RR » 20 August 2010
Mark Buckley prepares for first Manx Grand Prix
Mark Buckley has been hit by misfortune throughout the 2010 road racing season, including coming close to being forced out of racing, but he has fought his way back each time – and did it again at the Ulster Grand Prix Bikeweek.
After being hit with yet more bad luck in qualifying during the Ulster Grand Prix Bikeweek, Mark Buckley fought his way back into contention to leave the Dundrod circuit a happy man.
Now, just two months after revealing a lack of funds could force him out of racing, the Scottish ace is set to make his debut at the Manx Grand Prix, which runs from August 21 to September 5 on the same Mountain course as the Isle of Man TT.
Buckley will be riding a Formula One works replica Suzuki XR69 in the Post-Classic Race, and will be hoping for more success than his last outing on the 37.73-mile circuit – just securing a finish at the 2010 TT became the aim for his team after being hit by mechanical gremlins.
Mechanical problems hit again at Dundrod, with Buckley's qualifying thrown into chaos by an electrical fault on his Kawasaki Supersport bike.
Buckley and his team worked frantically to ensure he made the grid and, after many hours, found an aftermarket part fitted to the Supersport machine had failed and caused the electrical fault. Not only did this hamper his Supersport qualifying, but his Superbike qualifying suffered too as his main concern was to get the 600 problem rectified.
Buckley set off from 34th for the first of the week's races, the Dundrod 150 Superbike. He got his head down from the start and worked his way through the pack until he led the second wave. His pace was so impressive that by the end of the race he crossed the line in 10th place.
It was a great start to the week of racing, and Buckley emulated the result in the first of Saturday's Ulster GP races, finishing in front of TAS Suzuki rider Cameron Donald for another top 10.
In both Supersport races, Buckley had to start from the second wave, but he wasn't deterred, quickly working his way through the field in the first race to take taking a three second lead over the rest of the wave at the end of the first lap.
Out on his own, Buckley only had his pit board for reference on how hard to push and crossed the line in a 11th.
The second Supersport race was red flagged half way through, which meant the restart would go on the positions on the previous lap. That gave Buckley a third row start, which he converted to a ninth place finish with a scintillating lap speed of just under 125mph.
“Firstly I need to congratulate Noel and his fantastic team for pulling off the best event of the year. 2009 was such an improvement on recent years, but this year's event totally eclipsed that.”
“I truly hope that the UGP goes from strength to strength, which after what they have done this year they so deserve. I came away from Dundrod a happy man even after my disappointing qualifying.”
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