2017 racing action kicks of with World Superbikes in February. Here’s our lowdown on what’s new and what you need to know.
Devitt RC Express TT Diary: Part Four
In the latest instalment of the Devitt RC Express Racing diary from the 2016 Isle of Man TT races, we caught up with the team’s co-owner Ben Constable. Ben and father Roy run the RC Express business in Avonmouth and have been running a race team since mid-way through 2012.
“I arrived on the island on the Wednesday of practice week and had a good trip over although it wasn’t without dramas beforehand as I nearly missed the boat! The M6 was shut and it was a mad dash to get to the ferry and if I hadn’t got on I’d have had to have swum to the Isle of Man.”
“My role is to keep on eye on things and make sure everything ticks over. This is our fourth full season as a team though and it’s quite a well-oiled machine now; everyone knows what they’re doing but it’s always good to have another pair of eyes to keep on top of the organisational side of things. I also change the visor for Ivan (Lintin) at his pit stops.”
“It’s been great weather from day one so both Ivan and Alan (Bonner) have had plenty of laps during practice week and although you get issues at the TT you don’t encounter anywhere else, we’re happy with the bikes and how they’re both riding. They both did close to their personal best laps in the Superbike race – on Superstock bikes – and finished 15th and 21st so we’re happy with how race week begun.”
“We’ve been down a bit on top end speed with the 600 but we’ve fitted a new engine for the race on Monday which should help that and Ivan was one of the fastest riders through the speed trap on the Superstock bike so we know that’s going to be a strong race for the team on Monday.”
“I try and keep the riders calm and relaxed on race day but there’s time before the race, about 30 minutes before the start, that they don’t want to talk to anyone, not even me! That’s when they get into the zone as it were and start thinking about the race and what lies ahead so we just leave them be and if they want to talk they know we’re there for them.”
“Away from the paddock, we haven’t done much as during practice week, no-one gets a night off and it’s always late finishes. Saturday night was the first night off for everyone and I can honestly say I’ve never seen so many drunk people as what I saw in Douglas on Saturday night – you could have counted the number of sober people on one hand! But it was Saturday night and it was a night off for everyone and with the sun shining, you can’t blame them.”
“Unfortunately, Saturday saw two fatal accidents, Dwight Beare in the sidecars and Paul Shoesmith in the solo qualifying at the end of the day. It doesn’t matter if you know a rider or not, it always affects you and obviously our condolences go out to the families and friends of both riders.”
“We knew Shoey well and he was the life and soul of the paddock, putting his all into the sport, not just for himself but for plenty of other riders he helped over the years. He’d set his fastest ever lap in the morning’s Superbike race so he was loving himself as always around the Mountain Course.”
“The highs in motorcycle racing are unbelievably high but the lows are unbelievably low and it affects everyone. The riders keep their emotions to themselves though and keep professional. We all know the risks and no one forces us to be here so we’ll all continue and work as hard as we can so the memory of Paul and Dwight lives on.”
Which team are you backing this TT season? Share your comments below!
Missed the previous instalments of the Devitt RC Express Racing diary? Don’t panic! You can find them here.
Having started watching motorcycle races all over the world form childhood, Phil Wain has been a freelance motorcycle journalist for 15 years and is features writer for a number of publications including BikeSport News and Classic Racer, having also been a regular contributor to MCN and MCN Sport. He is PR officer for a number of teams and riders at both the British Superbike Championship and International road races, including Smiths Triumph, Quattro Plant Kawasaki, John McGuinness, Ryan Farquhar and Keith Amor. He is also heavily involved with the Isle of Man TT Races, writing official press releases and race reports as well as providing ITV4 with statistical information.