Two Scandanavian road racers hope to make their debuts at this year’s Isle of Man TT Races, having spent the weekend on the Island as guests of the Mike Hailwood Foundation, learning the 37 and ¾ mile circuit. Iceman Sport Extreme International Racing team mates Joakim Karlsson and Christer Miinin spent four days on the Island receiving expert tuition from TT Rider Liaison Officer and former TT winner Richard ‘Milky’ Quayle and Senior TT podium finisher Gary Carswell.
The two Swedish riders have a colourful CV in road racing, and both hold strong ambitions to race around the world famous Mountain Circuit. Karlsson has raced in the Swedish national championships on and off for two decades and in 2004 made his real road race debut at the Ulster Grand Prix in Ireland. Team mate Miinin is a highly successful rider and current Scandinavian Superbike and Production 600cc Champion, who broke the lap record at every circuit he raced on during 2004!
Speaking after three laps in the car with Milky Quayle, both riders appeared optimistic about the task facing them. Joakim Karlsson commented:
“It is fantastic to see all the famous landmarks in real life, which I have only ever seen on video. The circuit is amazing, and obviously very difficult to learn, but Milky’s advice has been very helpful, and everything he says makes sense. We filmed a lap in the car with his commentary to take back to Sweden to study and we also have several on board laps to keep watching, and hopefully we will be able to begin to piece the track together.”
Team mate Christer Miinin was just as enthusiastic as Karlsson after his first visit to the Isle of Man and said:
“I was surprised to see just how bumpy the circuit is but in Sweden I work as a suspension technician and have a lot of experience of setting a racing bike up for the different conditions, so hopefully that will come in useful here. It is going to take a long time to learn the circuit but the advice Milky has given us has probably sped up the learning process considerably. The circuit is everything I thought it would be though, and I can’t wait to try it for myself.”
Recently appointed TT Team and Rider Liaison Officer Richard ‘Milky’ Quayle commented:
“It’s always difficult for a foreign rider to come and learn the Mountain Circuit, because they have no real feel for what goes on at the TT, as there is nothing remotely like it on the continent. Both the lads seem to be going about it the right way though, and are doing everything they can to learn the circuit which is the most important thing when you do the TT. If they keep that up, they should do alright and hopefully will go on to become regular visitors to the event in the years ahead.”
David Cretney MHK, Minister for the Department of Tourism and Leisure on the Isle of Man added:
“The TT has always been an International event, and it is great to see the trend continuing of talented overseas competitors showing an interest in our race meeting. Thanks to the sterling work of the Mike Hailwood Foundation we regularly play host to riders from all around the world and Joakim and Christer are two more names to add to that list. I wish them both the best of luck when they compete in this years TT and I hope that they will return for many years to come, and spread the word about the TT back home in Sweden.”
There is to be a documentary DVD produced about the teams exploits this season which will be shown on Scandinavia television, as well as distributed all over Europe. For more information visit www.realroadracing.se.