November 2017 Marked 25 years service with the Company I work for, so when I got an email from my Boss telling me to be in his Office at midday on a Friday afternoon, the first thing that came to mind was. Fuck the day has finally come where they are going to tell me not to come in Monday.
You can imagine my surprise when It turns out I am guest of honour at a BBQ to celebrate my service, where not only is there a very nice cake, but I was also presented with a Travel voucher for $2000 and told not to be at work in June 2018.
As you no doubt are aware, June is when the IOM TT is held and I was told in no uncertain terms that the voucher was to be used to attend the TT once again. Who was I to argue?
As it turns out some mad mates of Mine were also planning to attend the TT for their first time, so in discussion it was decided I would arrange Accommodation at my Mates Steve's place and I would tag along with them.
Flights were booked and plans made
What a trip it turned out to be.
My flights had me arriving in London after a brutal flight with Qatar Airlines a day before the other guys, but that gave me a chance to prepare for what was ahead.
The boys arrived the next day and off to our digs in West London.
The next couple of days were spent basically calling in at every pub we went past. Fortunately no bombs in Wardour st. ( Great Jam song)
I was over over the moon when Biffa took us to the home of London ska and one of my Fav bands Madness. Brought back some brilliant memories from my youth.
Much Gin was consumed.
My liver and I were pleased to escape a day before the other guys and I boarded a flight to the Holy Isle and made it in time to watch a practice session from Braddon Bridge where the craic and pois were flowing freely. It was great to be back.
Was an early start the next morning as I completed a lap of the circuit in the Steve O Donaghue Racing Citreon Mini Van
The famous Ramsey Hairpin
Called in at the Bungalow to pay my respects to Joey.
Windy corner was windy
And back to the start finish line.
I went and spent a few minutes with Steve Hislop from his spot overlooking the spectacular Douglas Bay.
The rest of the Day was spent wandering around the paddock checking out the bikes, taking in the sights and being a massive fan girl.
Micky Dunlop was a little elusive this TT.
The sound this 2 stroke Suter made was sublime. Smelt good too.
The Norton V4 road bike looks spectacular. Available soon from a Norton shop near you.
When you buy one GIZAGO
The Paton is spectacular and sounds awesome
The road hoing version woukd would be great fun. 35000 Euro + VAT
Cam Donald is always happen to stop for a pic. As are all the riders
Dean Harrison was in fire this TT. Was unlucky not to win the Senior but his time will come. Soon me thnks
Aussie Davo Johnson is a really nice bloke and was happy to chat.
TT legend Milky Quale survived one of the most horrific crashes you will ever see. You Google it.
Another survivor if a massive crash. Connor Cummings. You Google it too.
The local distillery had had produced a commemorative bottle of Vodka and also a local gin I couldn’t decide which to buy so bought one of each to post home. Unfortunately they were subsequently confiscated by customs. Bastards. I hope you enjoy them.
I spent spent that afternoons practice session at Black Dub and Glen Helen.
A brilliant and beautiful spot but also a little sad as this is where NZ legend Robert Holden was killed
It was also here that I learnt of the tragic death of Dan Kneen. A sad day. RIP Dan
Next day it was back in the racing Mini Van and off to Peel for a Manx Kipper Bap whilst overlooking the spectacular castle.
Looks disgusting tastes delicious
The boys flew in later that morning and our first port of call as it should be for any first time TT visitor was Bray Hill.
We sourced supplies and set up in the driveway of one of residents who welcomes visitors. They call it Bobs Bar. So cool.. Gin and tonic cans only 1 pound 50 Bargain.
Check out Micks reaction.
Was a great afternoon.
The next day was one of the highlights of the Trip. My mate Pete (MMP) would take us on a commentated tour of the circuit. He had no idea of what to make of these blokes.
We hooked up snapchat through the other cars speakers and set off with MMP commentating and pointing out points of interest. (how tech savvy are we?)
