TT Washout

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 Peel.

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:

Mike Hammonds