2009 Senior MGP winner, lead Privateer within the 2017 Senior Classic TT, great racing all rounder Michael Russell is next to take part in Road Racing News, rising in popularity Manx GP Top 6 series.
2013 Super Twins Manx GP winner, seven times a top 25 TT finisher, his answers to the Mountain Course themed set of questions are as follows:
Q1: When you first competed at the Manx, what was your first initial thought of the Mountain Course?
“I was lucky I think not to have visited the Island prior to racing the Manx GP I think if I had been over as a spectator before entering to race the famous Mountain Course I wouldn’t have entered.
I think it is horrendous watching it, feels ten times faster off the bike seeing racers fly past and that would have made me question an entry for sure.
I was serving in Iraq when I put an entry in and did a load of on-board videos watching to learn the course and remember setting off behind the ledge Chris Palmer on my sighting lap thinking ‘I haven’t got a clue what’s coming up next’.
On-boards were great but gave no impression of the the gradients, bumps and undulations you face around the course. However I was absolutely hooked from the first lap it was like nothing else I had experienced on 2 wheels.”
Q2: Most memorable Manx GP bike?
“I think my Suzuki GSXR 750 Track Electronics entered Senior winning bike in 09 was my most memorable although I only did the first night of practice on it before the race, as we had some issues on the front forks that Dave in Ramsey was working on till the morning of the Senior.
The race was pretty wet so really didn’t get to give her the proper berries I think she was well capable of 120 plus, I only did 116 in them wet conditions which in places were pretty bad but made for a very eventful race. How I stayed on through Union Mills on the last lap I don’t know, I was over the front end broken screen job, it was exhilarating.”
Photo by Nick Wheeler
Q3: Most treasured memory from the Manx?
“I have been lucky enough to stand on the podium 4 times at the Manx in my 3 years I have competed there and they are all so special for different reasons.
But my most special was winning the Lightweight, again in horrendous weather conditions wet and thick fog to contend with and I had been blessed to go back to the Manx after not riding a bike for over 2 years prior. Also it meant a lot beating the Irish ledge Micko (Michael) Sweeney who was on form that year and has been since.”
Q4: Is there one specific Manx GP competitor that you look up to?
“I have always looked up to Ivan Lintin, he has always been a bit of a man crush for me someone that works hard behind the scenes, dedicated in front of the scenes to get things right. Always keen to lend a helping hand and ear and offer advice. Proper gentleman in racing is our Ivy as are so many.”
Q5: Describe the Manx GP in one word?
Q6: Finally, if you could race one machine from any series, championship around the Mountain Course, what would it be?
“Cannot wait to venture out around the infamous Mountain course on 3 wheels. My Shelbourne F2 slidycar, going to be amazing.”
Words by Stevie Rial