Various interviews with racers that I’ve conducted over the years, mix candidness with humility, whit, brutal honesty.
The chat I had with Kingston Upon Hull’s Richie Welsh on Saturday, before race action commenced, is another prime example.
Part one of my conversation with the ten times national club racing Champion, Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough front-runner, recent Manx Grand Prix first-timer is as follows:
Road Racing News:
“How have you found the fabled, mythical Mountain Course?”
“We’ve always done well on the mainland and at Scarborough, so I thought I’d come here and maybe I was in a bit of shout of something, then quickly realised I was aiming a bit high, punching above my weight.
So, came here I had some personal aspirations then I realised because it’s the centenary and the 400’s are back, the depth of the field is massive.
I spoke to Shelley Pike, she’s a similar sort of speed to myself, she agreed that the depth of field is really large this year.
So, it was a massive wake-up call trying to sort of gauge this place, racing at Aberdare, Oliver’s Mount, Tonfanau this year to get us into that road racing vibe.
Then we come here and it’s so far removed from anything before I’ve ever done, I’ve even done the North West 200.
So, once we had a look around, done a load of on-boards before I came and visited the Island after the newcomers-weekend to try and get some laps in.
I’m watching on-board after on-board after on-board like everybody is and I still never felt it quite went in.”
The East Yorkshireman went onto add:
“We came on the Thursday we got the bikes ready and we went out for the first newcomers practice and the bike (FZR 400 Yamaha) didn’t work and I thought oh no.
So, we made some changes I went out for the next couple of laps, knew what the issues were but we didn’t have time to change them.
So rode around them, I tried my best and what we found then was, what I found was before I concentrating on the motorcycle at first, it wasn’t running right, I wasn’t paying attention to the circuit, I was just riding around.
It was only by the grace of God, did we manage to qualify and it was a lovely surprise to find that out on that first newcomers-day, that Sunday.
Monday was cancelled because of the weather, Tuesday I was in the group that got red-flagged because of the bad accident, we were trapped between two accidents.
We had to come back under a police escort when the roads were open, middle of the night, rains coming down, cars coming the other way, dark visor, the wrong way on the Mountain Course with no lights on a race bike.
It was horrendous mate, we got back in the paddock at about half past nine, ten o clock. So, all these things put me on the back foot.”
Read Road Racing News tomorrow for part two of Richie’s Manx GP story, not to be missed!
Photo credit: Nick Wheeler
Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou