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MOTORCYCLIST: Andrew Kirkwood

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Personal Data

NAME Andrew Kirkwood
OCCUPATION Business Manager
Andrew Kirkwood at Ballacraine.
Manx Grand Prix 2007
After a solid week of stripping and rebuilding the Norton a heartbreaking failure of the points wire within a mile of completing the 3rd lap of Monday's Senior Classic race left the whole team devastated. The bike seized almost daily in practise and this was finally cured by filing the offending areas of the piston away to give clearance and by running on pure Avgas to give a cooler running temperature. Unbelievably, the collapse of a gearbox bearing and the frantic efforts to get a bronze bush made by local engineers, get the gearbox reassembled, get the bike running to the start line in fading light, with less than 10 seconds to go of the final practise session which we needed to complete to achieve qualification for the race was a gargantuan effort.

People had described the concept of an ES2 racer as an oxymoron but against all the odds it completed 2 laps at 87 MPH in the race and was clocked by the grandstand speed trap at 107 MPH with another gear to go. With all this taken into account and the massive efforts made by the whole team the breakdown with the finish in sight was a cruel blow.

In the ultra light weight race the ZXR 400 managed to complete the distance. It was a massive relief for Andy Kirkwood and the team to achieve the first finish in four starts. This was however not as smooth as it first sounds. The exhaust system came apart at the collector box under the engine, towards the end of the second lap in the race. I forced it back together at the refuelling stop and the pit lane scrutineers allowed us to continue. However it only lasted another 10 miles before coming apart again. Undeterred by this, Andy continued round and completed the 3rd lap refusing to stop at the pits for attention and blasting past onto his 4th lap. About halfway round this lap he was black flagged by the marshals and only by pleading with a travelling marshal who produced a large cable tie, was Andy allowed to carry on and complete the race.

If you look at the lap times you can see how much this held Andy back. Andy collected his finisher's medal on Friday night, although a fantastic achievement does not give a true reflection of the efforts of the team and the rider in achieving this result. It does however give an indication of the gruelling demands of the greatest test of man and machine in the world that the Isle of Man mountain circuit provides.

Work starts now in preparation for next years assault and you can be assured that every effort will be made to ensure finishes in all the classes we start in next year.
Many thanks to Ian for this submission (6 September 2004)

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Andrew Kirkwood

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