Pete has lived on the Island all his life and his knowledge of all things TT is Brilliant. He also has an amazing Photo Collection. Hows that book coming along mate?
Pete made the mistake of pulling out his Trials Side car, so a couple of us had a go.
House ? What house?
Side cars are very popular here. You can even ride your MX outfit on the road.No problem
Thanks mate it was an awesome morning that the boys are still talking about. You really should buy a van and do tours. I'll Drive.
We hope you put that Jacket to good use.
A Circuit pub crawl was next on the Agenda.
Daz enjoyed the Craic with the locals
And then we went for a picnic to Glen Helen to watch some motorbikes.
Is a brilliant spot to watch from. Can recommend.
I think the the boys had a good time. The bench racing afterwards was epic.
Was also very cool to see John McGuiness do a demo lap on the Norton after his horrific injuries.
We were in for another massive treat that weekend as Daz had organised a side trip to the British round of the World Motocross Championships at Matterly Basin near Winchester.
We all boarded our EasyJet flight for the hour long trip back to Gatwick, where we picked up a hire car and headed south.
That poor car had no idea what it was in for.
We came across a Nudie bike ride so that was fun
Daz had mentioned checking out the HMS Victory at the Portsmith, so we made a detour for there. I had spent most of my history classes in the Principles Office, so I knew nothing about this amazing ship. Boy did I get an education. What an utterly amazing ship and story. You can read more about it here HMS_Victory and I highly recommend a visit if your ever in the area.
The contrast between the old and the new was pretty cool too
WE retired to our Luxury digs, then spent the evening exploring the awesome town of Winchester, which incidentally for your information was the first Capitol of England.
Fuck look at me being all History Buff.
Next morning we all up bright and early ( Well except for Biffa) and off to Matterly Basin. What a brilliant layout ! the whole track can be seen from most points around it. Just brilliant.
And brilliant racing.
Had a pastie for Brekky. Fucken British as mate !
Headed into the paddock for a look around.
Met young Aussie Racer Hunter Lawrence. Unfortunately he had a shocker of a race meeting, but he is an awesome young fella and will do well.
Did I mention the view. JUST brilliant
Another highlight of the Weekend was being invited into The Hitachi KTM racing pit area for refreshments and a tour. How cool is that?
They really need to think their labour arrangements though. This little fella was hilarious, carrying around his ratchet and working on the bikes.
We retired to the hill to watch the racing
Unfortunatly the Rangas didnt cope with the blazing sun all that well.
I had no such issues.
Back to the hotel and settles in to watch the Moto GP. Good times.
It was a brilliant weekend. Thanks for organizing it all Daz. Your a legend
Flew back to the IOM and that afternoon was up to the Iconic Creg Ny Baa to watch the Races.
There is nothing better than spending time in the Hedges
It was all a bit much for this Irishman who had consumed 1 billion pints
Our friends from 2017 TT Steve and Adrienne were arriving on the island that day, so I jumped in the mighty Smoko van and headed up to Laxey to meet them, but I took the scenic route. Have I told you how spectacular this place is?
Met Steve and Adrienne and had a very nice lunch at the Salmon centre.
That night was party night and we headed to the Prom to let our hair down, watch the red arrows make some new friends.
The red arrows always are romantic
and of Course Love is love
We made lots of new friends.
Making Vapor trails. ( no I am not a Vaping wanker, just seemed like a good idea at the time)
Met some kindred souls.
There was lots of showing of skills and feats of strength.
And scarying of little Kiddies
It was quite the Boozy evening and Steve was very tired and emotional by the end of it, so Adrienne dragged him home so he could have a little lie down. Fucking Amatuer!
He did extract his revenge by making this video though
We retired to our Back yard for a BBQ.
Next day it was back to MMPs place to watch the racing. This is literally at his front door at Greeba bridge. Was an awesome spot.
RIP Dan Kneen :-( Hope your tearing that TT course in the sky to shreds (and now with William ) So sad.
