Pre Season 2011


Callum and I headed into Belfast by train to make our first visit to The Bike Show at the Kings Hall.

We didnt really know what to expect having never been to one before. We were impressed to see all the major makes with their latest models on display. It was great to be able to get on a lot of the bikes and chat to other supporters.

We were fortunate to meet John McGuinness, Eugene Laverty, Hutchy, Ian Lougher and Glenn Irwin and all were good enough to allow us to get some photos.

I must admit I was shocked to see how thin, frail and off colour Hutchy was. And to think a few months later I would see him riding the TT Legends Parade lap with the injured leg still in a cage.

The riders were all very acessible and friendly even though I am sure that they get tortured by fans at events like these.

I decided to enter every ballot there was and this proved to be a successful ploy, as you will read later on. Cal even had a go on a computer game sim of the NW 200 circuit and posted a respectable time :) .

We chatted with the guys from MCUI and decided we should try and support road racing by volunteering to marshal whenever we could. They gave us forms and advised us to attend a training day at The Chimney Corner the following month. More of that later.

The advantage of coming up on the train was that we could grab a cold beer or two which we were in need of. We then headed upstairs and had a good look at some of the classics, choppers and the scooters. These guys and girls are certainly passionate about their hobbies and businesses.

Callum spotted the current Miss Northern Ireland and asked if she would like her photo taken with him – cheeky monkey. Several of the local clubs were represented and we sponsored a bale or two at each.

After gathering all the freebies available we headed to the clothing and I was glad to find a Swan Honda waterproof jacket down to £15. The last time I had looked at one was up at Portrush and it was £60. I was well impressed with Stuart Easton on the Swan Honda at the North West so went ahead a grabbed a bargain. Must say I am looking forward to the 2012 show in February, get details here and hope to meet up with a few of you.

As I said we had chatted to the good folk from the MCUI Marshals Association  and decided to attend a training session at Chimney Corner on a March Sunday afternoon. There was a pretty good turnout and we listened to a couple of experienced marshals, flag marshals and travelling doctor. It was very interesting and something I would like to hear more about. I am genuinely keen to learn more about what makes the road racing events successful. Obviously the riders and the machines are vital but so too are the voulnteers, first aiders, programme sellers, media, Health and Safety, Raynet, timekeepers etc etc.


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