Three days ago, venturing around a wet weather impacted Oliver’s Mount paddock, I was fortunate to catch up with JLG/NCE Racing’s Jamie Williams.
Top UK/IOM, Honda mounted exponent of the 2023 IRRC Supersport Championship, finishing 11th in the final series standings following strong points finishes at Schleizer Dreieck, Circuit De Chimay and Frohburger Dreieck, I attained his thoughts on a range of subjects, focused around, his real roads adventures across Europe.
Firstly, candidly speaking about the IRRC season, he stated:
“To be honest with you, we dipped our toe in the weather with the job last year and we raced a wildcard at Chimay and Horice in the Czech Republic and that was enough for us to be sold on the job.
So, ventured out there this year, unfortunately we only managed to do four out of the six Championship rounds.
But the travel side of it, the people you met, the racing, everything about it, the whole feel of the IRRC for me is about what motorcycle racing is all about, I’m excited to get back out there next year.”
The tenth-place finisher from yesterday’s Steve Henshaw Gold Cup feature race, went onto add about the nature, riding style applicable to the IRRC host venues.
“It’s not like a Southern 100 course to try and learn, some seem more difficult than others.
They do seem very short circuit way of riding, Horice not so much but everywhere else I’ve been to it’s a very short circuit type of way of riding but it’s still on the roads.
Some of them are like billiard tables but nine times out of ten you’ve got cambered corners with you, and everything is working for you.
But it’s not like an Armoy road race or Skerries or anything like that! It’s refreshing and it’s different.
You look at Chimay for arguments sake and even Hengelo, still got trees, house here and there but you have got more of a scope for run off, so if you were to have a slide it’s not like the Southern were you have walls everywhere and stuff like that.”
When asked, if there were any racers that stood out from battles across 2023 IRRC Supersport race stints, the Manxman who’s 600 Honda steed features a distinctive orange, white and black colour scheme stated:
“There’s been a few, obviously the majority of what we have ventured to, we have been a newcomer at, so I was always trying to gauge myself from a point of view, you go to these places with goals.
I always found myself within this certain group of riders, I couldn’t tell you all the names, there’s that many of them!
But there was a group of maybe two or three guys I was always battling with on track, Andreas Jochum was one of them.
We’ve become very good friends off the back of been at the IRRC, he done the Manx GP as a newcomer this year.
There’s a couple of other guys, Rico Vetter had an excellent battle at Frohburg, Anssi Koski, me and him ding dong battles all year.”
“But the guys that are there, have so much respect for you on track.
It’s hard racing the real fast lads, but they are respectful and that’s nice that because I don’t know a lot of them oppose to the boys I’ve been racing in the UK and Ireland over the last number of years.
But they do give you that bit of room, they are very respectful on track.”
Whilst the bulk of our non-distilled conversation revolved around the IRRC, I had to obtain the Douglas baser racer’s thoughts on what proved a challenging, 100th Anniversary Manx Grand Prix.
Illustrating brutal honesty, he said:
“Looking back at it now, I was disappointed obviously, anybody is, we were coming back off the Manx Grand Prix from 2022 with what happened on the Super Twin on the last lap and finished on the podium in the Senior.
You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t think you could go back this year and do the same if not better.
But we were up against it with some issues with the Super Twin and that had a massive knock-on effect with us, we lost practice with engine blow ups and stuff, we lost time getting out on the 600 and then the weather and red flags and so on and so forth.”
“But I’ll be honest with you it is what it is, you’ve got to take it on the chin, you’ve got to take the positives and you’ve got move on, if you dwell on it you aren’t going to move on.
So, look I’m happy with what we’ve done in respect of what we had against us but I’m a motorbike rider, everyone’s the same, we always want to go better, faster, quicker, you name it but overall, I’m happy enough onto the next one.”
Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou