Magic Matt Targets TT Success

3 years ago

We caught up with Senior Race winner Matt Stevenson as he prepares for his maiden TT tenure following a victorious MGP campaign in 2018...

Stevenson's second Manx Grand Prix experience was certainly one to remember for more reasons than one as the Ripon man had his first taste of the fickle and unforgivable nature of the Mountain Course. Crashing out of the lead at the Creg ny Baa in Wednesday's Junior race, followed by a 10-second penalty in pit lane while leading Friday's Senior sought to elude the Yorkshireman's first top step finish. Stevenson's unforgettable last lap in the Senior, however, overturned a 7 second deficit from teammate and best pal Steven Parsons as the effervescent Yorkshireman picked up his first victory on the Isle of Man - a victory tipped to be the first of many as he makes the step-up to the fabled Isle of Man TT at the end of May.

Stevenson tips into the right-hander of Guthries during the Senior. Stevenson was promoted from start number 29 to number 6 after setting the fastest time in practice. PC:Steve Babb

Manx Grand Prix's Sam Bowers caught up with Matt to discuss his haircut, Mountain Course victory, new Yamaha-R6 and post-race celebrations.

SB: First things first, and possibly the most important question of all, what is the deal with the mullet? And will it make an appearance at this year’s TT?

Matt receives his replica from our 2018 Guest of Honour - Frank Whiteway. PC:FalconerFotos

MS: "Haha! The mullet was a drunken dare in Quids Inn on the promenade in Douglas... My Dad's good mate who was with us that night has had a mullet since he was about 21, and well, one thing lead to another and here we are now! And yes, it will be stuck to my head for the TT and foreseeable future."

SB: In no more than 3 words, how would you describe last year’s victorious Manx Grand Prix campaign?

Stevenson writes his name into the history books, taking the Senior win in the 95th running of the MGP. PC:Dave Kneen

MS: "Totally unexpected"

SB: What was going through your mind after picking up a 10 second penalty in last year’s Senior MGP while leading the race?

MS: "Luckily, I didn't know - otherwise I would have ended up in the bales like I did at the Creg in the Junior race after being told I was P1 with a lead of 17 seconds! My head was cooked. I'm not good with information like that - it puts me out of my rhythm and bad things happen haha!"

Oops - Stevenson throws away his 17 second lead at the Creg

SB: Try and describe the feeling turning right at the end of return lane into the winner’s enclosure and being directed into that number one spot.

Is there anything Matt can't do? No-handed burnout here... PC:Ean Proctor

MS: "Well, I kind of expected it really having been the fastest all week, but it was still the best feeling I've ever had. To then find out my best mate 'Trev' (Steven Parsons) was in second, well, it couldn't have been better really. I had dreams about it for weeks after, being on that top step on that amazing Island. It was actually the first time I ever thought, 'hmm, maybe I can ride a bike!'"

SB: Possibly the second most important question of all; how did you celebrate your Senior MGP victory?

MS: "I didn't drink too much as I wanted to remember the whole night for once! The victory was so important to me so I wanted to cherish the memory."

SB: How has your preparation been going leading up towards your first TT?

Matt described how this year he got his elbow down for the first time, apart from his spill at the Creg...

MS: "Not great. I only got my new R6 three weeks ago, and I haven't even seen the Superbike yet, so it couldn't be going much worse to be honest! Still lots to do before TT comes around."

SB: How happy are you to be back with the People’s Bike team this year?

Laying the little R6 on its ear as he rounds the Bungalow. Incredible lean angle. PC:Tracey's Pics

MS: "They are a tip-top team. There's no pressure on me whatsoever, they just want me to enjoy myself and bring it home safely. Awesome team!"

SB: I see on your Instagram profile that you have been running in your brand-new Yamaha R6 which you will be riding in both Supersport races this year. How does this 600 differ from the trusty steed that took you to your maiden MGP win?

MS: "The new bike is not a lot different to be fair, I just fancied a new one! My brother has now started racing, so he has got the old bike. It's actually worked out quite well."

SB: Which class do you think will bring you the best chance of success this year, Supersport or Superbike?

MS: "I'd say the Supersport as it's what I am most familiar with and I know how well I can go on it. There's still plenty left in the tank though. But, you never know, I might just click with the Superbike even though I've not put my leg over one in two years!"

SB: What are your ambitions for TT 2019?

PC:Ryan Crawley

MS: "I just want to finish better than my start number, which might take some doing on the big bike as I have been given number 37! Wish me luck!"