Tuesday, 25 August 2009

First Practice - Good to be Back

The ground shakes in Parc Ferme as more than a hundred bikes are being warmed up. The classics with their booming megaphone exhausts sound awesome... the smell of Castrol R in the air. Riders readying themselves to go out and take on the fearsome TT mountain course - you can feel the tension and excitement. Parc Ferme as the riders go out to practice... a fantastic place to be!

I'm in the Ultralightweight class on the wee monster and our session is last. 10 minutes before we go out and it starts getting really dark. I nip back to the van and fit my clear visor. I get back to Parc Ferme and the riders in my class are heading out. I'm right at the back of the queue and couldn't see that most of the bikes in front of me are stationary and the peeps around are mechanics, waiting for their riders to come in from earlier sessions and change bikes for the last session. Doh! I start the wee bike up and push my way through the mayhem. Before I know it I'm facing down Glencrutchery road with the start marshal's hand on my shoulder.

He taps my shoulder and I go bombing off down Glencrutchery road. The wee monster is cold and I take it easy... Bray Hill is still a rush! Man, it's good to be back!

The 620cc air-cooled lump only gets warm enough a good 8 miles into the lap... I start to open her out a bit more. She just about revs out down Cronk-y-voddy. Note: gearing too short. The bike is quite flighty over the bumps and coming out of Parliament Square in Ramsey I get a bit of a tank-slapper. Note: change geometry of bike to stabilise over the bumps. I have an easy and steady lap, just feeling and listening to the bike. Everything on the course is just like I remember it from 3 years ago. I revel in the feeling of hooning along this hallowede course on dclosed roads.

It gets really dark coming over the mountain as the fog was closing in and I knew this would be my only lap. Bad light stops play and I get a red flag by the time I'm going down Glencrutchery road again. No worries... big grin!

My mates Neil Vicars, Mike Minns and Simon Mara all got out and did 2 laps in the first session on their Junior bikes and one lap in the last session on their Ultralightweight/Post Classic bikes. 3 laps - I sould have been with them on the BAMF in the first session and got 3 laps for the day. But I'm happy to be back... happy the wee monster did a lap without shitting itself like the last Ducati I took around here.

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