Joe Yeardsley says 'no other event will compare’ to Manx Grand Prix debut

Manx Grand Prix newcomer Joe Yeardsley says no other event will compare to riding on the Mountain Course.

The 26-year-old lapped the 37.75-mile (60km) course at more than 120mph during Thursday's qualifying for the Senior race, on a Yamaha R6.

But despite his speed, he said he had "not really set too high expectations" for his debut.

He said: "We just need to keep building, keep chipping away and just keep improving.

"Results aren't really an aim we're going for as long we keep improving and come away feeling like we've got something out of that, then next year we just build on that really."

As the son of ex-road racer Buddy Yeardsley, who competed in the TT races on Mountain Course in the 1980s, he said taking part had been an ambition "for as long as I can remember".

Having started road racing two years ago, the 26-year-old said he felt "very lucky" things had finally come together this year.

He said: "It took me until the age of 24 to find the right people to luckily come on board and financially back me, otherwise I wouldn't have bothered because unless you're going to do it right there's no point."

Yeardsley, who is from Laxey, said his experiences on the Mountain Course so far had taught him that "nothing can really prepare yourself for going down Bray Hill" at the start of a lap.

"I don't think that'll ever stop scaring you, I think even people that have been doing it for 30 years, if you're not scared there there's something up with you.

"It's unbelievable and no other event I do now will ever compare to this.

He said becoming a father in July had made "life complete", but had been hard as a road racer.

"I was never really sure how much it would affect me, but when he's there in your arms and is looking up at you and then you've got to go down there, it's not easy and it has been hard, I'm not going to lie," he said.

"But as road racers it's what we love and what we do, and I don't think it'll ever get any easier really but it's just part of it, and that's another thing in the back of your mind going round. "

Competing on a Paton SR1 in the Junior race, Yeardsley is part of veteran competitor Ian Lougher's team for the 2023 event.

Ian Lougher and Joe Yeardsley with a Paton
Ian Lougher (left) said the Manx Grand Prix a good introduction to racing on the course used for the TT

Lougher, who came third in his debut in the MGP newcomers race in 1983, went on to win 10 TT races after switching to the June event two years later.

The Welshman said starting out at the MGP was useful because it "introduces you in a softer environment on the same circuit".

He said: "It teaches you concentration and by doing the Manx introduces you with less pressure than going straight to the TT I think.

Reflecting on Yeardsley's performance so far, he said: "He's done fantastic so far and if he chips away and just get there nice and gentle and learn and not scare himself that's the best thing he can do."

The 60-year-old said it was "nice to pass on some of my experience" to the younger members of the team.

"It gives me satisfaction to be able to pass that knowledge on, because I know how hard it was at the beginning," he said.

"You need that sort of guidance from someone who's like myself I suppose still racing."

The 2023 MGP races are scheduled to run until Monday.