I have been married more than half my life, lived in five
different houses, worked in three separate careers and my family holidays
have taken me almost round the world................
Yet I have been making an annual
pilgrimage to an island for OVER sixty years. It has become a major
part of my life but there have been times when I have nearly had to give it
However as soon as the "buzz" starts in February I am booking my boat,
confirming my homestay and phoning my friends on the Island.
annual trip is never the same each year.
I become involved in many things
whilst I am on the Island in different guises, having performed as
media representative, entrant, and guide.
It all starts immediately
after returning home from the TT when I file away all the information I
have accumulated. It is still stored away carefully in case I need it but
with the advent of Computers the facts can now be sourced from
However I am pleased to receive the odd call to test my memory of those golden days gone by. Often they come late at night to settle pub quiz arguments.
Then in September, I have my family holiday and more or less forget the TT until
Christmas when all the cards from my TT friends have the message "see you
in May" written inside in felt tip pen...
I phone the number burned
into my memory (01624 661661) and confirm the Steam Packet booking I
tentatively arranged on leaving the Island. I am allocated my sailing
number and basically that is the main thing I need to do at this
stage----Get there. Then I watch my e-mails as they arrive from all the
corners of the world---only a few years ago I had to depend upon phone
calls or letters---relating the plans of riders and friends which I turn
into a list.
Then I tell my
wife I am going again !!! I wipe the blood off my mouth and start packing
although it is not even Easter yet...
I receive Press Accreditation thanks to the Press Office team and now get into the
swing of things, producing reports about local riders for local
papers. I make sure I go on local radio and T.V. to tell the general
public of the approach of the TT.
Then I choose one of the works
sponsored teams to follow. I have been pleased to be associated with
Suzuki, Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha, MZ, Aprilia, Britten, Norton and others over the years.
I become privy to their plans thanks to people such as Barry Symmons, Mick Grant, Rex White, Martin Studer and the like, and receive their press releases as
soon as they are produced.
And so the day dawns when my
car is filled with cases, cameras and computers and I set off on the drive up to Liverpool to catch the boat.
have already said goodbye to the Missus and my son who tell me to have a
good time but I still think they see this all as a bit of a threat or
something. The car hardly touches the road as I make the run up to the
'pool and start meeting up with other TT-bound fans on bikes, in cars and
waiting in service stations.
Once on the ferry we know we are on our
way with no turning back as the Mersey disappears into the distance. A
meal and a few drinks later and we are looking for George Formby and his
ukulele... The sailing time is much less these days and we all turn our
heads to watch "The Island" getting bigger an' bigger.
We dock, we disembark and I do a
lap of the course to prove I am there.
I phone the Missus from up
on the Verandah to let her know I have arrived safely then go to the
homestay which is waiting with yet another meal.
It all falls into
place after this as I throw myself into the whole Isle of Man TT. Frankly
it is no holiday but it is a great chance to forget all the problems left
back on the mainland. The practices, trips round the course with
riders and fans and late nights, extend the whole body and all one
can experience is a feeling of absolute elation as the TT unfolds.
invites to a wealth of functions and do the rounds. I spend time "doing a
bit" with Manx Radio TT, thanks
to Charlie Williams and also take new
"TT virgins" out on a lap in the car (sometimes with a rider) or to my favourite
places to watch the racing. I enjoy seeing the TT again through their eyes
and I do my best to explain everything about the event.
TT FAN WITH DAVID HAILWOOD, SON OF THE GREAT MIKE (ajaxphotos)
work because many come back the following year to see the TT again. I
update my Websites as I go along and I try to bring into the picture the
"also-rans" on which the TT depends. I relate the ups and downs of the
riders I have entered, and watch with pleasure, as they respond to the little bit of extra
publicity. I log their lap times and their progress and take masses of
video, which I can put through a digitiser on my laptop and pick out a
single frame that can go on the website. ( Since this was written, I have invested in FOUR quality digital cameras)...
The TT is a rare experience
indeed and one I love deeply.
TT FAN WITH DENNIS IRELAND CLASSIC TT WINNER 1982
All too soon it is time to leave the
island and as we all wave goodbye we all say "SEE YOU NEXT YEAR" and we
mean it. I arrive home exhausted but refreshed and ready to tackle
anything --- even the Missus!
The lounge is full of bags with press
releases, press office info and all the stuff classified as give-aways.
The Missus calls it rubbish......... I sort it all out and begin to file it
Then I crash out for thirty-six hours.......................................
ROLL ON NEXT