MIKE HAMMONDS TT BLOG PAGES
TT 2022 BLOG FIVE
The comments and views expressed in these bloggs are mine and do not reflect the views of the
TT SUPPORTERS CLUB
The Simon Andrews memorial lap returned to the TT course today with thousands of bikers taking part. At one stage the parade stretched from Sulby all the way back to Ballacraine. A tremendous turn out for the much missed rider.
The paddock was very busy spectator wise but also from the riders point of view. Michael Rutter was promoting his second book and signing copies for the fans and Michael Dunlop was busy fettling his bike.
Michael Rutter promoting and signing his latest book: 'The Life of a Racer volume 2 Flesh and Blood'
Preparation is everything, Michael Dunlop leaving nothing to chance work
Mark Goodings was happy with his progress throughout the first week and delighted with his 16th place and bronze replica in the Superbike Race on his LMT Motorsport Kawasaki ZX-10R. He had progressed his lap times during the qualifying week culminating with a fastest lap of 123.220 mph in the race. He said that he could not remember Sulby straight being so bumpy as it is now.
New proposals for TT 2023 have been released with qualifying being held between Monday 29th May 2023 and Friday 2nd June 2023. This will mean the Pre TT Classic races will take place on Friday, Saturday and Sunday the 26th, 27th and 28th May 2023.
The race programme starts on Saturday 3rd June with the first Supersport race and this will be followed by the first Sidecar Race. Mad Sunday is under threat because the Superbike is pencilled in for Sunday 4th June. Racing then continues on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday when the Senior will be run. The changes are designed to increase the popularity of the TT, both in terms of visitor numbers and both broadcast and online audiences.
The traditional Marshal’s supper was held at the VIP suite at the Grandstand on Sunday evening. The evening was hosted by 8 times TT winner Charlie Wiiliams. Charlie won the LIghtweight MGP in 1971 which was when I first started marshalling. He was also runner up to John Williams and Chas Mortimer respectively in the 1972 250cc Production Race and ultra-Lightweight TT when I first marshalled at the TT in 1972. It was an honour and a pleasure to have him on stage when I received my 50 year long service award presented by Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson.
Back in the early 1970’s the Marshal’s Supper was held at the Douglas Head Hotel where there was a free bar and many worse for wear marshals! In those days the late Allan Robinson MBE conducted proceedings, a man who loved the TT and raced in the 1966 and 1968 50cc TT’s. Supper was always a crusty steak pie!!
The food at the VIP suite was excellent, plentiful and healthy!! A choice of chicken or salmon with king prawns and accompanying potatoes, vegetables and salad. The sweet was a chocolate brownie with a blackberry coulis and cream. All very delicious. The free bar is a very distant memory, we were given a single drink voucher which could be exchanged for a soft or alcoholic drink.
The invitation for the evening was from 7 - 11pm but was wrapped up just after 10 o’clock. It is virtually impossible to make a single drink last 3 hours!! Outside the venue at the Trackside bar a pint of bitter cost £4.00 however inside the VIP suite a pint of bitter was £4.50. Making marshals pay premium prices inside the venue when they give up to 45 hours of unpaid time is somewhat mean. By comparison a pint of Bushy’s beer at the Villa Marina Gardens is £3.50 but there is a £2.00 entrance fee. All marshals receive a free beer voucher for Bushy’s in their marshal’s pack.
Competitors Michael Rutter, Gary Johnson, Nathan Harrison, Peter Founds, Jevan Walmsley, John Holden and ex racer Fiona Baker-Holden attended to thank the marshals. Michael Rutter, supported by Gary Johnson, were not in favour of how the radio commentary is being done and said they wanted the commentary boxes back around the course. This was supported by the marshals with a loud applause.
Fiona Baker-Holden is still recovering from injuries sustained in the 2018 TT when she and dad Tony crashed in the Sky Hill section of the course. Fiona suffered head and shoulder / arm injuries. The nerve damage in her arm means that she will never be able to have the strength to hold on to be a passenger in a sidecar again.. She gave a very moving and emotional talk about the after effects of her crash and the resultant rehabilitation for the head injuries she suffered. As part of this rehabilitation she has written a poetry book about her experiences in recovering from the crash and donated a copy to the marshals draw. The proceeds of the book are going to mental health charities.
Twice sidecar TT winner John Holden was bitterly disappointed that he could not compete in this year’s TT. Unfortunately both his passenger and then replacement passenger, Jason Pitt and Dan Sayle, dropped out. Jason bravely said it was too much for him and Dan was not race fit. Both Fiona and John have joined the Orange Army and are marshalling out on the course which is great to see.
Mark Goodings at Creg-ny-Baa during qualifying. He was moved up to #31 for the Superbike race.