Neil Lloyd weathers the storm to bag a PB

Neil Lloyd battled through wet weather to secure two top 20 finishes while also knocking 10 seconds off his personal best lap times while racing on the Isle of Man.

Lloyd was in action on the Isle of Man, racing in the Pre-TT Classic around the Billown circuit.     Pic: ottpix@btinternet.com
Lloyd was in action on the Isle of Man, racing in the Pre-TT Classic around the Billown circuit. Pic: ottpix@btinternet.com

The Wednesbury ace and the rest of the riders were plagued with poor conditions during the Pre-TT Classic, which is held the weekend before the main Isle of Man TT races.

But undeterred he managed race his classic machine around the Billown circuit, which he will also use for the Southern 100 races held in July, and came away from the island feeling ‘really happy’.

Lloyd, aged 49, said: “We headed out to the Isle of Man during the early hours of the Thursday.

“The first qualifying and practice sessions started on Friday evening.

“We had entered two different classes, the 450 to 850cc class and the 500cc Senior race, knowing there was no support race, so not qualifying wasn’t an option.”

Lloyd said after taking the 1972 Honda CB500/4 out on the Friday evening, it had felt good and he was soon on the pace around the 4.25-mile road circuit. “With open pipes, it was pretty loud too,” he said.

“I had two good sessions in the dry and finished the evening feeling confident.”

Saturday’s practice and qualifying were held in the afternoon, and with conditions turning cold and wet, Lloyd decided to air on the side of caution due to his lack of experience with the classic tyres.

“In the wet, I held back a bit but with 40 entrants in each class, and with the fastest 30 in each class going on to race, we managed to qualify 26th in both classes,” he said.

“I was really happy with that as we didn’t qualify in either class last year but raced in the support race.” Race day was held on the Monday, with the 850cc class out first.

Conditions were dry and Lloyd, after getting a decent start, enjoyed some good, close racing, crossing in the line an excellent 16th place.

“Again, we were all really happy with that result,” he said.

“I took 10 seconds off my best previous lap times.”

Once again, the weather took a turn for the worse for the Senior race in the afternoon.

After a few light showers, Lloyd was soon away off the line and got a decent start. But half way through the race it started raining, which meant he had to drastically change his approach to the road race, which sees riders racing at high speeds on normal, public roads surrounded by street furniture.

“I’m usually really confident in the rain and had some of my best results in such conditions,” said Lloyd.

“But as I was not sure about my grip levels I backed off a bit, finishing 18th, but was still really happy with the results.

“For our first Senior road race, we had a lot of advice regarding our bike on improving its performance, so hopefully we’ll get some more power before we race again.

“I would like to say a big thanks to my wife, Sam, and big thanks to friends and sponsors who continue to support me.”

Lloyd now turns his attention to the Southern 100, which is also race on Billown road circuit and runs July 8 to 11.

He will be riding a Kawasaki ZX6R in the supersport class.

Lloyd will then turn his attention back to the classic bike when he heads out to Belgium for the Chimay Road Races, which takes place July 26 to 28.

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