Season 2003 Summary    



Season 2003 Summary

Another race season has bitten the dust……hard to believe that I’ve been doing this racing lark for four seasons now…… But this year it was mainly about racing on the roads…… with the Steam Packet Races, TT, Southern 100 and Manx Grand Prix being the big ones…… but also wanted a crack at the Isle of Man Centre Championship. I’d already been the Restricted Champion in 2001, then the 600cc Champion in 2002, so get that one and it would be a full house. Hadn’t penciled any in across the wet bit, as long gone are the days that I travel to a Mickey Mouse track like Mallory Park in the freezing cold for a 5 lap race from the back of the grid…… Oh no…… decided on leaving that for all the Jonny Herberts.

The year started off on the 12th March at a cold, dusty and windy Oulton Park in Cheshire, where I’d gone to have my first run out on the Team P.C.Racing GSXR1000 Suzuki that we’d acquired…… I didn’t want the first time I was going to be riding this bike to be in an actual race…… so a track day seemed the best option…… And I’m glad I did it, though, I’m also glad nobody was there watching how pathetically slow I was wobbling round at…… but still, it was practise I wouldn’t have got had I not gone……

The racing season proper kicked off at Jurby Airfield on 30th March where I had a disastrous day…… The Yamaha R6 launched me skywards in practise, and I’m still not sure why, wrecking itself in the process and I slid off the Suzuki whilst dicing for the lead in the first of the Centre Championship races. To say my championship hopes took a severe battering as well as I did would be an understatement……… but unfortunately, that, as they say…… is racing. Was sore for a few weeks afterwards as well…… bollocks.

To get the Yamaha ready for the next event was hectic to say the least, but we managed it and tipped up at the Jurby Airfield Easter meeting, where we didn’t set the world alight, (two 4th’s being the best), my biggest result was staying on after two full days racing, but my championship hopes were well out the window. So, decided not to do anymore to keep the costs to a minimum. It had already been an expensive one so far.

The first of the Road Races was at Jurby South in crap conditions, but turned out fine for me with three podium places from three races… two seconds and a third… Wha-Hay. That was more like it, and helped with the ol confidence after the previous setbacks, and must admit, put the fun back in it.

The TT Races were next up…… where I rode our own Team PC Racing GSXR1000 in the Production 1000 TT, where it had been more than a handful all week for little me, and a Yamaha R6 in the 600 Production TT for a track day hire firm called Pro-Cet Racing in Chesterfield……… and I gained two creditable finishes (22nd & 26th) and also gained two bronze replica’s…… I also struggled with arm pump in both races, (something that I would later remedy) and was confident I would have finished higher if I hadn’t. Still, I had bettered my personal best lap time and upped it to 115.24mph, albeit on the big bike even after we had major problems all week with the handling.

The next race preceded the TT, down on the Billown Course for the Steam Packet Races, but was cancelled till the Sunday after the Friday Senior TT had been postponed till the Saturday…… this depleted the field somewhat, but the weather was great and I had a fantastic time, coming 2nd behind Jason Griffiths in the 600cc race and 4th in the 1000cc Race, I also joined the exclusive, elusive ‘Ton Up Club in the process, with a fastest lap of 103.588mph …… which put me 22nd on the all time fastest list…… I even won a few quid for my efforts……… Brilliant.

Next race was a month later, again on the Billown circuit for the 4 day Southern 100 event…… where I again did rather well, qualifying on the front row in the 600cc class and finishing on the podium in the race behind Lougher and Farquhar…… something I was well chuffed about, and qualified well in the big bike class in 6th place on our production spec bike, but could only manage a best of an 8th place finish…… also suffered from two retirements …… still, had to be happy with that. Didn’t have much time for a rest as two days later we were back at the Jurby South Road Race for the Andreas Racing National Event, where we scored our first ever road race win, by winning the 600 Solo race…… which was sweet, but only managed a 4th place finish on the big bike…… The 1000 Suzuki again, had been a bit of a handful.

The Manx Grand Prix was next up, and practise went really well as we topped the practise leader board nearly every night and pushed my personal best lap up to 116.29mph …… but we did suffer some problems at the end of the practise week, which carried on through to the actual races, and we retired with engine failure whilst leading both the Junior & Senior…… to say I was gutted…… well…………… The only consolation was that again my personal best lap had improved to 117.96mph from a standing start, and would definitely have been higher had I not had to hold the petrol cap down for the first two laps, as it had been left open on the start line (see diary……) a nightmare for me…… But to look positively at it, it’s better to break down than to crash.

I ended up competing in the Celtic Match Races in Pembrey, Wales, in October on a borrowed bike from local sponsor Martin Bullock, and I racked up a few points for the team…… it had been my first track outing in 6 months, so it went as well as I could have hoped for, but we only managed to finish 4th out of the 5 Celtic Nations which was disappointing after winning it last year…… Still, live to fight another day I suppose.

Was going to pack it all in, for more reasons than one, but I couldn’t believe how many people approached me, and tried to talk me out of it, and to have another crack at it, and the longer I’ve been off the bike the more I’m up for it… So it looks like we’ll be having another go next year.... I’ve had a few offers on machinery for the TT and MGP.... So watch this space.

Lastly, I’d like to thank all the people who have contributed to my racing again this year, and without their help, I’d be well down the swanny.... So my sincere thanks to you all....

Chris Preston (Team Manager) / Mike and Angie at Hibernian Web Design / Tony, Simon and Grant at Target Tools Ltd / Ged at Total Oils (Isle of Man) Ltd / Quayla Contruction Ltd / Cleveland And All at Felton's Ironmongers / Alan and Sean at Road & Track Motorcycles / Jon 'The Wad' Wade at Jon Wade Gardening Services / My brother - King Don / Lynny Lynn Bell / David 'Jamie' Jamieson / Derek 'Degsy' Cowley / J.W.Welding Ltd / David Jackson / Sarah 'Jacko' Jackson / Anthony 'Slick' Bass / Alan Lemaire / Arai Helmets / Stu Bainborough / Peter, Kelvin & Andy At Peter Dawson Tyres Ltd / Pro-Cet Racing / Eamon at Container Rentals Ltd / Maurice 'Mo' Quirk / Castletown Insurance Services Ltd / My Mum and Wee Dad / Paul and Audrey Bradford....

And everybody else who helped and cheered me on....


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