Road Racing News

Lee Hardy Chats All Things International Road Racing – Part 1

Speaking on Sunday at Motorcycle Live, RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki Team Owner Lee Hardy chatted to Road Racing News about all things International Road Racing, ranging from his teams latest North West 200, TT campaigns, to what could potentially be on the horizon for 2020.

The first of various articles detailing the in depth conversation with the amiable Hardy, is based around how 2019 roads action for the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki squad unfolded.

Commenting about the roads season with twice TT winner Gary Johnson, who’s preparations for the North West 200 and TT Races, took a major blow following leg injuries sustained after an incident during Superstock free practice at the Oulton Park BSB round, Hardy stated in thoroughly honest fashion:

“It was a challenging North West and TT to be fair. As you are aware Gary got injured at Oulton Park prior to the North West, it was quite a nasty injury that he was carrying, that obviously had an effect on his ability to move around the bike and to control the machine and the weather was hard this year at the North West as well.

Previous years we’ve been quite lucky but this year we had a lot of rain, which obviously didn’t help him, the time on the bike was reduced.

It is was it is, the injury was there we knew it was adamant, we just basically dealt with it the best we could. In all honesty the North West wasn’t as successful as I wanted it to be, it was our second year with Gary on the Kawasaki and we put a big effort in for this year.

We’d done a lot of testing, we’d been away with the BSB, Gary done Monteblanco and Portimao with us, he’d had a lot of time on the bike, been doing a couple of Superstock rounds with us as well. So I ultimately wanted some podiums from the North West, that was the goal that I set myself and the team.

So yeah a little bit disappointed but on the whole we were trying to moderate the injury that Gary had, which was through no fault of his own, he had a crash at Oulton that couldn’t have been avoided, so it was just a case of dealing with that and just trying to put on the best show that we could and that Gary could.”

Adding his thoughts on the largely inclement weather impacted TT 2019, he stated:

“Going forward from there to the TT, the TT for us again we knew it was going to be hard, Gary never really had, I wouldn’t say confidence but he never really gelled, I think the injury was always in the back of his mind, it was always hard for him to relax on the bike and that’s the thing around somewhere like the TT.

You need to be at one with the machine, you need to be relaxed, you need to be fully confident, possibly he wasn’t which it made it hard for him to do what he needed to do.

So the event in all, was a little bit of an anti climax if I’m honest in terms of the effort, from the team, not just myself and everyone put in and obviously what Gary put in through pre-season as well.

So it was just a bit of a shame. But I enjoyed the event I always do, I love the roads, the element of the whole thing of the test of man and machine against the road, it’s just a buzz you don’t get anywhere else.”

Words by Stevie Rial