|Our Ford Transit short wheelbase, high roof, 6 speed manual diesel|
|Ken McIntosh on the left with the first ever Featherbed Manx|
|A Greeves Eastcoaster at Tony East's A.R.E. Museum in Kirk Michael|
We drove on around the course to the Bungalow and got out and made a pilgrimage to the Joey Dunlop memorial there. Then we almost finished the lap, but turned left at Governors Bridge and drove through Onchan and the back roads to Hillberry to watch evening practice. Hillberry is one of my favorite places on the course, a very fast right hand bend at the bottom of a long straight decent from Brandish, where the bikes sweep out towards the wall as they climb toward Cronk ny Mona. Marshaling there was Les Trotter, a Senior Manx Grand Prix winner and someone I'd gotten to know racing in the Classic Manx GPs in the 80's. It was great catching up with him and especially fortuitous as my pit neighbor the previous weekend at Mosport, Ron Kalaquin, had asked me to say hello to Les if I ran into him. After practice, Mike and I had dinner at a very good Thai restaurant oddly named New Manila.
|A Norton featherbed with a Velocette motor we saw at Hillberry|
|The steering damper knob on the 'Velton'|
I ran into John Cronshaw, who had come over on his original Goldstar road bike and was there helping his good friend Sandro Baumam, from Switzerland. Then I saw Jim Redman, who Rob had re-united with the Team Obsolete RC 163 Honda six which Jim had raced when it first appeared at Monza in Sept. of 1964 then paraded many times in the late '90s. At age 83, he's still looking good and participating in many events in Europe.
Mike and I took off to watch evening practice. We drove to a spot that I remembered spectating at many years before between Ballaspur and Doran's Bend. This involved walking through a culvert under the course to get to the field on the other side. But, the marshall there told us the farmer who owned the field no longer allowed spectating there, so we drove on to Cronk-y-Voddy crossroads. We watched there for a while, but the wind finally forced us out before practice was over.
Sat., I drove Rob to an appointment in Peel and had some time to kill, so I drove along the coast road almost to Kirkmichael where I saw an intriguing path that went to the beach. I found a place to park the van, then walked back to this path. An oncoming motorcyclist passed and waved and I waved back, thinking just a friendly biker. After a moment, he turned around and came back, stopped, and said 'Dave, are you stuck?' I told him that I was just taking a walk and thanked him for checking, but I was amazed that someone who I did not recognize, would recognize me while riding by and turn around and check if everything was OK. But, the Isle of Man is like that.
|The ford at Glen Mooar|
|The beach at Glen Mooar|
Then it was back to the paddock where Cathy and Frank Smith tracked us down. They were with their Scottish friends who they had been staying with before coming over to the Isle. We walked down to St. Ninian's crossroads to watch the Senior Classic race. There we saw Pat Mooney and Gordon Razee. The race was dominated by replica Italian exotica with Dean Harrison leading from start to finish on a MV-3 chased by Ian Lougher on a Paton. Last year Lougher was penalized 30 seconds for speeding in the pit lane, but overcame this disadvantage and still won the race. This year Lougher was again penalized 30 seconds for speeding in the pit lane. He put in the fastest lap of the race, but ended up 26 seconds behind Harrison with the 30 sec. penalty. There was some thought that Michael Dunlop might have a shot at the win on the Molnar 4 valve Manx since he could go the distance without a pit stop, whereas the multis would have to stop for fuel, but he ended up retiring with a mechanical issue.
After the race, we loaded up the van with the Porc, fuel, tools and spares, to head to Jurby in the morning. That evening we went to Ballasala for dinner at our old friend Paul & Sue Barrett's house. Paul was the one who arranged my first ride at the IOM and taught me the course and, years later, moved to the Isle. With us was Dave Arnold, winner of the 1973 Lighttweight MGP, and Chris Bladon a former MGP competitor and renowned Aermacchi tuner, now involved with developing mini gas turbine motors.
Sunday morning, we drove up to the north of the Island for the Jurby Festival. There's a WWII era airfield there which now has a short circuit race track on it and for the Festival, bikes of all different eras and sizes lap the circuit. There's no racing, just unrestricted parades. There are two sessions for the Lap of Honour bikes and it's a good opportunity to shake down the bikes before doing the lap on the Mountain Circuit the next day.
|turn #1 at Jurby, sorry, don't know who to give photo credit to.|
|exiting turn #1 at Jurby, again, don't know who took the photo|
That evening, we went to a memorial for Geoff Duke at St.. Ninian's Church. Sammy Miller and Bill Smith gave remembrances of Duke and the event ended with what has to be a first in the history of the know universe: a 500 Gilera 4 cyl., of the type Duke raced, was fired up in the Church and ridden out. But, the Isle of Man is like that.
From the memorial, we went to the embarrassingly named 'Heros Dinner'. The TT winners are distributed around to different tables to have dinner with the paying public. We had 4 Aussies, an Italian, and an American couple, he competing in the MGP as a newcomer, at our table, all keen enthusiasts. Charlie Williams, an 8 time TT winner, was M.C. and he introduced all the 'Heros' then got Bruce Anstey, John McGuinness, and Michael Dunlop up on the stage for an interview.
Monday's schedule was the Junior Classic race first, then the Lap of Honour, then the F1/F2 Classic race. But, when we got up to the paddock, found there was a communications glitch and Race Control couldn't speak with the marshals. The Junior Classic race was postponed, then postponed again, then again and again. Most of the participants figured that the Lap of Honour was going to be scraped or put off to Tues., and the weather forecast for Tues. wasn't so good. And some, like Mat Oxley, couldn't stay the extra day. Finally, nearly 3 hours late, it was announced that the Jr. Classic was going to be shortened to 3 laps and Lap of Honour and F1/F2 race would follow. I didn't get to pay much attention to the Jr. Classic race what with scrutineering and getting ready for the lap myself. I started #14 and was passed by many faster bikes, but did pass a few myself.
|lining up on Glencrutchery Rd. to start Lap of Honour, photographer unknown|
|At Quarterbridge, Alan Lygo photo|
|rounding the Gooseneck on the Lap of Honour, photographer unknown|
|The flyscreen after the Lap, photographer unknown|
Tuesday, Mike and I crated up the bike and tools and spares. I had some time to kill in the afternoon, so I took a ride to Laxey. By the time I got there, the Laxey Wheel, a huge water wheel that was used to pump water out of the lead mine, had closed, but I was able to wander around some of the other old mining structures and see the train come through town on the Electric Railway. It's a charming trip back into the Victorian era.
|The Laxey Wheel|
|a flathead Norton outfit I spied at the Laxey Wheel|
|the leaf spring on the Norton sidecar|
Wednesday morning it was off to the airport to fly back to New York via Dublin and so ended another wonderful trip to that magic Isle.