What a difference a year makes, last
years wall to wall sunshine replaced by rain, wind and low lying
cloud across the hills. Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson has had
some very difficult decisions to make and also some taken right out
of his hands by the weather. Wednesday's decision was a foregone
conclusion, the weather putting paid to any likelihood of practice.
Thursday was a different matter, the afternoon session being
abandoned but the evening was touch and go and this is where Gary
really earns his corn. In constant contact with the met office,
course officials and travelling marshals he left it until the final
moment. The tetra radio informed the marshals that there were
fifteen minutes until road closing and initial preparations were put
in place, the bikes would have already been through scrutineering
and waiting in the Parc Ferme. Within five minutes the announcement
came that the nights practice would also have to be abandoned,
another rewritten practice schedule confined to the bin.
Practicing would now provisionally take place Friday afternoon and
evening weather permitting and also on Saturday. The Superbike and
Sidecar races being moved to Sunday. Racing on Sunday isn't ideal
because it impinges on Mad Sunday events including the festivities
at Peel Day.
I am still not convinced about the new radio format, I think
dropping the morning chat show is a big mistake. Chris Boyd holds
'Attention Paddock' half an hour before practice begins and then 'Parc
Ferme' after practice finishes, the variety of guests do not appear
to match those of the axed early morning, Chris Kinley, chat shows.
It is difficult to plan anything with certain when the programme is
constantly changing but I have still managed to visit the Sound and
The Sound, Calf of Man
A must to visit in Peel is Alan Kelly's Mannin Collections Shop, he
has a variety of memorabilia on show. Mike Hailwood's pudding basin
helmet circa 1966, complete with crash scratches.
He also has Jock Taylor and Benga
Johansson's helmets plus a variety of others.
There are couple of 125cc bikes in
the shop that were raced by Ian Lougher and Chris Palmer and
cabinets with TT and MGP replicas displayed. These include a Charlie
Williams cabinet, one dedicated to Chas Mortimer and Mike Hailwood.
Alan will discuss all things TT with you, he is a font of knowledge.
If you are on the island pay him a visit.
A trip round the paddock in the morning with my step grandsons, it
is their first visit to the island and to the TT. We go autograph
hunting, they didn't quite have the same gusto as I did at their
age!! The riders we meet are great with them, Lee Johnston, Lewis
Blackstock, Jaime Coward, Ian Lougher, Estelle and Francoise Leblond.
Paul Owen regaled the story of when his son Thomas was born, on
Thursday he celebrated his 19th birthday. It is crazy how time
flies. It is lovely that they spend time with the kids, when they go
back at the weekend they will then be looking out for their riders
on the ITV4 programmes.
Photographs by Mike Hammonds: