1995 Junior - Fastest Newcomer Tells His Story

Hi everybody,
Here is my account of my one and only appearance at the TT, an article that I put together for a magazine in New Zealand after my return from the Isle of Man in 1995.

I went to the Isle of Man, I saw and I didn't conquer, but I had a bloody good time. If getting to the Isle of Man for the TT races isn't one of your top priorities in life, then change 'em. This place is wild, imagine if you will, an Island thirty miles long and ten miles wide with forty thousand, yes that's right, FORTY THOUSAND motorcyclists, partying all night, every night for two weeks.

There's a saying about the Isle of Man thatgoes something loke, " A large rock with 70 thousand alcoholics hanging off it", which some may is correct, and they all look forward to and love TT fortnight. You can imagine the atmosphere this creates (I suppose about the closest you could relate it to in New Zealand is the Paeroa street races, for anyone who has been there). The streets are literally clogged with motorcycles of every size, make, model and description from Bimotas, Harris specials, Aprillias and Cagivas through to CBR900's by the dozens and also quite a number of Ducati 916's including some very horny SP's.

They have a main downtown sort of area called The Promenade, which turns into a congregation point for the hordes. As you can imagine, this results in a street party every night with two or three live bands playing, bungy jumping off cranes, wild bronco mechanical bull rides and the odd spontaneous bare breasted women on a motorcycle fly-by.

The police are very good at taking a high profile but, not interfering unless called for, in fact they enjoy it as much as anyone. By the end of the fortnight the Promenade is covered in tyre marks from burn outs and wheel stands and I think the island heaves a big sigh when the ferry's finally set sail.

Well, back to the reason we went to The Isle of Man (what do you mean !), the TT races. The course is in one word, "awesome", I couldn't take the smile off my face for about an hour after the first dry practice (we only got three completely dry practices out of twelve) however, I soon got down to the serious business of trying to get around the 37 mile course in some sort of reasonable time without plastering myself on an eighteenth century cottage named Sarah or Kate or something.

By our last practice on Friday, I was starting to know generally, what was around the next corner - sort of, and I qualified 35th out of 90 entrants. I was quite happy with this as I had only got three laps in around the track before practice started and then the weather didn't help, but probably my biggest handicap was a standard bike in a class for modified bikes. As this track has open sections where you are on full throttle for minutes on end, this can make quite a difference however, don't take anything away from the bike, as the Kawasaki ZX6R turned out to be an excellent machine.

Mark Lawford and Desma Scott, who travelled with me, managed to sneak up into the Officials Tower for the last practice (because it was so bloody cold) and noticed they were doing split times for the last 2 miles of the track, which is a tight and twisty section and I was fourth fastest, so that was encouraging.

The race day dawned bright and sunny and we got away on time at 10.45am (beats the hell out of 3.45am rises to make 4.30am scrutineering for 5.15 practices during the week). As the race is started one rider at a time, in ten second intervals, I left quite a while after the leaders, in 44th position. My race was fairly lonely, except for a couple of close calls with the aforementioned cottage walls and one cliff face (very close to the one where John Hepburn lost his thumb in fact!).

I finished in twenty-seventh place, with an average speed of 108 point something miles an hour for the race. My fastest lap was nearly 111 miles an hour so I was happy. I was second standard bike home, behind Simon Beck, who finished fifteenth (incidentally he also finished third in the Formula One TT on a factory Ducati). Unfortunately I missed out on a bronze replica, which is awarded to riders who finish within a certain percentage of the class winners time and with Ian Duffus winning in LAP and Race record times, this was difficult to achieve. With the race lasting over an hour and twenty minutes I missed out by some 22 seconds!.

However, the disappointment soon disappeared when I found out I had won the fastest newcomer award for not only the junior class, but also for the event overall. I received a lot of support from the local race organisers and also from friends and sponsors in NZ. A big thank-you to Motorcycling New Zealand, John Hepburn, Mark Lawford, Desma Scott, my brother Paul Gillard who joined us from London and Jack Wood who organises the TT. Also thank-you to my local sponsors who supported my trip, RK chains and SBS brake pads. The festival wound-up, with a couple of huge parties, including the final of the WET T-Shirt competition and slowly but surely a lot of sore heads started heading for home. However, you can guarantee that the majority will be back next year and I can see why, the racing, the atmosphere, the pubs and wheelies and burnouts and parties, unreal, put the TT on your list of MUST DO's, every motorcyclist in the World deserves the chance to enjoy at least one TT in their life time.

Some Facts about Jared.

I have only competed once in 1995, however I have had offers to return just about every year since.
DOB 07-05-68
In 1995 I was a team manager for Telecom NZ LTD My hometown was Tauranga for most of my racing.
I live in Auckland now and was born in Gore in the deep south. I rode a brand new Kawasaki ZX6R which was completely stock except for an Ohlins shock I took with me.
A local IOM businessman Des Collins provided the Bike, at a price. John Hepburn made the contact.
Mark Lawford, my regular mechanic and best friend traveled with me as well as my beautiful partner Desma Scott.
27th in Junior TT, 2nd standard bike home, Fastest newcomer for Junior and overall.
I loved the fast parts, which is most of the course. Brae hill is heart in mouth stuff. Worst part was nerves and lack of practice. I really enjoyed the challenge, of both mind and body. A real achievement to finish yet alone excel.
This was my first and only overseas race.
I won the 1991 NZ 600 Production Champs and the 1991 600cc prod TT Title & GP Title
I finished third in the 1990 NZ 600cc production champs(1st season of racing, Simon Crafar won champs).
I finished third in the 1993 NZ Superbike Title on a Yamaha YZF750.
Finished first in Formula one at Paeroa street race 1995 ahead of Tony Rees, Jason McEwen, Robert Holden, Russell Josiah etc.
Not racing anymore - putting money back in the bank,
I am 6 foot 6 inches tall and weight 100 kg skinny. Not the physical dimensions required for a ride overseas.

Jared Gillard

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