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Alan, Alan, Alan!

I love motorbikes, I love road racing, although that is called into question with the passing of a yound rider in Satruday’s supertwins race, Malachi Mitchel Thomas, my thought go out to all who knew him.
Life is all about what you do and who you do it with and motorbikes, big fuck off motorbikes.  Kayaks and mountain bikes can be included, but a the moment its motorbikes.  We all know the risks as soon as we turn the key and drop the visor, we accept those risks cos you get a few days away with a bunch of idiots that give you those memories that cannot be bought in any shop I know.
This is my third visit to the North West and this year is blessed by glorious blue skies and sunshine.  The unbroken sunshine of Thursday evening gives cause for concern to the organisers and riders alike.  As the riders crest Black Hill as the evening progresses they will pretty much be travelling due West into the setting sun.  Efforts to get the riders out on the circuit quickly to prevent later cancellation are thwarted by an accident in the second race, Super Twins, with Ryan Farquhar and Dan Cooper crashing heavily on lap three, ending racing for the day.
The ride from the ferry port of Larne to Bushmills up the A2 coast road is stunning as ever on the Wednesday afternoon.  The tide is in and waves are crashing on the coastline as we ride, providing a stunning backdrop to a great road.
Thursday, and we head to Mathers chicane to watch early practice, followed by some time at Ballysally roundabout then on to Metropole for the evenings racing.  A dirty burger followed by an ice cream fuels us for the forthcoming entertainment.
Friday, we head off for a wander round the pits before it gets too warm, something we are not used to allowing for in Northern Ireland.  Joeys bar, the Dark Hedges, the Carrick a Rede rope bridge and a quick pint of the dark stuff at the Nook, Giants Causeway fill our afternoon and early evening.  The riding between all of these destinations being the highlight.  The quiet back roads of this part of the world are part of the reason to ride two wheels, sometimes bumpy, other times smooth but always through stunning scenery.  It can be difficult to focus on the strip of tarmac rather than the views, but best to, eh?  Otherwise a close viewing of the hedgerows is on the cards.
Early Saturday morning is busy as we roll into Portrush.  Not gridlocked, busy roads lead to the circuit.  We abandon the bikes on a grassy verge rather than paying £5.00 to use the normally free public car parks and walk a short distance to Metrepole.  £12.00 secures us access to the steep grassy bank.  We climb to the top and make camp for the day, strapping our gear to the fence separating us from the rail line behind us. As the bank fills up our route down disappears, once false move here could see us tumble forty or so feet taking lord knows how many people with us, best play it safe.
Our view is fantastic, fore warned by the approaching camera helicopter, we see the riders exit the Metropole on a variety of lines, probably governed by the riders entry speed and how late they left their braking from three figure speeds after exiting Magherbuoy chicane.  Bikes flash by and disappear from view round Church Corner.
MetropoleIMG_8265 IMG_8256 IMG_8253 IMG_8243 IMG_8218
Lee Johnston coming out of Mathers. IMG_8166 IMG_8153
The Dark Hedges
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 Rutter’s Bathams sponsored bikes look the business!
IMG_8280as for alan, alan, alan, have a search in you tube……..