The Latest News from Team Shand Racing
|2022 Isle of Man TT races|
Three years since the team were at the Isle of Man, this was due to Covid 19. Although driver Gordon has done numerous TT races here on the Isle of Man, there had been some changes to the thirty seven and three quarter mile course, certain sections of the course had been resurfaced, bumpy sections had been smoothed out.
As the team arrived on the Island they met up with passenger, Frank Claeys, from Belgium, Frank has done the Isle of Man TT with Gordon before, in fact, Frank’s first TT was with Gordon. Also Frank has won sidecar championships in Europe and he is an accomplished solo racer too.
With the team all set up for just over a two week stay in the TT paddock they set about setting up their “Shand chassis” Suzuki for the first practice, due to take place on the Monday evening.
The team set off on their first practice. It was a steady run for the team, getting to grips with the road circuit once again. Gordon and Frank managed to get two laps in. The team were happy with how things went, but there was work to be done on the machine, mainly suspension and gearing changes were needed. These were all done and the team were ready for the Tuesday evening session.
Practice week turned out to be a testing time for the team, for all the sidecar teams this was. There were cancelations due to track incidents. Normally most sidecar teams would be hoping to get two laps in on a practice night, but due to the unfortunate incidents teams were only getting one lap, some teams were not even getting one lap, due to problems they were having.
Gordon and Frank with the help from Doug worked on their machine checking over the chassis, and making changes, mainly suspension and gearing. The next practice with the changes made was a great improvement, but fine adjustment would make things a lot better
Wednesday evening practice the team got one more lap in. The team had made good improvements on top speed thanks to computer work which helped the fuel mapping to the “Motec” ecu. However there were several incidents round the “Mountain Course” resulting in yellow flags being shown With Gordon slowing down for the yellow flags these improvements were not reflected in the teams lap time.
Practice week was coming to an end, some teams had to withdraw from the event due to lack of track time and machine problems, the “Mountain Course” is a test to man and machine.
Friday evening practice was to be delayed, with a first, even for the Isle of Man, a burst water main on the circuit. This resulted with Gordon and Frank not improving their lap time.
The team had a big push on now for the first race on Saturday. An engine change was done, that went well, but all of a sudden there was an electrical problem, not what the team wanted at this late stage. It turned out that a new race alternator fitted had failed; the team was very disappointed with this as it was brand new, out the box! The team made a hurried change to this just before their machine went to technical control.
The first race day was here for the team, three laps of the “Mountain Course” the sun was shining and spirits were high. Unfortunately there was an incident at “Ago’s Leap” with another sidecar team; this was at the start of the race. The race was stopped immediately. There would not be any more racing for that day.
“Team Shand Racing” returned to their paddock garage, shaken with what had happened. The team regrouped and did repair work to their machine which happened when they hit debris from the accident before them.
The race was to be re-run on the Monday of the second week, this was to be two laps instead of three, a 74 mile sprint.
Gordon and Frank set off from the start of the race. The race was going well for the team with no problems with their “Shand chassis” Suzuki. During the race though there was a lot of yellow flags, Gordon slowed, but when he and Frank came upon the problems, they found that the obstructions or obstacles had been cleared from the track, this resulting in their lap time had been slowed significantly. At the end of the race they were credited with eighth place, but with times checked they were to be placed ninth overall. The team were happy with this result, but they would head back to their pit garage and do more computer work and try and find some more top end speed.
Tuesday is a rest day for the TT racers, but not for Frank. He is mad crazy about bikes and he brings his solo bike to the Island every year. He had entered into the “Ramsey Sprint” with his Honda 1000. With the weather just right for the day, off the team went. Frank had a great time and leathered his Honda 1000 up the quarter mile straight numerous times. In the end Frank was to finish in fifth place overall. He was a very happy man. Later that evening he went to the prize giving for the first sidecar race, to receive the finishers’ medal, a good night was had mixing with the top racers, sidecar and solo.
Wednesday, the team woke to sunny conditions and there was to be a single shake down lap for the sidecar teams for their final three lap race on Friday. The team arrived back to the paddock after this and was really happy with how it had gone. They had a good suspension set up and their engine was good after checking data.
However, the weather was to play a part in the final days of the TT fortnight. There was a deep low moving towards the Island bringing rain and strong winds. This was to disrupt the race program. A solo race was put off to the following day, but again due to the weather it did not go. This resulted in race laps to be reduced. The second sidecar race would be like the first a two lap race.
Race day was here again, it was Friday. There were damp patches on the course, mainly under the trees but these probably would not cause any problems for the sidecar teams, but there was a strong wind which would affect the sidecar teams.
Gordon and Frank set off again. Things were going well for the team; their machine was going well, no problems, things were looking good as they crossed the line to start the second lap. Unfortunately the red flags came out for an incident on the course. The race was run; the result would only be for the single lap. The team was to be credited with nineteenth place, not what Gordon and Frank wanted, but that was the best they got under the circumstances.
“Team Shand Racing” would like to thank all their sponsors for their continued support, especially “Wee Kev” “Kevin Ashworth, Machined Timber”, “Big Doug”, “Cameron Suzuki” and “Helmet City” and not forgetting “The Boss” Sandra, “SEB”, to name a few. Without your support the team could not continue to live the dream.
“Team Shand Racing” would like to send their deepest condolences to the families and friends of the teams involved in the racing incidents.
Photo credit for action shots goes to,
Steve Babb, photography.