May 20, 2015

North West 200 2015

It was not quite the happy return to road racing that Martin Jessopp had hoped for last week at the North West 200 after finishing with sixth and seventh place finishes.

My performance was quite far below what we expected. It wasn't the week we were looking for," Jessopp admitted.

"We had some good spells there in previous years so I was going there looking for my first podium, but in the first race of the week for me [Supertwin] the clutch failed on the line and the bike moved forward. For some reason at the North West 200 you get a 60-second penalty which was really harsh.

"I struggled with the bike all race but still managed to bring it home in third place, but because of the penalty I finished in seventh, so the bike robbed me of my first podium."

The first Superstock race was red-flagged several times before being cancelled altogether as the weather played its part and then it was the first Superbike race.

"We made a cock-up with the gear box and I couldn't even finish. We made some changes for the last Superbike race but then that ended up getting cancelled," he continued.

It was four races and just one seventh so far for Jessopp and it did not get much better in the second Supertwin.

"I was sat on the line about to pull away and the clutch failed again," he said. "The same three guys went to finish in the top three and in my mind that would have meant another finish on the podium for me."

Jessopp did go on to finish sixth in the second Superstock race, but the whole event was overshadowed when a crash involving three bikes left rider Stephen Thompson and a spectator in a critical condition.

"It's never good but unfortunately it does happen in the road races," the Yeovil rider said. "I didn't see it because Dean Harrison, who crashed, was one position behind me. I spoke to Horst Saiger's [who was also involved] team and he's got a few broken bones in his arm, so in relative terms of crashing on the road he's fine.

"But a good friend of mine Stephen Thompson is in hospital and is critical but stable, so it's good that it no longer seems life threatening.

"Of course I'm thinking of the spectator who is seriously injured, so my thoughts are with the two of them currently."

There is now a little over a week until Jessopp is in action on the roads again with the Isle of Man TT getting underway on May 30.

"The next stop is the Isle of Man TT and the biggest race of them all so there's a lot of positives to take and for myself I feel like I'm riding at the top of my game," Jessopp concluded.

"If we can sort out these mechanical issues then going ahead to the TT it's looking really good. I finished 11th last year in my first ever TT so I'm looking to build on that and do even better this year."

Thanks to the Western Gazette for use of this story.