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Author: Helen Pask
Posted on: Wednesday, Jun 03 2009

Saturday evening saw the Mitchells of Mansfield/Dave Holden Racing sponsored duo take part in a steady, controlled lap of the course behind the vastly experienced Roy Hanks and Dave Wells.

After that they were sent out with the rest of the outfits for a non-timed lap to see how they fared.

Ben explained: “The controlled lap was fine as we just followed everyone else but once we had to do it without someone to show us the way it was very different. It was a real shock and we felt very alone out there. The flies were a real pain as they impaired our vision and stuck to the outfit making a right mess. We don’t normally use tear offs on our visors and it took most of the lap before I realised that if I tore one off I could see!

“The sun was very low in the sky as the sidecars are the last class to practice and that bothered us on Saturday as well. All in all we really didn’t enjoy the evening and were left wondering if we had made a big mistake in coming to the island.

“But Monday evening everything changed and we really enjoyed ourselves. All thoughts of despair flew out the window and we couldn’t wait to get out there.

“The course is so fast it is just unbelievable, you know what’s coming around the next bend but because of the high speed you don’t realise how quickly you arrive at the next bend.

“We are still learning our way around and every time we go a bit faster you are on to the next part of the course that much quicker.

“We got two laps in on Monday evening and increased our lap speed to 103.919mph – 21m 47.05s on the second run and were 13th fastest around the course.

“Tuesday we raised our game even further and the first lap was 106.23mph – 21m 21.12 moving us up to 12th overall on the night. But the second lap was a little different, we were really flying and it was almost certainly going to be a faster time but we were forced to stop at Ballaugh when the fuel pump packed in.

“We spent today replacing the fuel pump and checking the outfit over in readiness for the evening practice tonight – Wednesday. We still have to wear our novice jackets but it won’t be long before we can dispense with them and approach the first race as fully fledged newcomers and not novices. We can’t wait to get going under race conditions, this place is awesome and we love it!”

There will be a further update on Ben and Tom’s progress on Thursday.

Pic credit – Mark Walters

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