Season Summary - 2000
So my first racing season has come to an end, all in all............not too shabby!......... It's had its highs and lows and 'Why am I bothering?' entered my head a few times, but I'm sure that anyone who has ever raced has asked themselves that same question.
I always thought that I was a pretty quick rider on the roads, and anyone that's been out with me would probably agree, but this in no way prepares you for the speed on the track.......I basically mean you get your arse kicked....for fun!.......you're just not used to going that fast for so long.......it really opens your eyes.
After my first race in the dry, I never thought that I was going to get much quicker, but as the year progressed, so did I, although having a bike that was bog standard didn't help matters......but at the beginning you are not good enough to notice.
This season I enjoyed getting on ' The Podium' eight times, improving the more I did it, which spurs you on even more, and trying to catch Juan Kinnish all year......eventually beating him once in the rain at Pembrey at my fifteenth meeting, although I had boasted to him that I'd do it before five!!!!.......but that was when I was a pub racer..........you know the sort!.............Also getting selected for the Manx Team that travelled to Mondello Park was a nice bonus........although it didn't turn out as well as we all had hoped (see Diary). I've also gained eighteen signatures so far (two more to go), which is pretty good going, as had I just raced on the Island it would take me four years to get.
Most of the lows you incur are the costs and the travelling......endless hours driving the van, eating in it, sleeping in it, the ferry crossings, the delays and the lack of sleep.........and of course the falling off............The worst thing that you can be told is.........'If you don't fall off now and again you aren't trying hard enough'. But breaking the same collarbone twice hopefully means that I'm trying........and unfortunately, it happens to the best of them.
I contested the ACU Star Championship this year, which is open for all non-National Licence holders and I finished 2nd in the Open 1300 Class which was won by Juan Kinnish (Manx Boys in the top two). He deserved to win it as he was consistently fast at all the tracks. You would come across fast riders at each event, but every time they would be locals, circuit specialists, as they're called, and the majority of the time these riders wouldn't be as good on any of the other tracks. I went as steady as I could, as all the circuits were new to me and signatures for my National Licence were my priority. But kept picking up points along the way......although I missed the last round at Donington Park (a double point round as it happened), mainly because they had switched it from 15th October to the 19th November.
Of all the tracks I've been to this year (10 different ones in total)....I'd have to say that my favourite ones were Jurby Road (because it was the first and only proper road race I've done) and Cadwell Park, which is where I gained my best results (apart from Jurby Airfield). I've always reckoned that I'll be better on the roads than on a track, so we'll have to wait and see next year.
I've realised that I need more time on the bike, as I can go three weeks without even sitting on it, and having a 600cc machine will enable me to compete in another class as well as the Open, and at most tracks the 600s lap quicker than the bigger bikes. The smaller bikes tend to steer and handle better. I found, this year, that I was faster than all the 600s on the straights, just as fast into the corners, but a lot slower than them coming out.....something a lot of others have experienced whilst riding R1s. I also need a non-standard machine that is more than capable, and will have to learn more about gearing the bike to suit different tracks and suspension set up, as for the whole of this year, that has remained the same for all the circuits I've been to.
So for next years assault on the 2001 Manx Grand Prix, I, along with my good friend, Chris Preston, have already purchased Michael Rutter's TT winning Honda CBR600 which we will run under the PC Racing 2001 banner..................roll on next year...................
I would also like to get to do as many meetings in the UK as possible and maybe contest the ACU Star Championship again, with a few MRO (one step down from British Superbike) rounds thrown in, or the whole MRO Championship, but it depends on cost.........as to do a complete MRO Championship would cost around £17000, and that is just for the boat fares, entry fees and tyres!!....Fuel, food and falling off are extra.
Lastly, I'd like to thank all the people who have sponsored me during the year, as without their help I wouldn't have done half as much as I did.....so a major THANK YOU to them all.......
Quayla and Lar at Q & G Builders Ltd
...and all who gave me a hand and cheered me on, and most of all, my girlfriend Ann, who had the patience of a saint.
Copyright © 2000,
2001 Tommy Clucas Racing.