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TT Dream: The Final Countdown...

10 May 2013

So I'm pretty sure when I went to bed yesterday it was December and the TT dream was in its infancy.

Quite where the last few months have gone is a bit of a mystery, but needless to say it's both exciting and nerve-wracking to be only a little over two weeks away from the start of TT practice.

Since my last update it has continued to be a very busy time, which has included an enjoyable trip to Northern Ireland to take in the Cookstown and Tandragee road race meetings over the last two weekends.

These were the two events that I began real road racing at last year and it was great to go back there again.

Cookstown is a good little circuit to get started with. It's relatively short and twisty, and gets your brain used to flying past hedges and lamp posts without thrusting you straight into a long high-speed road circuit.

That bit comes a week later at Tandragee, which has jumps, bomb holes and flat out bends which make you question why on-earth anyone originally thought it would be a good idea to go racing motorcycles there! But I'm delighted they did, as Tandragee is particularly good fun. It's certainly a very good way to get ready for the TT as the circuits have such similar characteristics.

Unfortunately but predictably the rain joined us for both meetings, which made it quite interesting at times. If there's one thing that makes normal road racing seem sane, it's road racing in the wet!

Thankfully the sun shone for the race days at both meetings and I had a very positive run at each event, including a podium finish in the Junior Support B race at Cookstown and just missing out on points finishes in the Supertwins class at both events, with 17th and 16th place finishes.

More importantly, we were able to work through the few remaining issues with the bike, the most critical of which was the brakes. As the Cookstown meeting progressed it became more and more clear that the brakes just were not working as they should, but the problem was tracked down to the callipers and when we fitted new callipers for Tandragee, I nearly went over the handlebars as the brakes were so good! Sorted.

Getting a good base set-up for the TT is going to be a challenge, but we worked on getting a good base set-up as the Tandragee meeting progressed, and the bike felt very good at the end. If something works at Tandragee it will generally not be a million miles out at the TT, so that was probably the biggest positive to take out of both meetings.

Now all that's left to do is get the bike stripped and rebuilt, and we're off on the ferry for the first day of practice on Saturday 25th May. I'll be riding at #66 in the Supertwins TT, so keep an eye out for me somewhere at the back!

Finally, a few people have been in touch and asked about sponsorship, which is very nice and of course very gratefully received.

For the TT we'll be running a scheme called Manx Faces, whereby you get your photo put on the bike for the whole TT fortnight in exchange for a sponsorship donation. If anyone would like to sponsor me then I'd be very grateful - please visit www.manxfaces.co.uk for more details, it's only twenty quid a go.

So here's to two great weeks at the TT. My next update will be from the paddock during practice week, to let you all know how well - or not - it's going!

Thanks for reading,

Oli


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