We took the back way home through the fields and glens. WAs very nice except for the stinging nettle.
A visit to Murray motorcycle museum is compulsory if your ever get to the Island. Its Brilliant. I have been several times and see something new every time, plus its good craic.
Castletown is a cool place to visit too, although they are now charging 8 pds to go into the castle itself, which is a bit rich
We all pitched in to give Daz a surprise Flight around the island as a thankyou for the MX trip. From all reports he loved it.
With not enough seats in the plane for everyone I chose to sit it out and have a relaxing drink.
Another great day in paradise.
Next morning I jumped in the van and went up to Douglas headland for brekky. ITs a beautiful spot to sit for abit.
These guys were livin the dream Vans, Bikes and camped on the spectacular cliffs on Marine drive. Just awesome.
Had an awesome Italian Dinner that night with Steve and Adrienne. Just like Nonnas
Next day and its Senior race day . The last and most important race of the event. It was a beautiful day so we made our way to the top of the mountain (or Bungalow as it is known). If there is anything better than a nice day at the Bungalow having a BBQ and a few beers and watching the best road racers in the world with brilliant people then I am yet to experience it
The disposable BBQ was brilliant.
It was a brilliant day and a brilliant race. I was so pleased to see Peter Hickman win. He is a great guy.
We decided a icecream at Peel was in order but we coudnt find any ice cream so had a beer instead.
And of course where else in the world do you see a guy pull up on his road registerable RG500 Barry Sheene replica? No fucking where thats where
Heres a compilation of vids for ya.
That night we were treated to a very nice Indian meal by Geraint, who is Micks long lost cousin. Thanks mate it was very nice of you and a pleasure to meet ya.
Sadly the boys all headed home the next day although my Liver was very glad to see them go, it was a great time.
I set off in the racing smoko van again for my last lap of teh Holy Isle.
I stopped of at the site where Dan Kneen was killed to pay my respects. It was a horrific site.
Ramsey from The Bungalow, would have to be one of my favorite views.
The post TT races at Billown were next on the Agenda. I had missed this event on previous trips due to timing and sickness, so I was very keen to go for a look and it was a great day with Pete & Sam. It is a brutally dangerous circuit as evidenced by the death of Jamie Coward at the Southern 100 races just a few weeks later.
Had a farewell drink with Steve and Adrienne at the Seven Kingdoms Distillery. Was sad to say goodbye. We ahve become good friends since a we met by chance on the IOM Ferry in 2014, but Im trying to get them to come out here for a visit.
My time on the isle was also drawing to a close, but I had one more important thing to do. Pete had very kindly offered me a ride on hos glorious 1989 Moto Guzzi 850 Lemans. These biles are considered a bit of a cult classic and it was a great honour to get to ride one on the TT circuit.
Thankyou Pete the memory of that will remain with me for a long long time.
I had one final opportunity to go for a look at the beauty of the island, so jumped in the racing smoko van and headed nth.
And then just like that my time on the island was all over. without doubt the best TT I have been to with regard to the racing and the weather. Hopefully it will be like that next time. Yes there will be a next time. Most likely the classic TT in 2020. Those damn Fairy Bridge Fairy's.
It was a baptism of fire
It was a relaxing next few days ( apart from a day being a lock master) Spent the week Canal boating, Seeing bands inclusing Mistys Big Adventure, Beautiful STH and Billy Bragg, Going to a Jam session with Bill and going for a ride on his bike. and basically having a nice time.
Met a bloke that had a Superior Brough once owned by T E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). He keeps in his kitchen under lock and key as it is worth about 1 Million dollars. But it was nice to hear he gets out on it occassionally.
My final day was spent on a Private London cab tour of London before getting dropped off at Heathrow for the brutal flight home
Was another epic TT. Those damn Fairys at Fairy Bridge have a lot to answer for. Bastards.
Plans are already under way for the next Pilgramage to the classic TT in 2020
Hope you enjoyed.