Sunday, 2 September 2012

ManxGP 2012 - Day 14 - Senior Race

The big one – Senior race day. Up early to get my shit together and big bike to skrootineering. Bike through skrootineering and into Parc Firme… setup on tyre warmers and ready to race at 13h15. Hurry up and wait – racing on the Isle of Man is a lot like war.
The start of the Classic Superbike race - I get more nervous and excited watching other races start than I do when I'm racing. Crazy.

Due to the weather closing in, the Senior race is to start 15 minutes early. Tyre warmers on nice and early to give those shoes and wheels a nice and toasty, eat, chill, go through the pit stop with Ian and Alex, change and up to Parc Firme in good time. Up to Glencrutchery Road and line up #38 on the road. The race gets underway on time.
Team for the Senior Race - Ian on fuel and Alex on drinks, visor and screen

Pretty soon it’s my turn to stare down Glencrutchery Road. Starter’s hand on my shoulder… this time I don’t wait for the tap, but watch the start flag… every tenth counts! Blast down to St Ninians flat out, jump, I hit the next rise and she wheelies again… I roll slightly but keep her going down Bray Hill. “Whump!”  - through the bottom of Bray Hill and then more wheelies over Agos. With a full tank of gas I go steady into Quarterbridge.
On to Braddan Bridge, Snugborough and Union Mills… a good, steady start. I feel my way around the turns through Glen Helen where the rain flags are displayed… finding the water across the road in the same places as Wednesday. I make a mental note of where they are then get the hammer down after Sarah’s Cottage. I start to push.
Waiting for the flag to drop

I go quicker through most sections than I have ever been before… eeking out those extra few mph through every turn. Big Betty feels better and faster than anything I have ever ridden around here. She gives me the confidence to push. Faster, faster… faster!

As I approach Ballaugh Bridge - in the few seconds breathing time where I’m not pushing the big girl through turns between stone walls and hedges I think to myself:
“That’s more like it!”
“Just keep doing what you’re doing for four more laps.”

I hit Ballaugh Bridge and make one of my best jumps ever. “Boom!” and I get on the gas hard for the run down to Ballacrye. “Bwaaaaaap!”
What the fuck?
She’s running on one cylinder. My heart sinks as I coast to a stop. I restart her a few times, but she just limps with one cylinder firing. “Fuuuuuuuuck!”
I’m on a flat-out section, approaching the blind, fast (and a bit scary) Ballacrye. My mate Tim Devlin comes flying past. I decide it’s too dangerous to nurse her to the next Marshal post on Ballacrye as bikes are whipping past every 10 seconds now. The next marshal post with anything other than a few Marshals is at Sulby – a good few miles down the track.

My race is over.
Betty parked up as the race continues

I park the bike up against the garage and have a look if I can see anything wrong. No oil, not strange sounds... just running on one cylinder. The jump over Ballaugh must have moved a wire or uplugged something.
Mike Minns started well but pulled out after lap 2 becasue of deteriorating conditions

I sit on the garden wall to watch the race. On lap four and it starts to drizzle… I cheer on my mates. Dennis Booth is having a cracking race and is right up the front. I later learn that he had a 40 second lead, but crashed at the 33rd milestone… just 4 miles from winning. He lost the front in the rain and fog and went careening down the mountain. He was airlifted to Nobles Hospital and lucky to get away with just bashes and bruises.
The owner of the house where I parked up likes tractors...

There is a long wait after the last bike and the travelling marshals go past. I start to get cold and wet. I ran up and down the driveway to keep warm. There was nobody at home but I found a shed behind the house… I lay down and got some shut-eye with a cat and tractor.

My company for the afternoon

Not too warm, or comfortable... but dry

I wake to the sound of bikes going past – it’s the parade lap. Nearly three hours after breaking down, all the old-timers are through and the roads open. Soon Ian and Alex arrive with the van and we load up and trudge back to the house in the rain and fog.


Not too pleased


  1. What a fucker!.
    At least your crash free though, and had some fast riding.
    Some good races at rye house will be just the tonic!!.

  2. Getting home from the MGP in one piece is a good result ,well done ,,,,