by Phil Wain

Monday evening sees the first full practice session take place for the 2012 Isle of Man TT Races, with the legendary Mountain Course again playing host to the finest road racers on the planet. Held on the formidable 37.73-mile course that passes through the towns of Douglas, Kirk Michael and Ramsey, as well as navigating its way over Snaefell Mountain, it's not for nothing that the TT is revered as the greatest road race in the world.

Tyco Suzuki riders Guy Martin and Conor Cummins will again come into the event as pre-race favourites. As well as having their own hopes and expectations, there's also pressure. Martin has the unenviable tag of being the rider to have recorded the most podiums without taking a win (practically the whole Island will be willing him on) whilst local hero Cummins carries the weight of the Manx population with only three riders from the small Island having previously won solo races.

Martin remains with Tyco Suzuki, run by the father and son combination of Hector and Philip Neill for a second year. “My view is that if it's not broke, then don't fix it so that's why I've stayed with the team. Hector's great craic and Philip knows how to get the best out of me. The Superbike has always been my favourite class so that's where I expect my best chances to come. The chassis and engine braking system on the Suzuki are superb and that makes the bike so much more controllable. The feeling I get entering the corners on the Suzuki is the best I've ever had.

My lap times are very similar to anyone else's and I've just got to be a bit more consistent and keep my attention. There's no doubt in my mind that I can win one and I always go out and give my all so there are never any regrets and no ifs, buts or maybes. Obviously, I'm going there to win but what will be, will be and the main point at this year's TT is to really enjoy myself as well.

Cummins, meanwhile, was a man on the comeback trail last year as he made his return to racing after a horrifying crash at the Verandah during the 2010 Senior TT. The year was all about getting back in the saddle, back up to speed and back to full fitness, something which he duly did. The laidback 26-year old won't be getting carried away but 2012 is all about success with his whole year geared towards the TT.

“I've put the groundwork in and worked really hard, so riding for the Tyco Suzuki team is a superb opportunity. 2011 was very much a rebuilding year for me but, now that I'm fully fit, I intend to make the most of the opportunity I have. People talk about pressure, being from the Isle of Man and all that, but the only pressure is what I put on myself.

I'm not going to say I'm going to do this and I'm going to do that but I'm with a great team with some great bikes so everything's in place to have a real good go. I'll be giving it my best each and every time I take to the track and that will be 100% effort and commitment. Time will tell what results I'll achieve but I'm hopeful of a good fortnight.

We use our own and third party cookies to help us improve your purchasing experience by analysing how our website is used. By continuing to browse the website, you accept our use of cookies. For further information, please read our Cookies Policy