Banbridge’s Shaun Anderson is on cloud 9 having secured a partnership with the Hawk Racing Suzuki team for the 2022 TT Races.
Runner-up within the 2010 Newcomers A Manx Grand Prix, Anderson since stepping up to the TT ranks in 2012, has consistently improved lap times wise, race craft wise, confidence wise around the unparalleled Mountain Course.
Currently the 33rd quickest racer in TT history, thanks to a present personal best lap speed of 128.672 mph, I recently gained candid insights about his elevation to factory rider status.
My uncontrived conversation with the 12th place finisher from the 2019 Senior TT, reads as follows:
Q1: When did you first realise there was a chance of competing for Hawk Racing?
“There was a lot of factors that had to line up. We spoke at the early part of the year and there was a lot of changes going on for me outside of races.
But was able to put myself in the shop window and the Hawk team have been kind to me in years past with parts and info when I was riding my own Suzuki.
All the discussions started to wrap up by the end of February and so when the team gave me the green light I was jumping for joy.
To be honest I still can’t really believe it, hopefully will have sunk in by the time we are going down Bray Hill at the end of May.”
Q2: How does it feel to be a ‘works’ TT racer?
“I am on cloud 9. It almost feels strange, as I have been a privateer for all my career. I feel vindicated, that a lot of hard graft has paid off, I am thankful to all the people that have got me to this point.
The team have been super supportive and they have said the goal is to give me the tools to get the maximum out of myself, with no other expectations regarding results and as all competitors will tell you, most of the pressure to perform comes from within.”
Q3: You’ve enjoyed good results before with Suzuki machinery, are you optimistic about joining the ‘130 Mph Club’ at this year’s TT Races?
“130 mph is one of my own personal goals. With Hawk and the machinery they are suppling me with, it has to be on the radar.
But the big unknown is the track. No one knows, how fast or slow the track will be this year, with the time away. But with good weather and plenty of track time we will see.”
Q4: Are there any sections of the Mountain Course, that you are looking in particular to improve upon this May/June?
“Not one single section. There is room to improve and tenths saved everywhere all add up. The idea is to link personal best sectors together and be consistent as with my current pb sectors that would take me to over 131-mph.
It would be better to focus on my race strategy, I am a guy that loves the 6 laps and starts to shine during laps 5 and 6.
So, with the pace of the races, I need to get out of the traps a bit sharper if there is any one area to improve.”
Q5: Finally, for you what would be a successful 2022 TT Races?
“The TT is such a unique event, it is the only event that you spend all year waiting and preparing for, but have such relief when you cross the line, post the end of the Senior.
Success for me is firstly completing all races safely, with new PB’s and hopefully surprising a few people and fulfilling what I see as the potential I have.”
Photo credit Nick Wheeler
Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou