- IOM TT RACES 2011
- Callum and I both attended our first TT in 2011.
- I was half happy, half scundered as I left Callum to the boat in Belfast for the Sunday afternoon crossing to Douglas. I was chuffed that he was able to go for the whole of race week, camping with his mate, but scundered that I was heading straight into work and not sure whether I would get over at all. I had tried to sort out flights but they were all booked and couldnt get a private pilot to offer his services. Callum had planned to find a campsite somewhere in or near to Douglas and I arranged for him to ring me at a set time each day to make sure he was ok. This was his first time away without us. How sweet. Come Wednesday I had finally sorted out time off and booked the midnight boat from Larne as a foot passenger. I had also managed to book a couple of nights accomodation on Douglas seafront.
- The crossing was very calm and pleasant and i happily enjoyed a couple of beers and a chat with some other lads heading over for the racing. My plan was to meet Callum at Douglas terminal at 3am. Boat arrived on time but no sign of Callum and his mate, and his phone was off. Maybe he wasnt here at all but was infact sunning himself in Ibiza? I dandered along the seafront for about half a mile and found my room. God bless them, Breeda and Brian had stayed up for me and had a cup of coffee ready in no time. A few minutes later another lad, Alan from bangor turned up, also staying for a couple of nights. Alan is a Renault mechanic and has proved damned handy this year fixing my Laguna.
- Didnt sleep too long and headed up towards the start around 8 am. It was hard to believe I was finally standing on hallowed ground and it was so peaceful this time of the morning.
– Still no word from Callum though and I didnt really know where to start looking. Never mind. I had been lucky as i didnt plan on seeing racing today but the previous days Supersport and sidecar races had been binned due to rain so I was getting an unexpected bonus. Class.
– I dandered around the paddock and enjoyed the atmosphere building up behind the grandstand.
– The atmosphere was becoming electric as start time approached. I needed to find somewhere to watch from and quickly as the roads were soon to close. i headed down Brae Hill a wee bit and got a spot at the crossroads by the filling station – which sold cold beers, which was handy. I texted Callum to say where I was, just in case he was here! The craic with fellow fans was class and I was soon chatting to a 70 year old Geordie who was at his 20th TT and a lovely couple, Jackie and Tony from London. We shared beers :). Just before racing started I was shocked to get a tap on the shoulder from the previously missing Callum – with no mate. Boy I was glad to see him, but when I asked where his mate was, I kind of wish I hadnt. Locked up, I was told. Oh dear. The lad had got mouthy with a member of the local Constabulary the night before and was about to appear in front of the magistrate. I would worry about that later, after the racing. As the bikes launched off the start line they approached us pretty well flat out over a small bump in the road. The race was eventually won by Gary Johnson, from John McGuiness and Guy Martin.
– Once the roads reopened we made our way back up Glencutcherry Road to watch the sidecar race on the final straight. We also called into the police station to find out what time the court was sitting. After a thrilling sidecar race we dandered down to the courthouse to find out that they were about to close and Callums pal was about to be dragged off to jail for a week. The lad was a bit of a sorry state, a bit of a loner who had lost contact with his parents, so we did feel a bit sorry for him. To keep him out of jail would cost £20o. He had a fiver!! Callum and I counted what we had and decided that we should bail him out. Wish we hadnt now – he didnt seem too grateful. Lesson learned. I asked Cal why he didnt meet me at the boat the night before and he explained the arrest of his mate had left him on his own, so he headed to the terminal a bit early to wait for me. And fell asleep on a bench in the terminal. Flip me I walked right passed him. I thought he was a local drunk or tramp 🙂
– That night we headed to Jaqs on Douglas seafront and had a fine few pints and a lovely steak.
– Had a grand nights sleep that night and was pleasantlly suprised with the full Monty breakfast. Enough to feed an army. I then made my way up to the TT Marshals office to sign on as a marshal. I told them I had no preference where to go, I would just help out wherever they were short. Before long I was given a lift out of Douglas, past Creg Na Baa and up the mountain to the Brandywell.
– The weather was lovely up on the mountain and it looked fine in Douglas but rain towards Ramsey delayed proceedings. Race officials decided correctly to delay the start and my fellow marshals decided to grab 40 winks.
– We were also joined by a PR team from Relentless who were filming a short film. It was very interesting and the final film can be found here http://youtu.be/GakGUvuJexI Can you spot me?
– The Parade of Legends lap was superb, with great commentary from Murray Walker back in Douglas. I couldnt believe that Hutchy did a lap with one leg still in a cage.
– The Senior TT finally got under way a few hours later as conditions improved and John McGuiness won his 17th TT. Superb. After a very long day we made our way off the mountain once roads opened. We were a huge convoy of marshals and I was really impressed that fans still on the circuit stood and applauded as we passed them. Great. We managed to get down to the seafront just in time to see the Vulcan fly past. What a great day. i even managed to watch some of the prize giving at the grandstand before heading for a beer and a feed before the early morning boat home to Larne. We will be back 🙂