Friday, 30 August 2019
The racing in the Isle of Man devides opinion like no other discipline in our chosen and I hasten to say this ‘lifestyle’ that we follow, the detractors say that we lose too many competitors in horrendous accidents, life’s are snuffed out in milli-seconds by an error in judgement, clipping a kerb or running into a bend too fast, machine failure, or a hundred and one other reasons that at the speeds, racing on normal roads with all the associated road furniture all too often prove fatal to the riders.
No one is forced to race at the Isle of Man, be it the Tourist Trophy, the Classic or the Manx GP, there are no World Championship points at stake as there was back in the day, the racers, their nearest and dearest and associates all know the risks involved when they head off across St. Ninians crossroads and onto the fearful drop of Bray Hill on the Glencrutchery Road.
The men and women who choose to do these races are chasing something that we mere mortals can only dream of, to compete here is the ultimate test of bravery, skill, endurance and determination and I have nothing but the utmost respect for each and every rider, from the well established winners with their names etched onto that famous ‘silver lady’ to the bloke who comes last, but, who has still managed to finish a race at the Island.
I must admit to having mixed feelings about Agostini’s appearance at this years festival, here is the man who was vehemently against the TT and ultimately got it dropped from the World Championship standings and yet continues to enjoy a handsome payday from cruising around on an old MV Agusta in the parade lap and selling loads of merchandise on the back of it. And yet, here is an absolute legend, ex world champion and probably Mike the Bikes greatest rival, who am I to deny that Giacomo Agostini should not enjoy a leisurely trundle and enjoy the experience in his twilight years and yet I feel that after all this we should really be supporting the right of choice of the modern day competitors to take on the Mountain Course.
As soon as the second motorcycle was built men and women have wanted to race each other, this year we lost Chris Swallow and as tragic as this is I cannot imagine for one second that his father, the legendary Bill Swallow would be calling for the races to be banned, in the Classic Lightweight and Manx GP we saw the emergence of James Hind, a baby faced 19 year old who despite getting a 30 second penalty for speeding in the pit lane still managed to get a third place in the 250 junior classic, two lightweight wins and two lap records, [one from a standing start!]
Yes, the stakes are high and sometimes tragic but in this world of mission statements, health and safety and rigid control there’s something ultimately life affirming about the right to choose wether to race and place ones destiny in the lap of whichever god you follow. Stay tuned race fans, Loads of photos and wordy bollocks to follow about my own experience over on the Island........