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Classic TT and Manx GP

Blue sky days on the Isle of Man means bikes and racing, we headed over for the re vamped Classic TT and Manx GP.

Riding a motorbike on the circuit for the first time is a rather surreal experience, we’ve heard about it, we’ve watched the DVDs and the ITV4 coverage of the recent TT, we know the names of the corners and sections, although perhaps not in the right order, which is kinda crucial round here.

From Quarter Bridge up to Bradan, Union Mills, Ballagarey, Crosby and on to Laurel Bank and Glen Helen, you just don’t appreciate how dark it gets under the trees, or how steep the road starts climbing especially this early in the lap.  Past Ginger Hall the road surface deteriorates, just how do they come through here at race pace without being tank slapped into some roadside furniture.  Through Ramsey and Parliament Square you climb steeply to Ramsey Hairpin, the Waterworks and it’s the Gooseneck and the start of the mountain, the road opens, the trees are behind you, your vision picks up and you can start to use the whole road, traffic permitting! The Verandah, how does Conor Cummins ride past here every lap and not think what about what happened in 2010.  The Bungalow and tram lines, over the top and round Kates for the thrash down to the Creg, I bottle pinning the throttle all the way down!

We sometimes hear people describe the racers as mad, daft, far from it, they are very, very good at what they do and I doff my cap to anyone who races a bike round the Island.

IMG_2005We headed to Ballaugh Bridge to take in some of the the action, at 17 miles in riders are being dropped or caught and the sight of bikes braking for position to take the humpback is enthralling.  We do witness an incident when 6 or 7 bikes approach, two bikes go down both riders hurt but appear to be ok in the overall scheme of things

IMG_1996IMG_1610 IMG_1609 IMG_1582 IMG_1569 IMG_1563With various lines over the bridge, air time is pretty much guaranteed, Maria Costello on bike 93 would have been the first privateer home in the Classic 500 but for a last lap break down, the race was won by Ollie Linsdell who led from start to finish.  Giacomo Agostini (number 9) is the most succesfull racer of all time, with 15 world titles, 122 GP wins and 10 TT victories, here he is recreating his 1967 race against Mike Hailwood, which he was leading until his chain broke.  John Mcguinees takes the part of Hailwood on bike nuIMG_1632mber 4.

The TT snubs its nose at technology and maintain tradition with the scoreboard updated by hand.

The bike show at Jurby sees the classics out in force, expensive and rare Brough Superiors rubbing shoulder with Laverdas, Vincents and Sunbeams.

Watching the Formula 1 race from the balcony of the Creg, affords us views up to Kate’s Cottage, and away off downhill to Brandish.

Michael Dunlop on number 3 leading the way to the flag despite a dodgy clutch and an oil leak, Cummins (10) on the Trident XR with GSXR11 power now they have changed the rules.

The XRs interest me, I chat with the boys from Trident engineering who are running both  GS thou and GSXR variants, slightly smaller that the Harris option, Dunlop take sthe win on one of their flavours


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