck to avoid it - it was definitely an eventful race. Fourth's a decent finish but I know it could have been so much better and I'm very frustrated because of that - I know I could have won today's race. All I can say is that the Honda is a terrific little engine as it went through a lot today and never missed a beat."
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