International flavour for second newcomers weekend

Michael Evans at the Gooseneck - Photograph Richard Radcliffe
A second group of aspiring newcomers was blessed with sunny weather on a recent visit to the island.

The riders once again completed laps of the course under the guidance of experienced riders as well as getting tips on machine preparation from the event's chief scrutineer.

Taking the accolade for travelling the furthest was Columbian Daniel Fernandez who had stepped off the boat at 6am the previous morning after two days' travelling.

'I think the Isle of Man is the place that everyone wants to race,' he said.

'And I'm hoping to make history by being the first Latin-American rider to take part in the Manx Grand Prix.'

The 42-year-old, who owns a motorcycle accessories business, was in the island last year helping VRS team owner Robbie Silvester.

'I'd like to do the Manx Grand Prix for a couple of years then perhaps have a go at the TT.' he said.

He's hoping to ride a Kawasaki 650 in the Lightweight race and a Honda CBR600 in the Junior.

'I'm certainly committed to it,' he said.

'The cost of getting here this weekend alone was around £1,000.'

If indeed he does become the first Latin-American rider at the event, a Columbian television crew is set to make a documentary and record it all for posterity.

By way of contrast, perhaps the shortest travelled rider there was local competitor, 26-year-old James Smith, from Glen Vine.

He was inspired to take part after helping out Ryan Farquhar at the TT.

'I've been road racing for two years now and have raced at the Southern 100 and at Scarborough,' said James, who hopes to ride a Kawasaki ER650 in the Lightweight race.

Ray Maloney, from Aberdeen didn't start racing until two years ago, when he was 42.

'I'd always wanted to race but never thought I could do it,' he said. 

Then I thought maybe I ought to make it happen before I'm too old.'

The Newcomers' weekends are sponsored by the Mike Hailwood Foundation and it is now a requirement of the sport's governing body, the ACU, that all Newcomers attend.

Entries close for the Manx Grand Prix on 9th April. The event starts with practice week on 18th August.
 

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