Dubai rider Steve Blackney races Manx Grand Prix
Dubai based Brit, Steve Blackney, set off on a lifelong dream over a week ago to race the famous Isle of Man TT circuit at the Manx Grand Prix. As a self funded privateer, he had the support of Dubai based superbike race team, Vendetta Racing, with race bikes supplied by Ducks Cross Racing of Bedford in UK. Steve has been preparing for this race for almost a year, racing with the team at UK’s Cadwell Park earlier in the year. Steve is better known for his multiple Motocross titles, he holds nine Middle East Open Motocross Championship titles and has raced the UAE Desert Challenge for the past ten years, he has recently made the change to asphalt road racing.
Throughout practice week, the torrential rain over the 37.7mile course often made conditions treacherous, only allowing Steve twelve practice laps. The famous TT road circuit is configured to run on public roads, through villages and scenic routes across the island. The demanding circuit attracts riders from all over the world to this historic endurance race consisting of four high-speed laps many different classes. Steve has entered three classes, first race today was the Newcomers class, next up will be the Junior and Senior race.
During the week long preparations, Steve and his team endured several mechanical challenges due to the demanding conditions of the road surface, with potholes and hump back bridges to contend with, suspension set up and radiator failures in the initial practice coupled with the wet tyre set up, proved an interesting challenge for the Dubai team who normally race in extreme desert heat, however, Steve’s technical team soon found an ideal strategy.
The race circuit, which is similar in size to Bahrain, rises to a height of 1,385 ft above sea level on the mountain section which proved to be the fastest and most demanding part of the course with Steve reaching over 160+mph on his Yamaha R6 machine.
Today, on race day, the sun was shining and the conditions were perfect for the race, and as the riders were dispatched from the race to start in two’s, with 10 second intervals, Steve remained calm and focused to set a steady pace early on. Starting in 13th position he would have a two minute gap before the next groups were hot on his heels. Riders have to make a mandatory pit stop for fuel, in Steve case this was at the end of lap 2, a quick change of helmet and a refuel from the team gave a perfect pit stop then followed by another two flying laps.
Steve finished the race in a commendable 12th place in 1hr 27mins 41s, with an average speed of 103.261mph, very impressive considering Steve had no experience on this, the most demanding road race circuit in the world.
The race was eventually won by local racer Tim Venables, a Manx born road racer who completed the race in 1hr 19min 22s, with an average speed of 114mph. Local road knowledge is a key advantage which showed in the local manxman’s race winning performance.
After the race, Steve commented “I would really like to thank Duck Cross racing for their professional and technical support along with the support of Vendetta Racing UAE, I couldn’t have done it without them. The race was a real challenge for me, and I’m glad I have managed to complete the event and bring myself and the bike home in one piece. I’m now looking forward to tomorrow’s day of rest before the Junior race on Wed 1st Sept and the Senior race on Friday, then getting back to Dubai and to competing in the UAE National Championships again”
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