funny one of sidecars blasting past
Isle of Man TT
funny one of sidecars blasting past
06.06.2011 15 °C
Saturday 4th June
We had grandstand tickets at the start finish line so after a big breakfast we rode down to Douglas along the track at the usual great rate of knots. It was pretty cool because the course was lined with spectators so you felt a bit like one of the racers with the knee down flying around all the corners. We wandered around the pits getting a few more signatures on our jackets then I spotted a familiar face, it was V8 Supercar legend Mark Scaife so we stopped for a bit of a chat. Scaifie was going to interview us as he was there for channel 7 but he got tied up with Cameron Donald so that didn’t turn out which was a bit of a shame because it would of really annoyed a couple of our mates who are big bike fans. Now it’s time to race with the favorite John McGuinness heading of first with Cameron Donald setting of at number 6. After the first lap Cameron was down in 6th position as he was getting used to some major changes made to his Honda before the race but he put his head down & started to get a few spots back. After Bruce Anstey the Kiwi pulled out while leading then Guy Martin broke down & Gary Johnson got a time penalty for speeding in the pits Cameron finished on the podium in a well deserved second place. I was lucky enough to bump into him after the race & tell him well done, keep it up mate. We then watched the sidecar race & headed back along the coast road to watch the electric bikes from a different spot in Kirk Michael before heading back to Ginger Hall after the track reopened for another night of live music & way too many pints.
Sunday 5th June
We have been told by many locals not to go out on Mad Sunday because there are too many bad riders & there are usually quite a few deaths due to dickheads but we went out anyway being extra vigilant. We went down to a private vintage bike collection in Kirk Michael which was awesome, hundreds of old bikes restored perfectly back to mint condition. It’s pretty cool to see how bike have evolved to the modern machines we have now & the owner was being interviewed by the TV4 crew too. We then headed back to Ginger Hall with thousands of other bikes with the occasional near miss as dickheads do blind passes & near smash into other bikes when they unexpectantly meet an oncoming bus. We found out later that 2 bikes did end up embedded in the front of a bus which serves themselves right, how I didn’t get road rage & uppercut one of these cockheads is beyond me. Anyway we sat in safety out the front of Ginger Hall watching all of the antics having a few more pints then went off to Sulby for dinner. That was it we survived Mad Sunday now we can get the T shirt.
you can survive on 4 hours sleep a night
05.06.2011 25 °C
Tuesday 31st May
Lay day due to consumption the night before
Ross did not make it to breakfast and I crawled back into bed after breakfast as we had a rather late night and I think three weeks of being on the go all the time had finally caught up on us so we spent most of the day in bed and felt much better for it. We arose to watch practice, eat tea and listen to the band and drink with our new Aussie friends.
Wednesday 1st June
Stewart’s Birthday and a day to explore.
We found it is not just the circuit that is fun on the island, a lot of the costal and town roads are great and there some no speed limit sections that are great as there is less traffic on them and we are finding that the traffic on the circuit is getting more and more and there is a lot of idiot riders so you need to get out very early in the morning to do the full circuit and try and avoid it during the day as much as possible, also the mountain section gets closed a lot due to accidents. We investigated the middle valley rode up to the top of the circuit today and it was like a valley out of a fairytale, it had a craved wizard and his wife and a huge statue of the God of Manx craved from wood (see photos). The bird played up for the first time ever but we found it was from when we pressure washed it in the morning and water got into one of the micro switches, so with a bit of wd-40 it was fixed. Being Stewart’s birthday we proceeded to have a very big night partying with the band and a few Germanys in the bar, it was a fantastic night had by all.
Thursday 2nd June
Time to buy some souvenirs
With sore heads from the night before we ventured out to buy some souvenirs of the TT in Douglas and explore some more of the island. We went to Douglas vie the coastal road due to the mountain road being closed yet again due to accidents but found it very nice with beautiful scenery. We stopped off in Laxey to take a closer look at the water wheels and took more photos, we then proceeded into Douglas and found the shopping Mall and bought some TT stuff. After off loading our stuff we went to a new spot to watch the practice runs which was one of the fastest sections of the track Sulbry Straight, this was awesome although we got thirsty and decided to go back to The Ginger Hall for a couple of pints only to find the road was closed due to an accident. So we decided to go up the top mountain at the Bungalow to watch and wait until the road was open to our pub. Our friend Bear got a phone call at the top explaining that the accident involved one of our group and a local sidecar racer from years ago. Unfortunately the local died but our friend came out of it with a few stitches to the head, it was a very unfortunate accident as they were not doing anything wrong, the local had a heart attack while showing our friend his sidecar coming out of his driveway. Hence there was a very solemn mood in the pub and we had a reasonably early night about 12 midnight.
