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Job done for Cummins at TT; no luck at Knockhill

Sun, 26 Jun 2011

Conor in action at TT
Conor in action at TT

It's been a busy part of the season for Conor Cummins with two weeks ofaction at the Isle of Man TT Races immediately followed by round 5 ofthe Metzeler National 1000cc Superstock Championship and the Manxman waswell to the fore at both, his return to the TT both pleasing andpositive given the injuries sustained there 12 months ago.   His Island comeback was impressive, to say the least, and although hesuffered mechanical problems during both practice week and in three ofthe five races, his pace was certainly quick and he was almost everpresent in the top ten when he was circulating. An opening lap of126.662mph in the Superbike race was a superb effort and he was up into9th on lap 4 when the engine went sick and he was forced to retire.Monday afternoon's Supersport race saw another retirement, this time onthe final lap when in 9th once more, but he got his first finish of theweek in the 4-lap Superstock race later that day. With a succession of123mph+ laps, Conor took a fine 12th place for another silver replicaand things went better still in the second Supersport race when hefinished in an excellent 6th place, something no one would have thoughtpossible 12 months previous. His TT did finish on a low note, sadly,when he suffered his third retirement in the Senior race but it was mostdefinitely a case of 'job done' around the Mountain Circuit this year.   "My goal all along was to get to the first night of practice at the TTand by completing my first lap on the opening night, I'd achieved it andanything else was going to be a bonus - and as it turned out, I achievedfar more than I thought possible. We suffered a lot during practice weekwith mechanical problems and I was stuck out on the course a couple oftimes, which was obviously no-one's fault, just one of those things. Wewere up against it but once we got to race week, I just got on with thejob and was chuffed to bits with how I performed. If anyone had saidbeforehand that I'd finish 6th in one of the Supersport races, I'd havechuckled! I was running inside the top ten in nearly of all my races andwhilst the DNFs were disappointing, that's how the TT can be, it's toughon everything! I got faster and faster throughout the fortnight thoughand, like I say, I was really pleased with the results I did get."   At the end of the fortnight, Conor was also awarded the 2011 Spirit ofTT Award, following in the footsteps of the 2010 winner Paul Owen, inlight of his comeback from injuries and desire and commitment to returnto racing on the Mountain Circuit. Commenting on the award, and hisbattle back to fitness, Conor said: "It's meant everything to me to beback on the bike racing at the TT. I've worked really hard since theaccident and it means a lot to me to win this award, especially as it'ssponsored by Pokerstars, one of my personal sponsors. I couldn't havedone it without the help and support of all my friends and family andall of my sponsors who stood by me during my recovery."   It was then back to short circuit action for Conor as he linked up withthe Blackhorse Kawasaki team once more for round 5 of the MetzelerNational 1000cc Superstock Championship. Held at Knockhill in Scotland,the vast amount of riding Conor had done at the TT had certainly paiddividends for his short circuit aspirations and he was immediatelyrunning in the top 15. Indeed, riding smoothly in the wet conditions,Conor qualified in an excellent 11th place and was hopeful of scoringhis first points of the season in the 24-lap race. However, it all wentwrong on the first lap when he was the innocent victim of a seven manpile up that also included TT legend John McGuinness. Battered andbruised in the spill, Conor had to make a trip to the medical centre fora check up and although nothing was broken, he had to sit out there-start.   "All the mileage at the TT really helped me so when I got to Knockhill,everything clicked straightaway. Obviously the conditions made it moreof a level playing field as I'm still nowhere near fully fit but it waswithout doubt my best weekend on the short circuits so far. I feltreally good on the bike and it was nice to be running inside the top 12with the riders I'm usually running with. My luck ran out in the racethough when Jason O'Halloran crashed and his bike collected me and about5 other riders and it's fair to say I'm a bit sore from the crash as Igot caught up with the bike and hit the deck fairly hard. The medics atthe circuit looked after me really well and nothing's broken so I'lljust rest up now before the next round. It was a very positive weekendthough in terms of how I was performing so there's a lot to beencouraged by and I can now just press on at the next round and look toget the result I feel I'm now capable of."  

The next round of the Superstock series is on July 1-3 at Snetterton,Norfolk.

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