TT 2019 All's Well That Ends Well

The TT is over for another year and it was in stark contrast TT 2018. The conditions for TT 2019 were said to be worst in living memory. The cancellations and postponements were unprecedented, in days of yore the weather has been as equally inclement. The difference being that practicing and racing would still go ahead, today it is considered to dangerous. Rider safety has to be paramount. Even if there were suitable tyres to race safely, there is no pleasure for the spectators and marshals being out in the wet and the cold, it is not a great experience.

Gary Thompson did a sterling job in keeping the programme moving and, in the end, running every race. Despite having to reduce the number of laps in some, it did mean that all of the riders got to race. I am not a fan of reduced lap races but this is preferable to no races. It was pleasing to see that the non qualifiers from Sidecar Race 1 were able to race in the second race on Thursday. It is rumoured that Brain Alflatt is retiring from TT racing, it was good to see him start and bring his Jock Grossart / Steve Gray Suzuki home in 22nd position. Aaron Gorman was in the chair.

There was no Radio TT this year, instead the festival was covered by Isle of Man Radio TT fuelled by Monster Energy. The pre TT communication about the change said:

Increased focus on qualifying and race action from the TT Mountain Course with virtually unbroken live qualifying and race commentary and new pre and post-race analysis programmes are at the heart of this year’s Isle of Man TT Radio fuelled by Monster Energy.

What it didn't say was that there would be no presence under the Grandstand, no TT breakfast, morning or afternoon shows, this was the heart of Radio TT. The 'Attention Paddock' and 'Parc Ferme' programmes were held at the Grandstand but from behind closed doors. This is the first year of the new format and I am sure, if they listen to the feedback, they will improve it for next year. I would like to see a next day review show to go over the race again and cover issues, such as retirements / riders personal records that were not covered in the commentary and also to give some time to the lesser lights.

Traditionally we have presented the Susan Jenness Trophy live on Radio TT, originally on Charlie Wiiliams breakfast show and then Chris Kinley's. The last couple of years we were privileged to present it on Jo Pack's afternoon show, It is a real shame that these avenues are no longer available and that Julie Canipa could not receive her trophy live on the radio. Hopefully next year we will be able to arrange to present it live on the radio.

I do not know what the road traffic incident figures are for the TT period, with the inclement weather I would have thought they would be down. The Mountain Road was still closed on far to many occasions due to crashes and then the inevitable police investigation. A record was set this year with it being closed within ten minutes of it opening as 'One Way' for the TT period; not a record to be proud of.

I chatted to Fiona Baker Holden on the quayside before departing, she was looking for the team as they had disappeared. She had enjoyed the TT, particularly John's two second places in the sidecar races. She also said that her physical condition had improved including her speech, it must be all that chatting to passers by in the paddock! Fiona's dad Tony had had another operation on his leg last Thursday, hopefully he will now make a full recovery. I asked her if he would race again, she replied not this year. You can read between the lines!

The Sunday morning Mannanin sailing to Liverpool was at capacity, the lower vehicle deck was full of bikes as was the mezzanine. Half way across the First Mate made an announcement apologising for leaving Douglas late and thanking us all for choosing to sail with the Steam Packet. This I thought was strange, what choice does anyone have it they want to bring a car, bike or van to the island? It is a monopoly and hence the exorbitant fares they charge. The delay was partly due to a medical emergency the previous day and to the volume of traffic. Given that they know exactly how many passengers they are carrying by foot, bike, car or van surely it is incumbent of them to put enough staff on to load the vessel safely on time. There is no consideration to passengers onward journey's or to offering a service commensurate to the fare charged.

Mannanin's vehicle deck on Sunday morning

As ever the TT is the TT. You cannot help but marvel at the riders who compete, each with their own personal goal. They are doing something most of us mere mortals can only dream about, riding around the Mountain Course on closed roads. Some people say that they have a screw loose or they are just plain bonkers. The truth is they all totally sane, nobody forces them to do what they do and they do it with the blessing of their families. Long may men and women be able to fulfill their ambitions by taking on the greatest challenge for man and machine.

At times things can and do go wrong, when they do the course can be unforgiving. At this years TT Daley Mathison lost his life after a crash at Snugborough during the Superbike race. Please spare a thought for his wife Natalie, his daughter, family and friends at this sad time

The men of the meeting were Peter Hickman, with a hat trick of wins, in the solos and the Birchall boys in the sidecars. Lee Johston achieving his first TT win, Michael Dunlop winning his 19th TT and his families 50th. Dean Harrison for a memorable Senior TT and the 'Dad's Army' podium for the TT Zero.The consistency of James Hillier and John Holden / Lee Cain and the performances of the Crowe brothers and Maria Costello / Julie Canipa in the chairs. Dominic Herbertson for lapping just under 130 mph in the Senior, so many brilliant performances

Francois Leblond and passenger Marlene Coulliard with their finishes medals after coming 18th in the IM Locate Sidecar Race 2

The debriefs, by the organisers, will be underway this week and next, then planning for TT 2020 will commence on the back of the information gleaned. Hopefully the weather will be kinder next year.

Thank you to Simon Crellin and the TT Press and Race Offices, also to Phil Edge Press Office for the Colas Billown Circuit.

Marshal's Bike......Modern art, a bike made by the QB marshals out of the bits collected on the road.

Monster Entertainment.......Monster Energy stunt entertainment in Nobles Park

Photographs by Mike Hammonds

Mike Hammonds