There was a real baptism of fire for motorcycle racer Ben Shuttlewood on his road race debut as he tested himself on the famous roads of the Isle of Man.
Ben headed to the island – a mecca for motorsports fans – to compete at the Southern 100.
After a few practice laps, the East Goscote rider went straight into qualifying with a lap time of 2min 48secs which only just got him onto the grid for the second race in the 1000/600 class, with around 10 riders failing to qualify.
Starting in 31st place on the grid, Ben, a former Long Field School pupil and Brooksby Melton College student, moved up a few places to finish in 25th place with a best lap time of 2.39, knocking a huge nine-second chunk off his previous best lap time.
Next up for Ben was the 600 Group C race where his original qualifying time put him in ninth place on the 20-strong grid.
An impressive ride saw him up to second for much of the race, but after some great battles he crossed the line in fourth narrowly missing out on the podium.
His lap times continued to improve as he got to know the circuit, shaving another five seconds off his previous best to 2.34.8.
Ben’s meet came to an end with the consolation race for 1000/600cc bikes which he began in 15th place.
After lap one he had negotiated his way through the field to ninth place and then fought his way to seventh.
But after lap four the bumpy roads had finally taken their toll on the bike and the electrics failed, forcing the 31-year-old to retire from the race.
“I’d like to thank everyone who made this week possible,” he said.
“To Kim and Ian for their hospitality, Jake, Martin and his dad Victor for helping with the bike and finally to Mark and Jess at Blueridge and Lee Hemmings at Hemming’s Haulage for their continuing support.”
Ben is due to race for the Gold Cup at Oliver’s Mount in September and has had a last-minute entry accepted for Abadere Park before that.
He will then return to the Isle of Man for another road race meeting.