COSTELLO CLAIMS FIFTH PLACE IN CLASSIC 500 TT RACE.
The Northampton racer followed that up during a hugely-successful week of racing by taking a second place in the 250 class of the 350cc Classic TT on the Bob Jackson Suzuki T20.
Representing the privateer Paton entry of classic bike enthusiasts Peter and Barbara Beugger in the Bennetts 500 race, Maria produced arguably her best performance on the Mountain Course when she took the chequered flag in fifth place. It was a great ride which truly made up for her disappointment of last year, when she was forced to retire on the last lap of the inaugural Classic TT whilst leading the privateers’ class.
Costello set off down Glencrutchery Road on the number 21 Paton to begin the first of four gruelling laps around the famous 37.73 mile Isle of Man TT course.
Her standing start lap of 105.188mph, put her eighth in a field of 85 bikes, while lap two was just as impressive as she hit 139.8mph through the Sulby speed trap before entering the pit lane at the end of the lap to take on fuel for the remaining 75 miles of the race.
Costello rejoined the race in eighth, amongst a quintet of 500cc Manx Norton singles – bikes that would not need a mid-race fuel stop, unlike the twin engine of the Paton.
She set about catching the bikes ahead, recording a fantastic 140.4mph through the Sulby speed trap – a speed that would only be beaten by the similar machine of Ian Lougher throughout the entire race.
Costello began the final lap in sixth place but the retirement of Michael Dunlop moved her up to take the chequered flag in a commendable fifth place.
“After my rider status was changed to GP2 from privateer I would have been really happy with a top ten as I would be taking on the likes of John McGuinness, Bruce Anstey and Michael Dunlop. So to finish in fifth was mega, I was grinning from ear to ear."
“It did almost feel as good as a win as my team were celebrating so much as I came in to the holding area - Peter & Barbara Beugger (the owners), Richard Bairstow (fuel man) and my friend Richard Freeman. The last lap was amazing - so many people were standing up and clapping and waving me on. I thought that if I looked behind me I’d find John McGuinness there and it would be him they were cheering, but it was for me and that felt so special.”
“Peter & Barbara had come all the way from Switzerland to provide the Paton for me to ride. Peter prepares the bike and his attention to detail is second to none. I can’t thank them enough for this wonderful opportunity and for making me the luckiest woman on the planet - the only woman to have raced a Paton around the TT course!”
Costello was also competing in two other races on Tuesday, which had been postponed due to adverse weather.
Starting the 350cc Classic TT from 49th on the road Maria managed to get the endearingly named ‘Betty Boo’ Suzuki T20 round all three laps, without having to stop for fuel, claiming a brilliant second place in the 250cc class and 26th overall gaining another Classic TT Silver replica in the process.
It was her final event of the week that didn’t go to plan, when in the Classic Formula 1 race she was forced to retire the Team Classic Suzuki GSXR1100 Harris on lap one.
“This has been a special week. I think what I’ve achieved is still sinking in. All the wonderful comments and messages of congratulations have been pretty overwhelming, I can’t thank everyone who have helped me achieve this enough, I couldn’t do it without them and I can’t wait to get home and show my mum my new Silver replica trophies.” Added Costello.
Maria’s next outing will be onboard her ESM/Hol-Taj backed Kawasaki ER6 at the Killalane road races which will conclude her 2014 road race season.
Maria on the Paton
Image by Steve Babb Photography