We’ve had to wait a whole year for the world’s most unique motorcycle road race to come around once again and once qualifying for the 2011 Isle of Man TT finally got underway on Monday evening for sidecars and solos, in typical British fashion, the weather spoiled some of the fun.
Despite that it was a bright and even sunny day at the starting line in Douglas where the roads remained dry, conditions were just the opposite on the other side of the 37 and three-quarter mile course between Glen Helen and Ramsey. This section suffered from rain late in the afternoon which left the track with plenty of damp patches and kept riders on their toes. Later in the afternoon, as riders were starting their third lap, heavy rain hit the mountain and made riding impossible. That left race organizers with no option other than to red flag the first qualifying session of the 2011 TT as the track became far too dangerous.
During the day we bumped into TT legend John McGuinness, who rides for the factory Honda Team. McGuinness said: “I can’t wait to get started. At last all the hype and bullsh*t is over of who’s going to do this or that, it’s finally time to get on with the job. I feel like I’m riding better than ever so I can’t wait to get going.”
His confidence was justified as he topped the timesheets with a lap of 122.838 mph despite the far from ideal track conditions. His teammate, Keith Amor from Scotland, finished just behind with a lap of 122.637 mph. Sandwiched in between the Honda duo was Kiwi Bruce Anstey who moves from Suzuki to Padgett’s Honda for 2011 and looked impressive right out of the box, lapping at 122.752 mph.
It looks like it’s going to be a very interesting TT as there are many changes at the top, with most of the riders and teams swapping around this year making this historic year even more interesting. As I’m over for the whole fortnight of TT madness, camping in my little tent in the heart of the race paddock, I’ll be bringing you as much paddock gossip as possible as I chat with my buddies during the weeks ahead.