Over the course of the Isle of Man TT fortnight, MoreBikes.co.uk will follow the progress of Olie Linsdell; a privateer racer from Bedford who builds and prepares his race bikes in his father’s shed. Olie has extensively raced modern and classic machinery on short circuits and real road races since the age of 15, cumulating in the clinching the Classic TT 500cc win on a Paton last year.
At the 2014 TT, Olie is concentrating on the ‘small’ bikes with entries in the Supersport and Lightweight classes and is the first year he hasn’t brought a 1000cc machine for either the Superstock or Superbike races. For Supersport, he’ll race his trusted R6 with the aim of improving on a brace of 16th place finishes and to better his 122mph lap. For the lightweight, he’ll use the unknown Paton S1. It looks like a classic bike with its twin shocks and retro styling, but is brimmed with high-level components and a tuned ER-6 engine. Unknown in a sense that the first time Olie will ride it is down Bray Hill very soon…
Hello. My name’s Oliver (Olie) Linsdell…
“I’m 26 years old, I’m an engineer by trade and my Dad, Steve Linsdell, is recognised as a TT and Manx GP expert and still races. He and Carole, my Mum, run Flitwick Motorcycles, so I guess you could say that bike racing is in my blood.
“I’ve raced since I was 15 and have amassed a wealth of experience on a wide range of bikes and some of the most challenging tracks in the world. I still race short circuits on both modern and classic machinery, but Road Racing is my biggest passion and last year I won the Classic TT 500cc race.
“2014 is my sixth TT as a competitor. I started in 2008 but missed 2011 after a big crash in the Manx GP in 2010 that wasn’t my fault! But I’ve been to the island every year of my life – so that’s 26 times just for the TT, not counting the Manx or Classic TT as it is called now.”
“The TT is like a drug and I think 98% of people who get involved with this event stay involved in some description as simply nothing else compares to it.”
“I guess I was always going to ride this event. A lot of riders say once they’ve done road racing and the TT, they wonder why they’ve been mucking about on short circuits. In terms of the adrenalin rush and the challenge, nothing compares. But for me, the camaraderie adds a lot to the event. It really is a big friendly group.
“So, why am I not riding 1000cc bikes this year? I just don’t enjoy it. They end up taking me for a ride! 75% of the time on a Superbike I don’t feel in control. Maybe I just haven’t had enough time on them here, but running so many classes dilutes my opportunities on the smaller bikes, and then bad habits from the big bikes take over that affects my performance. Add to that the fact that you lose a lot of practice time… For me, it is very stressful on a superbike as I can never find a set-up on them, and that makes me grumpy!
“So, to make the TT more enjoyable, I’m concentrating on two classes as I’ve been stuck in a rut with 600s. It was a big decision to make, because your heart wants to do it, but I want my confidence back and that has been low since my accident in 2010. I hate stagnating. Every area of my life I strive to improve, but it seems weird not packing up the truck with at least one 1000cc bike.
“The 2014 goals? Well. I keep finishing 16th in Supersport, so want to be closer to top 10 and up my 122mph lap.
“In the Lightweight, the Paton project is really exciting as potential for bike is huge. I go well on ‘slow’ bikes and they don’t catch you by surprise. I’ve got high hopes for the S1, but I haven’t ridden the bike yet. It’s not a big problem as I’ve been in that situation a few times at the TT!
“So it’s 1am on Thursday (May 22) and yesterday was the usual madness; finishing the bikes to a transportable state and chucking a whole shed full of tools, parts, equipment, spares, riding kit and pretty much everything you can think of into the lorry!
“This 1am finish always seems to happen. There are So many variables to racing at the Isle of Man compared to TT, there is a need for everything. Our experience has been if you don’t bring it, you will definitely need it. So, we’ll be up at 6am to be on the road for 7.30am!”
Follow Olie exclusively on MoreBikes.co.uk as he tackles the infamous Isle of Man race.
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