Friday 3rd June
Morning Gathering with Get Routed and 2Wheels Mag
After the usual hearty full English breakfast we all headed off to the pits for a pre arranged meeting with 2 wheels journalist Grant Roff (Spanner) & all of the 100 plus Get Routes Aussies on the Island. Tess noticed someone she thought she recognized coming up on a Gas Gas trials bike who turned out to be none other than Cameron Donald the only Australian racing in the TT. We had a fairly good chat about how he is going which sounds promising for the upcoming races, wished him luck & got him to sign our jackets. The whole group was going to do a full lap of the circuit & meet back up at the pub in Peel but we knew the mountain was closed due to yet another idiot falling of his bike & going home in a nice box so a few of us just went straight to the pub. It was a heat wave today at the beach in Peel (25 deg) so everyone was there basking on the beach just like the strand back home but with yet another ruined castle overlooking us. Tess had a scone with real cream & strawberries which looked really nice, went for a walk around & meet up with all the Aussies who were now making their way to the pub. On the way back to Ginger Hall we got a bit lost because I’m not using the GPS or maps, just following my nose but what an awesome way to get back. Up through mountain roads with perfect weather, great views, even better riding & with no speed limits, doesn’t get any better. Yet another big night with live music & back to our room for an early start tomorrow for the first race day.
lots of stuff from Scotland to the Isle of Man
Wednesday 25th May
Isle of Iona
The Wettest Day we have had so far.
The forecast was heavy rain but we set out anyhow off to the starting point of religion in The United Kingdom and as the rain fell I kept saying this better be worth it. We finally arrived after two ferry rides and a very narrow winding wet road through mountains, it was still pouring. I will say it was worth it as you can from the photos, I was very worried that the abbey was going to cave in as I entered and fortunately it did not, but towards the end of our visit I was unable to take anymore photos, so we left and got back to a camp and fired up the fire to dry out all our clothes.
Thursday 26th May
In search of Nessy
Off to Loch Ness in search of the monster, getting there we stopped at a little café called The Thistle Stop to find another Black bird owner and the yummiest scones so far. The roads in Scotland are god’s gift to bike riders and the scenery is spectacular. We arrived at Loch Ness at Urquhart Castle and the weather was kind to us while we were there and stopped raining for the duration (this was amazing because yet again the weather was quite wet). We spotted the monster while on the top floor of the castle and even got it on video as you can see. The rain started again and we made our way back to camp and started our fire again and sat back to wood fire pizza and a couple of wines.
Friday 27th May
Retracing: The history of Lockhart
We travelled south to warmer lands through more spectacular scenery and roads we would all love to ride again and again and most of it was dry so Ross was able to let the Bird spread her wings and fly. On approach to the family lands Denis unbeknown to us passed all the spots we were going to see the next day. We stopped in at a pub after four laps of Lanark’s high street and found a camp ground nearby in The Hole as the locals called it and were warned to watch out for witch craft in The Hole(not that we cared, it made it even more intriguing). After setting up camp we went back up into town and meet some more locals (one resembled Wearzel Gumidge) and planned our day of discovering the Lockhart family history, this is where I am handing over to Ross for the next couple of days.
Saturday 28th May
Retracing: The history of Lockhart day 2
First on the list to see was the family castle “Lee Castle” which unfortunately is not in Lockhart hands anymore & was sold to an American a couple of years ago. The closet we could get was a distant view down into the valley where it lies & we found our way to the front gates which still bears our family crest. I was tempted to ring the door bell & claim land rights but thought better of it. Next on the list was the Hallbar Tower which was commissioned by Robert the Bruce & fell into Lockhart hands soon after that. We found out that it’s available for accommodation but after looking up the prices, thousand pounds for 3 nights, decided to stick with our tent for ten pounds a night. We also checked out the museum in Lanark & found the Lockhart name all over the place; it’s a very famous name in the area. Then back to the pub to dry out from the day’s usual rain & a few pints.
Sunday 29th May
Of to the Isle of Man
We were up early & packed up for the 3 hour ride down to Heysham to catch the ferry over to the Isle of Man. It was the usual weather with torrential rain & driving winds travelling down the 3 lane motorway, at least we found a top spot for a full Scottish breakfast to warm us up. We got to Heysham with time to spare & found a pub full of Aussies doing the same thing as us. Then onto the ferry with hundreds of other bikes for the three & a half hour trip to the Isle of Man. We sat with a couple & their daughter, (Lloyd, Phillippa & Georgie) coming from England who go to the TT religiously & got a few good pointers on where to go. Finally we set foot on the hallowed turf of the Isle of Man then Dave Milligan from Get Routed guided us along the TT circuit to our accommodation at the famous Ginger Hall pub which ended up being a late night on the pints with all the Aussies as you do.
Monday 30th May
The Bird meets the TT Circuit
I was up very early as I was as keen as mustard to do a full lap of the track but it was a little wet so I just pottered around our room until it was dry enough to have some fun. Finally I got out on the track for the ride at the speed limit up to Ramsey then time to let it loose over the unlimited one way zone over the mountain. I was intending to take it easy on my first lap but got caught up with a few other bikes & the usual competition resulted with the Bird coming out on top with a top speed of 270kph over the mountain. I can’t believe the racers can do over 320kph in the same place, crazy buggers. We then headed down to the pits to check it out & bumped into our friends we met on the ferry. They were signature hunting using their daughter Georgie to get the attention of the riders so we tagged along & started to get a few signatures ourselves on our jackets. Then back to Ginger Hall pub before the road closes to watch the first day of practice. The solos started first & the speed they are going past the pub has to be seen to be believed, mad as. Then the side cars came out & unfortunately the first fatalities of the races happened with both driver & swinger passing away after hitting a pole just south of us in Kirk Michael. There has been a few deaths already from other spectator dickheads who get their ambitions & there capabilities mixed up, apparently they have at least 6 spectator deaths every year. We are sensable though & will be playing it safe so we can get home in one piece.