HAVIER BELTRAN - A MANAGER'S PERSPECTIVE
Race Team Manager for Honda UK, Havier Beltran joins Chris Pritchard and Steve Plater for episode 9 of The TT Podcast, the first episode featuring someone who doesn’t compete on the bike, but whose work behind the scenes can mean the difference between elation and disappointment on the road.
Havier may be coming to the podcast from a different perspective, but his passion for the TT is still clear: “That experience is so hard to explain to people, unless you’ve been in there all those hours and weeks of preparation, and that’s the buzz that I get from it”.
Honda UK has two riders competing at this year's TT. John McGuinness MBE having made his TT debut in 1996, will this year be making his 100th race start. Meanwhile, Glenn Irwin who’s had podiums at short-circuit meetings as well as wins at the North West 200 will race his first ever TT this year for the Team. Havier’s unique perspective means he is able to compare how an established member of the TT elite and a newcomer to The Mountain cope with the pressure of this physically and mentally demanding event. It’s also Havier’s first TT as Race Team Manager.
Taking you behind the scenes, Havier tells Chris and Steve what’s required of him as manager; looking after the whole team, dealing with egos and communicating with colleagues around the world. Although Havier and co will be based on the ground in the Isle of Man, they’ll continually be in contact with teams in Japan who keep abreast of rider and machine data.
Havier’s journey to Race Team Manager started in the early 80s racing motocross bikes, whilst moonlighting as a butcher. After an injury, he became a mechanic at Honda in 1989 and made his first trip to the Isle of Man TT in 1990. He tells Chris and Steve proudly about his later involvement with the development of the Mugen Shinden TT Zero bike: “It was absolutely mindblowing … it was cutting edge what they were doing then”. Havier also runs down the structural differences between Honda Motor Europe, which the likes of John McGuinness and Guy Martin used to ride for, and Honda UK which now sends teams to the TT.
During the TT Podcast, Havier confirms that Honda is planning a celebration of the Fireblade for this year's TT to mark its 30th anniversary.
The pandemic has taught everyone that motorsport is not immune to the impact of global events. Havier says that both Brexit and the situation in Ukraine mean teams are struggling for parts because of disruption to shipping. He goes on to explain that even a well resourced team like Honda could be faced with disaster: “I’m carrying far more spares than any other team in the paddock … it wouldn’t take much to get through that … it only takes a few slips and spills and you’re running low”.
You can either watch the Podcast by subscribing for free to TT+ or listen to Episode 9 of The TT Podcast through your favourite podcast provider and don’t forget to subscribe.