Well, my racing for this year has come to an end it's hard to believe I've been doing this for three seasons already I improved again this year on the Yamaha R6 a more modern machine than that of the '98 Honda CBR600 I had last year The V&M Yamaha R6 is a proven bike but it took a lot of pampering to get the best out of it (if I ever did), but this year, was my big year, with the Manx Grand Prix in August as far as I was concerned that had been my priority all along.
The year started in the South of France in February, where I travelled with two good friends (and fellow racers) for a four day test, which was quite an eventful trip (see website diary) then the real racing kicked off at Brands Hatch in March, at the MRO National Cup, the place where all the up and coming British Superbike riders compete. On the way to this event, Team PC Racing broke the bank by purchasing another R6 Yamaha that would act as a 'spare' The spares we thought necessary for the season turned out to be roughly the same as the cost of another complete bike, so we ended up going down that road instead of just having a pile of bits quite a few quid to have tied up, but having it was a godsend as it turned out, after all that would happen at the Manx Grand Prix (see Diary again ).
It also turned out to be quite a successful season, with being crowned The Isle Of Man 600cc Champion, and finishing 3rd overall in the IOM Centre 1300 Open Championship, again on the 600, only being headed by the bigger capacity Mark Mann V&M R1 1000cc Yamaha's so that was pretty satisfactory.
In May 2002, I did something that I thought that I would never do by competing in the British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park in Cheshire, though in the Supersport 600 class, where I would have done a lot better than I did, if some muppet hadn't crashed into me on the first lap, damaging my brake discs but that, as they say is racing.
Still, if someone would have told me before I started racing, that after only two years, I'd be on a V&M factory bike at the televised British Championships I'd still be laughing now
I jumped off the bike a few times at the start of the season, mainly through no fault of my own and was a bit unfortunate to miss a few events because of injury and even had an operation on one of my fingers but that comes with the territory I suppose and one of my first Jollies back on the bike, was my first go at the Southern 100 Road Races, where I finished on the podium after my very first race. (3rd place in the 600 Class of the G.H.Corlett Senior Solo Founders Race) Groovy! and was only one second away from joining the elusive 'Ton Up Club' (To lap the course at over 100mph) something that has made me want to do it again.
The Manx Grand Prix soon approached and after a complete nightmare in practise week, I was still a little disappointed to finish Runner Up in the Senior Newcomers Race although I became the fastest ever local Newcomer, and had the 3rd fastest race time in history It was little consolation I had really wanted to win it as this had been the main reason I started this racing lark in the first place.
I also finished 7th in the Manx GP Junior Race after starting from the middle of the pack, which was pretty good, (also won the Team award for the Andreas Racing Asscociation with Paul Corrin and Norman Kneen) but unfortunately retired after only one lap in the Senior Manx Grand Prix whilst lying in 7th spot, (could have been as high as 5th if I hadn't toured into the pits) again with an oil leak, something that had plagued me all fortnight.
Was also part of the Manx Celtic Match Race winning team, (first time the Manx have won it in 8 years), and won the 600cc Division of the two hour, two man Endurance Race held at Jurby with my much less experienced partner, Stu Bainborough, nearly winning it outright as well. So all in all, a pretty good season Even got my race diary published on a top motorcycle website (realroadracing.com) whadoyaknow, a budding journalist!
Already sold my trusty 'spare' bike to help pay the bills and I don't really know what's in store for me next year, had a lot of people tell me to have another go at the Manx Grand Prix instead of doing the TT Races, and I must confess, I'm tempted well, the weather is always better for a start.
Lastly, it would not have been possible without the help of all the people who forked out in one way or another to assist me this year All that's left to say is another major 'Thank You' to them all
And everybody else who helped and cheered me on
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