Kiwi Bruce Anstey and his superbikes at Goodwood
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In the paddock area at the Goodwood Festival of Speed you’ll find a Kiwi emblem on a few historic McLaren race cars.
Look some more and there’s another on the black Arai helmet of Isle of Man TT racer Bruce Anstey.
The Wellington-born winner of 10 Isle of Man TT races - including the Superbike race which opened the recent 2015 TT race week – made his second Goodwood Festival of Speed appearance at the weekend.
``I came here in 2013 and I rode the Britten,’’ said Anstey.
``I was absolutely crapping myself. I didn’t even know which way the hill went and I’m on the Britten for the very first time and I was panicking a bit. But I loved it.
Team owner Clive Padgett and Kiwi road racing star Bruce Anstey at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Photo/ Colin Smith.
"The event has a bit of everything really. There are nice bikes here and old cars and I really like the old rally cars as well.’’
The Padgett’s Motorcycles team which Anstey races for had two bikes at Goodwood – the Superbike TT winning Honda Fireblade and a 1992 Yamaha YZR500 Grand Prix machine which Anstey rode to victory at the Isle of Man Classic TT last year.
"They are both special bikes but the two-stroke (the Yamaha) is my favourite. It’s a proper race bike which is so light and so nimble. The Superbike is still a production-based bike.
"Ever since I was racing around Manfeild on my TZ250 I’d always wanted to race a 500 Grand Prix bike and I actually got to ride it around the Isle of Man as well, which is awesome.’’
It’s not just riding around on older bikes, Anstey’s 123.894mph lap on the almost 22-year-old Yamaha is the fastest ever achieved by a two stroke bike around the 38.75-mile mountain course.
Anstey’s favourite might be the lighter two-stroke racers but he’s a front runner aboard the big capacity Superbikes. He’s now had a couple of weeks to saviour his Superbike TT win this year.
"It means everything really. That’s the one I’ve been wanting for years.
"I’ve been racing there 18 years and I’ve finally done it. I really enjoyed that one.’’
With the TT wrapped up for another year Anstey’s racing schedule is half completed.
"I do four meetings. The Northwest 200 to get ready for the Isle of Man and then the Ulster GP and now we go back for the Classic TT which has become an extra one for me. Other than that I don’t do too much at all.’’
"The Classic TT (August 29-31) gets bigger and bigger every year. It’s good for us as it’s a lot more relaxed and a lot more laid back. We go out to have a bit of fun and it’s all different bikes with the old classics and bikes like this thing (the Yamaha).’’
Anstey says the TT has become more competitive in recent years.
"On the day it can be anyone from the top 10 and it’s who gets the bike set-up well, especially in the Superbikes.
"You’ve got John (McGuinness) and me the old boys and you’ve got the young guys coming through and this year Hutchy (Ian Hutchinson) came back on the scene as well which was good to see.
"I think it’s been the closest racing in a long time in the last two or three years.
It is hard to reconcile the laid back and quietly spoken Anstey as the same person who is devastatingly fast around the perhaps the most demanding race circuit in the world.
He says he never set out to win races on the Isle.
"All I wanted to do was ride around the TT and see whether I enjoyed it or not. I did and it really just built from there and it’s been pretty crazy really.
So can return in 2016 as a potential winner?
"I think so. I’ll be trying and I’m still fast enough. The older I get the faster it seems I’m getting.
"The biggest thing is I’m enjoying it. The team is really good and it’s more like a family team with Padgetts.’’
Getting home to New Zealand to see friends and family is something on Anstey’s radar.
"I haven’t been back for over 10 years. It would be nice to go back but I’ve been saying that every year and it’s never happened.’’