An hour with Conor Cummins: Manx on Manx

Manxman Conor Cummins

BW: So how did the ride come about?
CC:
Paul Phillips – the TT and motorsport development manager – made it happen. He knew how keen I was to race a classic bike and when Tony Dunnell asked him whether he knew of anyone who would be right for racing his bikes, he put my name forward. A little while later I got a phone call from Tony and we sorted the gig out. It’s been something of a dream really.

BW: So what are going to be riding?
CC: Tony’s kitted me out with four amazingly stunning bikes. I’ve got two 350cc and two 500cc Manx Nortons. They look amazing and they sound even better.

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Tony’s done an amazing job of customising the bikes to suit me. The frames have been made over an inch bigger to try and accommodate my lanky frame. And he’s also adjusted the bikes so that they’ve got left foot gear changes. I don’t doubt I could have learnt to change with my right foot, but it’s one less thing to worry about.

'Tony’s done an amazing job of customising the bikes to suit me.The frames have been made over an inch bigger to try and accommodate my lanky frame. . And he’s also adjusted the bikes so that they’ve got left foot gear changes.'

BW: Do you think you'll be competitive?
CC: I haven’t ridden the bikes yet, so it wouldn’t be right to say. All I know is that if the bikes ride as well as they look, they’re going to be more than good enough for the job. But there’s no real pressure. I’d love to win, but I realise the competition will be pretty stiff.

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Practically the whole of the TT’s top 10 riders are lined up to race at the Classic TT, which means there’s going to be some scrapping. If I were to have one important skill on my side, it would be my high corner speed. My size means I can lever bikes around a lot easier than most, so I can carry that momentum easier into a corner.That’s going to be crucial on less powerful bikes like the classic machines. On a TT bike, having 200bhp means you can get away with a lot more.

BW: What kind of pace are you expecting to run at?
CC: People are saying that 110mph laps are doable. I reckon that’s pretty fast on a classic machine. I’m not going to pressure myself into a certain pace. I work better when I’m enjoying myself. The times will come. Whoever I’m racing with will pull me on to the times for this year. It’s hard to predict very much on the Island. It’s too full of surprises.

BW: When will get your first run out on the bikes?
CC: I’m not entirely sure. I’m sure we’ll find time to get out before the Classic TT, but my schedule’s pretty rammed right now. It’ll probably be after we’ve got the TT over with.

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That’s the focus right now. But worst case, we’ll just turn up and ride.That’s what practice is there for. bike

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