I understand that you are a film star?
Yep, if you watch the training dvd that the IOMTTMA produced you will see me. I am the casualty being airlifted by helicopter.
How do you think the increase of prohibited spectator areas on the Mountain Circuit has affected wildlife? I ask this as I was aware of at least 2 TMs hitting birds last year.
That is a hard one. Of course with no fans at the roadside there is a possibility that wildlife will remain in the area and therefore be a threat to themselves as well as riders. My personal opinion is that after the first couple of machines go through most of the wildlife will clear off. However at Gorse Lea an occasional pheasant and even a duck and ducklings make the odd appearance. On one occasion bikes were lined up at the grandstand waiting for the off when a branch above the road at Gorse Lea broke and landed on the circuit. The marshals had to radio in and get the start delayed for a short while.
So tell me about Mr Davey Morgan…
Davey is 41, and I will tell you how I know that in a minute. He is a very talented guy. He has won the senior MGP, rides the TT now but also rides the post classic at the GP. I would go as far as putting Davey in the superstar bracket-
Even though he wears a pink helmet…
Yes. He is enormously talented and a genuine nice guy. He will happily talk to someone like me, even at my lowly level. A couple of weeks ago I was at a running/ mountain bike event when I saw Davey walking past. The road racers challenge had begun. I managed to beat him by a couple of minutes and he wasn’t best pleased. How bloody old are you Cargo? He is a 100% good guy and maybe just do an interview for you.
How on earth do you learn the Mountain Circuit?
Wow. Good question. I had ridden the circuit many many times during roads open so I had a pretty good idea. In fact I reckon if you had put me anywhere on the circuit I could have told you what was coming next. However learning the racing lines and braking markers is something else altogether. I was advised to try and split the circuit up into small chunks, maybe 5 or 6 miles at a time. Learn the first chunk as well as possible before moving onto the next and so on. Then hopefully by the time you get back into Douglas you will have a pretty good idea. We would also go out in the van, walk pats of the circuit and even look backwards. Sometimes a bend can look a bit straighter when you look at it from the other side.
However nowadays things are quite different. A lot of riders maybe use the Playstation TT game. I am really not in favour of it. You don’t see the walls, the posts, trees, scenery etc. It is also too easy to fall off. An on board dvd lap however is much better, especially if the commentator know what he id talking about. The Nick Jeffries on board lap is a great one. The Hailwood Foundation is also a fantastic organisation which helps newcomers. They help with funding and bring newcomers round and round the circuit in a car at weekends. Sometimes however I do get worried with some newcomers who make it through to the race. It is very easy to “get lost” on some parts of the circuit. We do emphasise very strongly at riders briefings how important it is to concentrate all the time. I marshalled the newcomer`s race recently from Gorse Lea, which on a bike up to say 600 is about flat out. On this occasion a lad approached us on a 125 and dropped it down 3 gears to get round. He was lost and was potentially dangerous, especially if someone would be close behind him.
We keep informed of surface changes year to year, especially paint markings, manholes, resurfacing or if braking markers such as posts or hedges go. Over the years some lads have left paint marks on trees and posts to be used as braking or corner indications.
Any memorable offs?
The first one ever was at Mondello. For some reason, it has always rained on me at Mondello. Coming into the first corner, I did a guy on the brakes but the bike span out on me. Off I went but not sore and the marshals helped me recover the bike. Nothing spectacular. A more memorable one was at Nutts Corner. I had brought Richards Brittons bike from the Manx to NI on the senior Saturday. I had brought it over in my van and Richard caught me up later. Once I had handed over his bike to him, I thought it would be straightforward enough for me to put in an entry also. After all, my gear was in the van too. Anyhow a short time litter I was flying through the kitty litter with the bike all over the place. One of the marshals remarked how he had heard me laughing as I went in. Flips sake, I had just managed two weeks on the Island only to come home and do this.
My infamous off was back in the days of the Dundrod 150 in June. I approached Tornagrough in the wrong gear. Well the wrong gear for me. I caught the gravel on the side of the outside of the left hander, tried to straighten and ended up flying over the bank ahead. The BBC captured it all for posterity .I spent 5 days in hospital with broken bones, bruised black and blue, followed by 13 weeks on the sick. After that I spent 13 weeks on light duties. Not really a great day. I have been off twice at the Manx, one was early in the morning and I was catching the rider in front of me over the mountain. I reckoned I would overtake him between Kates Cottage and the Creg but came off badly just after Keppel Gate. I was unhurt but had heather sticking in parts I didn’t know existed. I also came a cropper at Governors, thankfully only my pride was hurt.
How are riders supported after a racing accident in Ireland?
The Injured Riders Fund, namely Jan, Sheila and Yvonne do a wonderful job. Everybody who falls off and is off work are treated fairly and get some financial support pretty quickly from the fund. The beauty of what these ladies do is that they are so quick to release cash. There is no waiting for ages whilst the breadwinner is in hospital. I think they would also be a good team to interview.
I would like to sign on as a marshal for the 2012 Manx. Where do you recommend I go to on the circuit?
Without a doubt, Gorse Lea. They are an excellent group of lads and you won`t be stuck for a bun or cup of coffee. They also enjoy the banter and are especially keen on jokes and puns – which are particularly important. But they are also very switched on and you couldn’t ask for a better place to fall off.
Any pre race rituals or lucky pants?
Yep, for whatever reason I refuse to race in anything other than white socks. I don’t care what T shirt I wear, what trunks I wear but I must wear white socks. And my black leathers and white lid.
Thanks very much Stephen for sharing all this with me and I wish you all the very best for 2012.