Baz’s confidence was rising. In the past 2 years, racing the TT course in the Manx GP on the 37 and three quarter mile circuit of the Isle of Man, he finished 2nd and 4th. Proving he had the quality to perform at a higher level, Baz achieved his dream of entering the actual TT races for the first time this June as an amateur against some of the most experienced professional, factory sponsored riders. He says: “Thanks to Moto-Design of Craven Arms, the bikes are always spot on and, with the use of a Vauxhall Movano from Greenhous, I could concentrate all my efforts on a good result at the TT. The bikes look great and their performance was excellent over the two weeks.”
Richard Potts, Greenhous Vauxhall Director, is Baz’s boss and he relates how he met up with Baz at a road race last year: “At the North West 200, sponsored by Vauxhall, I met Baz who was spectating, but was keen to ride in the Manx GP later that summer. Baz’s remarkable result finishing 4th in the Supertwins Manx GP, averaging 111mph almost guaranteed him a place in the 2016 TT and this is when he approached me about sponsorship. With Vauxhall Commercial Vehicles being one of the 2016 TT Race sponsors it made sense for Greenhous and Vauxhall to jointly sponsor Baz, who is a Gold Qualified Vauxhall Master technician. We provided him with a Vauxhall Movano L2H2 FWD 125ps panel van to transport his bikes and equipment for the race in June. We are delighted to support Baz and are so proud of his efforts in his first TT races.”
For 2016, Baz joined the Moto-design team, run by Jon Richards in Craven Arms, south Shropshire. Moto-design is a racing team who have enabled Baz to have access to better bikes, maintenance equipment and technical support at the TT.
“Moto-design is owned and run by myself”, says Jon. “We are a motorbike service centre/workshop looking after road bikes and off road bikes. In conjunction with the workshop we are also involved in the racing and provide help and assistance to racers from all over the world.”
Baz revealed: “In 2014 I raced the TT circuit for the first time at the Manx Grand Prix and finished 2nd in the newcomer’s race with an average speed of 108mph. This was a fantastic result for me especially because I was using a low powered standard engine. The step up to the TT races was an exciting new challenge for me, with support from Vauxhall and Greenhous I could compete at the Isle of Man TT in the Monster Energy Supersport and the Lightweight races.
“Unlike many competitors who have a place in a sponsored team on factory machines, I am an independent entrant. This makes it difficult to compete with the top riders, but I managed to improve my lap times every day in practice, and this set me up for a real challenge in the races. In two weeks of practice and qualifying we covered over 1100 miles.”
On race day Baz secured an impressive 13th position in the Lightweight TT with a fastest lap average of 113.4 mph in the four lap race and was the top Suzuki rider. However, it was the Monster Energy Supersport races that proved to be the pinnacle of Baz’s fortnight on the island. An opportunity to pit himself against the ‘greats’ such as Ian Hutchinson, Michael Dunlop, Bruce Anstey and John McGuiness fulfilled a dream for Baz.
Baz performed superbly in both races achieving very respectable 30th and 38th places and achieving, for each of his three races, a bronze replica trophy for the display cabinet at home. His best lap average speed was 117.5 mph.
A justifiably proud Richard Potts says: “His racing was amazing in his first TT outings and he has a great future ahead of him. All of us at Greenhous Vauxhall are proud that one of our own has performed on the world renowned TT stage. Personally, I am pleased that it all went without incident and we could welcome Baz back to work! Who knows where his exploits will lead him?”
The final words go to Baz who reflected on his experience saying: “We had a great fortnight and started and completed every lap of practice and racing available which is a testament to the quality of the bikes and the brilliant support from Moto-Design. I have a guaranteed place for next year’s TT and we will look at a more competitive bike and set up. I am absolutely chuffed to bits with the whole experience, the bike reliability was excellent with me only having to stop once to ask a steward to borrow a spanner to tighten a small bolt!”
Picture courtesy of Martyns Fotos.