Racer Lloyd still planning for busy 2021

Racer Neil Lloyd is hoping to make it second-time lucky as he aims to finally make his debut at the Classic TT.

Following a year of disruptions, cancellations and mechanical problems, the Wednesbury ace already has his sights set on four road race meeting this year.

Lloyd will also be back in action with the Classic Racing Motorcycle Club, competing on the circuits up and down the country.

Racing, like all sports, remains very much up in the air with no meetings confirmed at present due to the ongoing pandemic.

The 49-year-old already knows he will not be racing at the Pre-TT Classic – a meeting held before the famous Isle of Man TT races – as the Manx Government has taken the early decision to cancel both events.

However, as it stands, a decision is yet to be made on the Classic TT, which is raced around the same 37.73-mile island circuit as the main TT fortnight, as it is held over the August Bank Holiday weekend.

The Isle of Man TT is held annually during the last week of May and first week of June.

Lloyd also has his eyes on the Southern 100, in July, which also takes place on the Isle of Man, around 4.25-mile Billown Circuit in Castletown – the same course used for the Pre-TT Classic – as well as the Cookstown 100 in Ireland, in April.

And if the Classic TT is cancelled, Lloyd will try to return to Oliver's Mount in Scarborough, England's only road races, which are held throughout the year, or even the Chimay Road Races that take place in Belgium.

"The bike is currently being rebuilt for next season and we’re still optimistic the Classic TT will go ahead in August," said Lloyd.

"But with the main TT being cancelled, that’s ruled out the Pre-TT Classic.

"However, we’ve got an entry for Cookstown and we’re planning to race as many rounds with the CRMC as possible.

"It's hard to make any definite plans at the moment but we would like to go back to Oliver’s Mount and Belgium if the Classic TT doesn’t go ahead.

"We're all hoping for a change in luck for this year and could really do with some sponsorship to help out, especially with the Classic TT."

Following the cancellation of last year's Pre-TT Classic, the Classic TT and pretty much all road racing in Ireland, Lloyd was forced to start his campaign on the circuits at the usual half-way point.

And despite feeling joy of being back racing a motorbike, his Honda began to throw up all sorts of problems.

"We started our 2020 race season half way through as all early race meetings had been cancelled due to Covid, having spent the winter training to up my fitness level in preparation for our newcomers entry in the Classic TT," he said.

"I contracted Covid myself in early April, which set me right back physically, and then received an email confirming Classic TT had been cancelled, as well as Pre-TT Classic.

"Our first race meeting took place at Mallory Park, with East Midlands Racing Association (EMRA), in the Earlystocks class.

"The Saturday went well, with the refreshed engine feeling good, then on the Sunday we suffered a broken camchain tensioner, which resulted in damaged valves.

"That was meeting over for us but we got engine repaired ready for Oliver’s Mount, for the Barry Sheen meeting, which marked my first time racing there on a classic machine."

Practice was delayed due to weather conditions, but Lloyd and rest of the riders finally got out later that same day.

However, after qualifying 12th, the bike did not feel right and during free practice on Saturday morning it broke down.

"It had spun a big end bearing," said Lloyd. "That was our weekend was over without getting a race in.

"We then joined CRMC and entered a meeting at Darley Moor, with a second-hand standard engine.

"Problems saw us miss qualifying, so I had to start at the back 35th, but after working my way through the weekend my best finish was a ninth, which we were happy with."

Lloyd's last meeting of the year was again at Darley Moor, in Derbyshire, in the Classic/Forgotten Era class where, unfortunately, his bad luck continued.

"Our van broke down on the way there and we missed Saturday's racing," he said.

"Sunday morning starting badly with a DNF in race one but then, starting at the back for race two, I got a good start to finish seventh.

"We really appreciated all the support and particularly want to thank Darley photographer Tony Else for covering the race fuel costs for the last round."

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