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It's TT Time - For Some

Blog Date - 24 May 2017

When I first got into motorcycling as an 18 year old yoof I wanted to be the real deal, the whole shebang and a proper biker. Proper bikers had Harleys and Kwakker 900s and GS1000s (Suzuki not BMW). They were scruffy, had long hair (if they had any hair) and drank Newcastle Brown Ale. I managed scruffy with long hair bit, the rest I failed at miserably.

Ren as an 18 year old
Hair - Check. Scruffy - Check. Everything else - Fail.

An essential part of being a biker, especially an English biker, was going to the TT races on The Isle Of Man. I'd hear tales of heroes on machines so fast they were a blur, of drunken nights and ladies flashing their breasts in the streets and names like Jurby and Dunlop and Sulby and Creg-ny-Bah. In my imagination the whole island was one big biker's paradise where anything goes and everyone is happy.

Jurby junk - a steel clad building containing a vast array of junk on the Isle of Man
Jurby Junk is...erm...filled with junk.

Being a somewhat feckless youth I had neither the money or the guile to actually organise myself enough to get there. Now the years have rolled by and with them came some degree of fiscal solvency and a much larger dose of cynicism and reality. This week sees the start of the TT Races once more and I find myself asking why I no longer feel the urge to attend.

Youth is wasted on the young and age is wasted on the old. 

Now I am old enough to scrape together enough cash to pay for a ferry ticket, camping fees, food and drink the idea of being on a small island with 40,000 other motorcyclists no longer appeals. I'm not a fan of crowds and because I am teetotal I don't relish the idea of being surrounded by hundreds of drunken people. I'd much rather find a quiet tabac in France to drink tea or pop while watching the French folks being French. 

Sharon and I went to the Isle Of Man (Isle Of Man 2014) a few weeks after the races and we had a splendid time. The island is pretty, varied, friendly and fascinating. It brought me great pleasure to visit the places I'd heard so much about over the years as well as explore others I'd never heard of. A visit to the island is worthwhile, for myself it was all the better for being fairly quiet with just a healthy sprinkling of motorcyclists to wave at as we rode around.

The race track at the bungalow, IOM. Today it's just a regular road with a little light traffic
Soon there will be crowds watching the racers whizzing past the Bungalow.

If you're a fan of the TT races, the TT atmosphere, the TT crowds and the TT experience then may I wish you all a fantastic and safe event, it is one of the greatest motorcycle events worldwide. I understand the attraction but you'll have to excuse me as I prefer a calmer and more sedate experience these days.

Castletown harbour and beach peaceful and quiet in the summer sun
Castletown Harbour, Peaceful and relaxed.

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Reader's Comments

Borsuk said :-
I am not a great fan of spectator sports, even of the the sports I actively did when I was younger and a lot fitter, and as for paying good hard earned money to watch someone else play, well my mind just boggles.
I have been in Singapore twice when the F1 was on and once in Dubai and happily waved my colleagues off as they went to watch the race. They came back several hours later, half deaf, dehydrated or skint as you had to get your refreshment from the onsite vendors at scalpers prices. The view they had was for about 60 meters of the track with a five foot high safety barrier and people packed shoulder to shoulder so all they saw was the tops the cars as they came around the bend for about 2 seconds. They claim they had a great day and it was worth it. I on the other hand watched the race on my own, in the ship's bar with fridges full of cold drinks, all the munchies I wanted, the stereo system playing loud music to cover the sound of Murray Walker and 6 toilets within 30 seconds travel. Personally I don't think I lost anything by not being in the crowd with the rest of the guys.

If you are going to watch these things best to do it in comfort is my view. And it's a lot cheaper, which appeals to my Scottish heritage. Though by Yorkshire standards I am probably considered a spendthrift.
24/05/2017 20:44:22 UTC
Stuart said :-
I too am happy to leave the TT to mainly younger folk now but did go there for about 5 years in a row in the 80s.

In contrast to the F1 experience it was amazing to be sitting on a wall a small pavements width away from the track at the end of the Sulby straight.

I also had Mick Grant pull alongside me at a set of traffic lights on his race bike and of course there was the mountain section of the course with no speed limits.

So I hope all that go have a good safe time but if I go again it will be with the family when the TT has finished.

24/05/2017 21:51:37 UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
We're all different and all quite unique. I too don't fancy watching an F1 race from within a packed stand or stood by a fence, I'd rather see it on the telly. I do appreciate the glint in the eyes of the people I talk to who've been to the Isle Of Man and the passion with which they speak.

A friend of mine has just posted on facebook that she's off to the races today and she's more excited than a puppy with a new squeaky toy. She's about the same age as me so it not just an age thing. Some people "get it", I guess I don't.
25/05/2017 09:38:00 UTC

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