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Competitor Profile: Robert J Bardwell

MGP Career Summary

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* Started Schoolboy Moto-X aged 10. * Six year fairly successful (consistent top 3 finisher) schoolboy club career. * At age 16, started riding on the streets. * Was mechanic for Martin Crooks for 3 years, including at Manx. * Took up roadracing aged 22. * Fairly successful at club level (Aintree & Formula 5 meetings) with many top 3 placings. * First Manx 1987, tried very hard, couldn't go quicker however hard I tried. Decided that the roads were not for me, went out on Thursday afternoon for a relaxed ride around. Went two minutes quicker. It suddenly dawned on me the way to go fast, is smooth and to carry corner speed! (I had read all the books that told me so but it didn't sink in) * Steadily went faster and faster, loved the challenge of the circuit, went out in every session I could rain or shine. * Ran exclusively on Crooks Suzuki's (except 1995 Yamaha in Junior). * Moved up to Senior in 1989 on GSXR750, usually top Suzuki finisher in Senior for next 5 years. Every RC30 beaten was a feather in the cap! * 1990 hit rock face at Ballig on first lap, finished 22nd and gained Silver Replica. Post race went to hospital and discovered I'd broken a shoulder. (Ain't adrenaline a wonderful thing!) * 1995 tried the Junior as well as the Senior, as the new GSXR750 had not appeared, on a stock Yamaha FZR600R. Amazingly the 600 was like an armchair to ride after the GSXR and I immediately went quicker on the 600. In practice I was over a minute quicker than anyone in the rain. In the race, I ran out of fuel coming into pits and pushed the last 100 yards. Was laying 3rd circulating with Ricky Mitchell when it highsided at Greeba Castle. A trip in the helicopter and a six hour operation later I had nearly lost my left leg. Decided to retire. * 1995 pain had gone away and re-visited the Manx. In Junior practice on a GSXR600WV, it ceased on the exit of Glen Vine knocking me out and breaking my wrist, bike written off after it caught fire. RETIRED * Do some teaching at track days these days just to keep my hand in. Rob Bardwell

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