RAF HONDA RESERVES HEAD TO IOMTT DEBUT FOLLOWING DISAPPOINTMENT AT DONINGTON

Andrews power the RAF Reserves Honda out of Goddards corner

Andrews power the RAF Reserves Honda out of Goddards corner

The RAF Reserves Team, powered by Honda, had a disappointing display at Donington Park this past Sunday for Round 4 of the National Superstock 1000 championship but are now in the Isle of Man with rider Simon Andrews feeling positive for its first ever TT.

After heading straight from the rain disrupted North West 200, the Lee Hardy Racing-run team changed the set-up of the Honda Fireblade back for the short circuit but were greeted with more rain.

A crash in Friday’s practice left Andrews unhurt, but with repair work to do on the bike the team opted not to run in the first qualifying session, hoping the sun would arrive for Saturday’s Qualifying 2. The gamble paid off and Andrews made progress on the no.6 machine, but the lack of track time to find a sweet set-up left him down in 14th.

The Lee Hardy Racing team on the grid at Donington Park

The Lee Hardy Racing team on the grid at Donington Park

A good start to Sunday’s race in front of a packed World Superbike crowd saw Andrews make progress up to 10th, but pushing the bike in the areas it felt stronger saw Andrews run on at The Esses. This effectively put an end to the 28-year old from Evesham’s race and he crossed the line disappointed in 23rd place.

With little time to reflect, the team packed up and travelled through the night to the Isle of Man. Simon, riding a CBR600RR in the Supersport class, took his first practice laps on Monday evening (May 27) and he will take the RAF Reserves bike for its first TT laps this evening ready to compete in both the Superstock, Superbike and Senior classes.

Rider Simon Andrews  said: “Donington was tough to take after the NW200, but we were hampered by a lack of dry track time and getting me and the machine back to short circuit mode. We were about a second off the pace, struggling to carry the corner speed I want and I made a slight mistake in the race and that was that.

“I’ve put Donington behind me now and we’re here on the Island. I got a couple of laps in on the 600 last night but we’ll take the red, white and blue Fireblade down Bray Hill tonight.”

Team manager Lee Hardy  said: “North West 200 to Donington Park on the World Superbike stage and now to the Isle of Man for the TT – what a crazy couple of weeks. Donington was not what we hoped for but there’s no doubting Simon’s ability or commitment. The RAF Reserves Honda makes it TT debut tonight and we’re confident that our recent Castle Combe test and the North West has given us a good set-up.”

The team’s thoughts are with family and friends of Yoshinari Matsushita who lost his life during practice at the TT on Monday May 28. RIP Yoshi.

TT Practice schedule:

Tuesday, May 28 – 18.20-19.05 – Superbike/Superstock/Supersport/Newcomers

Wednesday, May 29 – 18.20-19.55 – Superbike/Superstock/Supersport/Newcomers

Thursday, May 30 – 19.15-19.55 – Superbike/Superstock/Supersport/Newcomers

Friday, May 31 – 19.55-20.25 – Superbike/Superstock/Supersport/Newcomers

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