Road Racing News

Lee Hardy Chats All Things International Road Racing – Part 3

The third and final part of Road Racing News International roads themed chat with RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki Team Owner Lee Hardy, which took place at Motorcycle Live, focuses around TT 2020 plans, expectations and respect for Mountain Course maestros Peter Hickman and Dean Harrison.

In the candid, insightful quotes detailed below Hardy begins by chatting about potential TT 2020 riders for the multi British Superbike race winning RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki squad.

“I’ve been talking to a few riders already for the roads and I was quite surprised that there’s still quite a few riders that are still available.

It’s been a big year this year and I think probably a lot of riders have looked at certainly some teams and probably thought that in the past they have been different, they have been constructed differently.

Looking at my team compared to some of the big name teams and I probably sort of knock myself a bit there and don’t think that we are a big name team. Obviously we are, we went there originally with Simon Andrews, we went back with Peter Hickman, first ever time he did 131 mph around there, so yes we have certainly put ourselves on the map.

We’ve been there with Conor Cummins, we’ve had some big names at the TT and as I say a lot of riders are starting to now look at our team as being one of those big name teams.

Obviously the RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki team has been there since 2013, so it’s about time now we probably got the got the right rider to do the job and if we can get that rider we can get a good package put together, I ultimately think there’s a good chance of stepping on the box (podium) at the TT.”

Going onto speak of his admiration for the fastest two TT competitors in history, Peter Hickman and Dean Harrison, he stated:

“I’m realistic, I ain’t going to say were going to go there and win a TT, ya man Peter Hickman seems to have that pretty well wrapped up, between him and Dean Harrison at the moment. Yes we have the likes of Davey Todd that are coming through but your going to have to have all your ducks in a row to beat them two.

Pete’s at the moment at one with the roads, he’s working well, he’s got a good team around him and he’s confident with that team, so he can throw his leg over that bike and put laps in round there, pretty much straight out of the box.

That’s would you need, if you look at the TT this year we had limited practice, we didn’t have a lot of practice but he had a bike he knew well, a team he knew well and he was confident.

It’s fine when you go there and the weather’s cracking, I’ve been there when there’s talk up on the Mountain of the tarmac melting, your thinking, how many more laps will we get in and were putting laps in every night, lots of laps.

But like I say, this year wasn’t the case so you need to have a good package when you arrive there, you need to have a rider that’s confident and ready to go and that’s why it’s going to be hard to beat Dean and Pete there.”

Concluding our conversation, speaking about the sheer hard graft that his team puts in at each TT meeting, plus expectations for TT 2020, the amiable team owner stated:

“It is man and machine (the TT) and you are part of that team, you have to prepare the machine to the best of your ability.

I know the lads who work for me, they are up relentless hours, checking things, changing bits, looking at the bike making sure it’s right and that’s one thing we can pride ourselves on this year, every race we started at the TT, we finished. We had no mechanical’s, we had no issues and that’s a big thing for me to take from TT 2019.

I need to say a big thanks to my team and that’s from everyone from people that work in the team who probably don’t think they are as important as others, everyone who puts on a RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki shirt at those events are as important as each other.

Like I say I do want to go back next year but I do definitely want to be there with a team that’s capable of challenging to be up on the podium.

Ultimately we want to be back and we’d like to get RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki on the podium and maybe get our first ever TT trophy.”

Words by Stevie Rial