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Northamptonshire racer, Maria Costello MBE scored another Bronze TT Replica finish when she took a highly creditable 18th place in the Bennetts Lightweight TT, despite some adversity.

Maria arrived on the Isle of Man with the aim of improving on last year’s career best of 12th position. Her NGK Spark Plugs backed Kawasaki ER6 Supertwin had undergone many improvements over the winter and, complete with new rubber from Metzeler tyres, was ready for a full week of practice ahead of the Lightweight TT race.

Bad weather played havoc with the practice schedule and all competitors lost the majority of their initial sessions. The organisers battled against the weather to provide other options, including a long session for the Lightweight class. Two incidents, one non-racing related, hampered the session but Maria was close to her personal best on her third lap and knew she could make final adjustments in the final week’s remaining practice laps. Weather caused her final practice to be cancelled and Costello was forced to make a gamble on set-up.

A therefore apprehensive Costello would start the race as the 23rd bike on the road in a line up of 39 entrants in the Lightweight class.

Even before reaching Bray Hill, Maria encountered a failing quickshifter this continued to repeatedly cut the ignition until it stopped working completely. Despite this she had made a great start and was up to 12th place as she reached the first checkpoint at Glen Helen on lap 1.

Maria had a massive moment and was almost off the bike at White Gates on lap two, she had to change her riding style to compenstate for the handling issues but even with having to slow down to stop at the pits for fuel at the end of lap two, Maria would still record her fastest lap of the race, averaging 112.200mph. A brilliant pit stop by her team of fuel man Liam Beckett, Kev Corbally & Jon McClean meant Maria was now back up to 15th place by Glen Helen on lap 3.

With a full tank of fuel Maria was again battling with her own motorcycle in addition to the racers around her and entered the last lap of the race just holding onto 15th position by a fraction from two fast closing riders, but as the problems worsened, Maria dropped to 18th in the standings with the final lap of 110.798mph telling its own story.

Costello was pragmatic as she reflected on the result: 

“I’m so happy with 18th after that race, it felt like one of the hardest of my career around here. Another practice lap would have revealed those problems I faced but the organisers were against it with the bad weather, so I had to make a gamble on set-up, it’s been a tricky TT for everyone. For sure it would have been easier to park the bike, but as it’s my only race of the week, I was never going to do that, but that beer in the beer tent never tasted so good.

I really need to thank everyone who made this year’s TT possible for me. I can’t thank my team of Kev, Jon & Liam enough, huge thanks to my sponsors and supporters and special thanks to: Cath at Rex Physio, Mark, Simon, Tony, Dale & Phil at JG Speedfit Bournemouth, Grant & Team TTC, Ktech, Gary, Ben, Adam & Sarah.

I also need to thank the marshals, medics and race organisers who make this event happen.”

“More importantly my thoughts go out to the friends and families of Davey Lambert, Jochem van den Hoek and Alan Bonner who all lost their lives.”

Maria will make the move back to three wheels for her next race as she teams up once more with her JG Speedfit team mate Kirsty Hauxwell for the next round of the Hyundai Heavy Industries British Sidecar Championship, at Knockhill - June 17-18.

Follow her progress via her website at on Twitter @MariaCostello and Facebook MariaCostelloRacing 

2017 Sponsors: NGK Spark Plugs, AEJ Facilities Management by Design, Bike Shed, Rock Oil, Kawasaki UK LTD, Jap4Performance, Hel Performance, Arai, Knox, Mac Tools, Nova Racing, CPL Print Ltd, Premier Bodyworks, Radicool, EBC Brakes, Towergate Insurance, Gear Leathers, Hello Market, Signs2WrapsIsle of Man TT Breaks, GBRacing, Racing Batteries, Racebikebitz, Samco hoses, Pipercross, Progrips, Pro-Bolt, Promach, APC Wet Paint Ltd, Christian Baker, DnG, Trilogy Gyms, Snoozebox, Wollaston Therapy Centre, Paul Garner Designs, Sparkes Management Support, Translogic UK, Wiz knee sliders, Stomp Grip,SKINS, SPORTTAPE

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13-06-2017, 12:10 PM
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