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JP's TT Blog Vol 2

Fri, 27 May 2011

JP up his North West 200 camera was a wee bit nippy.
JP up his North West 200 camera was a wee bit nippy.

Last time we spoke I had already picked my winners for this year's TT.

Superbike - John McGuinness

Superstock - Ryan Farquar

Supersport - Michael Dunlop & Bruce Anstey

Senior - John McGuinness

Side Cars - Klaus Klaffenbock

Since then we've had the North West 200, well sort of. If you count a reduced Supersport race and one lap of the Superbike race that is. I was there filming and editing with Greenlight Television (My full time job). Practice had gone well, A bit damp on the Tuesday but glorious for Thurday and it had set up a cracking race day. British Supersport rider Alistar Seeley was looking like the man to beat and he was a boy after Phillip McCallen's record of five wins in a day around the nine mile circuit. A lot of pundits thought he could do it too. He was on pole for the Supersport and Superstock races but gremlins struck his TAS Suzuki and he could only manage seventh on the Superbike. That left Michael Rutter in first place on the Ducati with his British Superbike team mate Martin Jessop along side him with the Kawasaki of Michael Dunlop making up the front row.

The forecast for race day had been pretty bad all week and for once, unfortunately,  the weather men had got it right. I climbed up my camera tower on Northern Ireland's north coast at 8am on Saturday morning hoping that the rain would go away and the wind would die down. It threatened to calm itself on a number of occasions.. but didnt.

The organisers decided, with conditions the way they were to send out the less powerful  Supersport bikes first. After two sighting laps, the race got under way and what a race it was. Initially it was a four way tussle between Alistair Seeley, Cameron Donald, Bruce Anstey and Gary Johnson but after fighting amongst themselves, Anstey and Johnson dropped back. The race for the win between Seeley and Donald was superb, the lead changing hands on countless occasions. It was wheel to wheel stuff at over 170mph and when the checkered flag dropped after five laps it was Northern Ireland's Alistair Seeley at the front.

As the bikes lined up for the second race, news came of a bomb scare in the paddock. That was quickly delt with but in the meantime the rain had become heavier so a further four hour delay followed. Eventually the Superbike race was off and again we were in for a treat. Ryan Farquar and Michael Dunlop battled it out at the front but it wasn't long until Seeley made his presence felt as he dived for the lead past Dunlop down into the Metropole Corner. As the bikes rounded Church Corner to head up Black Hill and back onto the coast road, Farquar's Kawasaki's engine let go and planted oil all over the track. Ryan had a massive moment as did Bruce Anstey whose Padget's Honda was next on the road. There was no option but to throw out the red flag and after lots of talking and looking at oil, that was that.

On the plus side it made a very good television programme that was broadcast on BBC One NI on Monday night. I believe it is still available on IPlayer...well worth a look.

So have I changed my mind about my winners for this year's TT? Well no not really. Except I think Cameron Donald will win the Superbike race. Also let's not forget about John McGuinness's team mate Keith Amor who got better and better in every race last year. He's had wins at the North West and the Ulster Grand Prix in the past so he will be right up there and finally a word for William Dunlop, Donald's team mate has to be worth a shout to be at the sharp end on the Supersport at least...

So here we go.. my pre TT final predictions:

Superbike - Cameron Donald

Superstock - Ryan Farquar

Supersport A - Michael Dunlop

Supersport B - Bruce Anstey

Senior - John McGuinness

Side Cars - Klaus Klaffenbock


Again, sorry Guy but I'm not always right and we will talk again after the first practice.


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