This year's TT was harder than most. Racing the TT knocks it out of you and I’m feeling pretty banjoed to be honest, which isn’t surprising considering the number of laps we all completed this year. The weather was so good it was like someone picked up the Isle of Man and dumped it in the Mediterranean! I was expecting to sell a load of McGuinness bobble hats, but the weather scuppered that.
The organisation this year was brilliant, too. Every practice session started bang on time and we were all getting five or six laps in a night, which is unheard of. Everything was fucked by the end of practice week – engines worn, riders knackered! I must have done 36 laps in practice, which is nearly 1400 miles, and then you add in two Supersport, three superbikes and an electric race as well as evening practice and you are pushing over 50 laps! It was great for newcomers as it gave them loads of track time, and also allowed more experienced riders to really dial in their bikes, which is why times were so quick.
The roads were really, really good. After a few practice sessions the rubber was down and it was clean and tidy with no shit on it all fortnight, which is why it was running so fast. All the old die-hard fans were harping on about it not being this good since women had hairy fannies in the 1970s. For me the perfect conditions did raise the risk level a bit. Lads were cracking 130mph laps on the second night of practice and then pushing on to 132mph and even 133mph. It’s rolling the dice every night, which is a bit unnecessary. Although I expected those sort of times, especially from lads like Hutchy and Hicky who were doing BSB and therefore had their eye in, and Dunlop who had been testing a lot, it was still fast. I did a 131mph, which was better than last year so I knew I was in the ballpark when it came to the races, but I didn’t go mad in practice. Without blowing my own trumpet, I rode brilliantly, but Hutchy and Dunlop were faster.
I matched my times from last year on essentially the same bike and I don’t think the other guys rode any better. I did over 130mph on my Superstock bike and when we dynoed it, it had 172bhp, which is at least 30bhp shy of the BMWs. I’m genuinely proud of what we achieved, two third spots is a great result seeing as I couldn’t get involved with what those two were up to. Next year will be different. I got my wings clipped a bit by Honda for mentioning the new Blade, but it’s not really a secret, is it? I don’t know for sure it’s coming, but MCN seems to think that we’ll see one in 2017. I also read in the paper that I accidentally turned the Mugen off in the TT Zero by landing on it with my arse, which is complete bollocks. If I can go over Ballacrye and land on the seat unit I must have eight-foot long arms! It’s not physically possible. I wouldn’t have minded if they had said my knob-end had hit it as that would mean I had a huge todger...
The truth of the matter is it was a faulty switch or something and I was pretty gutted. You only get one shot on the electric bikes and after all the testing and developing in Japan, to only make it to Quarry Bends was a shame. I pulled up and after poking a few buttons and turning it on and off, a chap in the crowd shouted, ‘I’m a plant engineer, why don’t you try hitting that big red button on the back?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, whatever’ but I flicked it and off we went! Speaking of Mugens, guess what I’m getting in my garage? Yes, alongside my TT Legends Senior Fireblade will soon be a beautiful Mugen Shinden III, the bike I won on in 2014 with my manky wrist and set the 117mph lap on. How good is that? It even has all the flies and stuff on its TT fairings. They only issue is that I can’t start it.
I’m planning on taking it to loads of shows and stuff as you never see one outside of Japan or the TT, but I don’t have a charging kit so can’t run it. Which is probably a good thing as the batteries are like atom bombs! You have seen what happens when an iPhone pops its battery, imagine what 180kg of Mugen would do – it would burn down my house, and half of Morecambe.
Finally, I’d like to say a big thanks to all the guys who helped me out at this year’s TT – Jackson Racing, Honda Racing, EMC/Bet Victor and everyone else who allowed me to do what I love at the best track in the world. But, although this year’s was a great event, there were a few sad losses and my thoughts are with the families and friends of those who didn’t make it on to the ferry home. Racing is a hard game and it is always tragic when someone pays the ultimate price.