TT 2022: Rutter’s Diary - Episode Four

| | TT and Roads
Picture: Impact Images

I was really looking forward to Monday’s Superstock race as I’d been using the Stock bike all week and thought it would be the race I’d go well in but it was my worst nightmare when it got moved back to an evening race as I hate the sun and evening races.

The sun was really bad on the first lap but, thankfully, it clouded over a bit after that and the rest of the race was ok. Unfortunately, we had an engine issue and the bike lost power, not enough for me to stop but enough to take the edge off.

I lost a bit interest after that and although it felt like I was doing 134mph laps, I was actually only doing 124mph so I finished 13th. It wasn’t the most enjoyable of races and whilst on the one hand, it’s always good to get a finish, it’s not so good when you don’t feel like you’re riding well.

Wednesday saw me out on the ILR/Coverdale Paton and having not done a particularly quick time in practice, I was a bit concerned as the bike felt fast and when Peter (Hickman) came by me one night, there wasn’t much difference in speed between the two bikes.

When the race came round, I got pulled along a bit when others came by me. On the first lap, I was going back a gear through some corners and getting through, on the second I was taking them a gear higher and getting through and then on the third I was taking them a gear higher and flat out. I was getting quicker all the time so if it was a 10-lap race, I might have won!

It was really windy but it was consistent rather than being gusty although it was enough to keep the speeds down. I thought I’d done about 120mph on the last lap so was a bit disappointed with 117mph but when I looked at everyone’s laps, it was only Peter and Michael (Dunlop) that were in the 120+ bracket. Everyone else was similar.

Michael was flying when he came by me and he was braking like it was short circuit race, dead late everywhere and he was that late on the brakes into Ballaugh, I was convinced he wasn’t going to make it.

I saw him touring on the final lap near Handley’s and was worried he’d go through the corner like that and leave me nowhere to go as you take the corners so fast on the little bikes but, thankfully, he saw me and pulled up.

It was similar when I saw Jamie (Coward) having trouble on lap two. It looked like he was struggling with a misfire and it’s always a worry when you catch slower bikes. You only have a split second to make your decision on which side to go.

As for Peter, he’s flying isn’t he? When he passed me, he was as neat as ever and made a lot of ground up on me after his pit stop and it shows how much time can be made through Union Mills and Crosby when you’re really on it. He’s riding brilliantly so fair play to him.

I was reasonably happy with fifth and that just leaves the Senior now. It’s been one long fortnight and whilst it hurts me to say it, it hasn’t been the most enjoyable TT and I can’t remember it ever being like this. It’s been two weeks of non-stop life at the paddock whether it’s daytime, night time, being with the mechanics or being with sponsors.