PAUL ‘Potchy’ Williams has his fingers crossed that an entry to the Isle of Man TT will allow him to mount a full big bike campaign this year.
The Welshman has spent the last three seasons honing his Mountain Course skills at the Manx Grand Prix, bagging a seventh-place finish in this past year’s Lightweight MGP and taking home a top-20 finish on his Triumph 675 in the Senior MGP with a fastest lap of 117mph.
Despite a number of wins in the NG Road Racing and Tonfanau Supertwin ranks, as well as a few narrow misses of the podium at Aberdare Park and a top 10 finish at the Sunflower Trophy Races, Williams admits he’s always been a big bike rider.
And with no place for them at the Manx, there’s only one place for him to go if he wants to tackle the 37.73-mile course on a big bike.
“I hope I get an entry to the TT so I can do it on a 1000 and get back on the big bikes, but I won’t know until the end of February whether I’ve been accepted,” he told UK Clubsport. “I’ve ridden 1000s all my life, I’ve only been racing a few years but I started on a 1000 with North Gloucester.
“This year I went out to Tandragee and got a first in the B race on a 1000… I just think I do better on a 1000. I had to take a backwards step to ride the smaller bikes, and I didn’t really want to do it but I wanted to do the Manx.
“So I decided I’ll get up to speed on a 600 – I sold the 1000 and I’ve ridden a 600 all year. I’m happy where I was last year, but I want to get on a 1000 and do a 120mph lap at the TT – I know I will. I’m a steady away rider you know, I haven’t had any moments or anything like that, I’ve just tried to learn and then push on.”
But regardless of whether his name goes through or not, ‘Potchy’ now has a BMW S1000RR in his arsenal for 2018 and is poised to mount another assault on the Irish road scene.
“Either way, I’ll still use the big bike in Ireland – Tandragee, Cookstown, the North West, the Ulster Grand Prix – I’ll use it all year where as last year I couldn’t because of the Manx.
“And if I don’t get accepted, I’ll just go back to the Manx – there’s less practice but there’s so much support. What John Batty does for the event is unbelievable.
“He puts you up in his house for free, picks you up from the airport, drops you back off, takes you around the course in his car, goes well out of his way and does not ask for a penny. He doesn’t get nearly the recognition he deserves, not just for the help he gave me but for all the newcomers at the Manx.
“The main focus this year will be the TT and also the roads in Ireland. I want to do the North West 200 and the Ulster as well, and I’ll definitely be back racing with NG as long as I can squeeze them in.”
*Main and bottom image: Alan Lygo
*Top side image: Steve Snelling