2023 Manx GP Chat: Reigning Classic SBK Champion Rob Hodson

2023 Manx GP Chat: Reigning Classic SBK Champion Rob Hodson

Featuring on the 100th Anniversary Manx Grand Prix programme front-cover, Classic Superbike race success last year was a landmark moment in Rob Hodson’s pure road racing career.

Since those heroics, Hodson has hit a rich vein of form at Oliver’s Mount events (Bob Smith Spring Cup-Cock O’The North-Barry Sheene Classic), the Southern 100 and TT Races.

A new ‘130 Mph Club’ inductee at TT 2023, he’s delighted to be back on IOM shores for the aforementioned Centenary Manx GP.

As in 2022, he is astride ZXR 750 Kawasaki tackle for Greenall Racing, 500 Honda machinery for Ruthless Racing.

Yesterday in a sun drenched MGP paddock, Road Racing News caught up with the Wigan racer, to chat a range of Mountain Course theme subjects.

Our succinct, candid, unfiltered conversation, began with discussing how he’s fared during qualifying week.

“For us, ourselves from the racing point of view it’s been alright a steady start on Sunday, got a couple of laps in on the Greenall Racing ZXR, Classic Superbike, it’s been going alright, yesterday was better again.

We’ve switched from Dunlop to Metzeler tyres, so that’s been the main thing of working around the set-up for that, been working with Maxton Suspension, just changing, swapping and changing, trying to get more comfortable.

It’s been surprising the effect it has had on this bike, switching tyres, it didn’t have as much affect at the TT on the other bikes but we’ll get there with it.”

He went onto add:

“You never know going around on your own, just concentrating on your set-up, you don’t know how close you are to the top.

You could probably push on a bit harder if you want to get higher up the leader-board, but were happy enough as we are at the minute, we’ll be confident for the race I think again.

Then on the classic 500 we had a split oil pipe, so that put an end to that on lap one, we’ll hopefully get back out on that this afternoon (Wednesday).”

When asked how good a shape the fabled, mythical Mountain Course is in, the twice Manx GP winner stated:

“Bit wary with the course because obviously it’s put so much rain down recently, especially on Sunday we had a look around the track and the sides of the road were a bit dirty.

Definitely not in as prime condition as at the TT, with rubber down and things but now it’s back to normal, you can get stuck in.”

Hodson who bested in July, the existing yesteryear Superbike lap-record at Scarborough, went onto praise Greenall Racing team-mates, Brian McCormack and Derek Sheils.

“The Irish pairing are going well, obviously Derek has been away for a good year, same team working on set up and things, so should be interesting to see once race day comes.”

Our final topic chatted about, revolved around the above showcased ‘130 Mph Club’ member disclosing, that there is a chance he could be Greenall Kawasaki mounted during next month’s Oliver’s Mount, Steve Henshaw Gold Cup.

“Fingers crossed, this engine will be in bits, if we have a good Manx, we might struggle with that but we will be there with the SMT bikes, the R6 (Yamaha) and the Super Twin.

With any luck, we can get the Greenall bike out there and put on a good show.”

Photo credit: Nick Wheeler

Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou

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