Maria Costello MBE has continued her run of success with an impressive fourth place in the prestigious Classic Senior TT at the Bennetts Isle of Man Classic TT.
She came close to taking another Classic TT podium on the back of two podium finishes in the Cup 600 class of the British Sidecar Championship at Thruxton, and a top-10 finish in the Supertwin class at the Ulster Grand Prix.
Qualifying was blighted by poor weather initially with Maria completing only 5 timed laps with a best of 105.29mph. Hoping to improve on that during Thursday’s session she encountered a mechanical problem that caused her to crash exiting Braddan Bridge.
The privately owned Beugger Racing Paton, a fine replica of the 1968 original and the bike on which she scored an impressive podium finish in the 2016 event, was damaged in the incident.
“Thankfully the off was only small, my RST leathers, Knox gloves and Arai helmet took the impact and I received only bruising. For sure I would have liked another lap before the race but that went out the window when we set off in Friday’s final session and some other problems were revealed. That night Peter and the team changed the engine. I can’t thank them enough for all their hard work.“
Race-day brought better weather. Costello launched the number-7 Paton off the line, setting off down Glencrutchery Road for four gruelling laps around the 37.73-mile mountain circuit. The standing-start lap of 108.204mph saw Maria cross the line in an impressive 3rd position, just 1.5 seconds shy of Jamie Coward’s Manx Norton in a field of 62 starters. Lap 2 was reeled off in a similarly impressive 108.511mph by Maria and she pitted for her sole fuel stop still in 3rd place, holding off William Dunlop by three quarters of a second.
Maria yielded 3rd place to Dunlop when she re-joined, the Ulsterman aboard his classic Honda waiting until the end of lap 3 for a splash and dash. Despite a sterling final lap of 108.093mph by Costello, Dunlop’s shorter stop obliged her to settle for 4th, with Dunlop just 7.5 seconds ahead – a slender margin by TT standards. Josh Brookes took his maiden Isle of Man victory on the Team Winfield Paton.
“I’m so happy, of course I would have liked another podium but we've competed at the sharp end against incredible names in the sport and we were in contention, I’m more than delighted to finish fourth in that company.”
“My final highlight was the chance to take my JG Speedfit/ Cool Milk LCR sidecar around the mountain circuit. What a privilege. It’s something else on three wheels. I loved it. Now I have a tiny insight in to what they endure I think they deserve more recognition. Special thanks go to my mechanic Matt and to passenger Lee Cain for all his advice and feedback.
“Most importantly I need to thank the Beugger Racing team: Peter and Barbara, Richard Bairstow and Marc Blumer for all their hard work and for yet again providing me with a competitive machine. Not forgetting the marshals, medics, race organisers and fans who all make this meeting so special.”
Maria will return to racing on three wheels when she reunites with passenger Kirsty Hauxwell for the next round of the British Sidecar Championship at Assen in Holland from 29th Sept to 1st October.
To follow Maria’s progress, including details of upcoming events, please visit her website: http://www.costelloracing.com
2017 Sponsors: NGK Spark Plugs, Bike Shed, Rock Oil, Kawasaki UK LTD, Jap4Performance, Hel Performance, Arai, Knox, Mac Tools, Avon Tyres, Nova Racing, CPL Print Ltd, Premier Bodyworks, Radicool, EBC Brakes, Towergate Insurance, RST, Hello Market, Signs2Wraps, 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 Systems Ltd, Wiz knee sliders, Stomp Grip, SKINS, SPORTTAPE.