Saturday August 25th
Dear Family & Friends,
Another day on the Isle of Man has been exciting with good and sad.
The island is just as I remembered it. A beautiful Victorian Era resort area. The excitement is in the air, and lots of motorcycles and motorcyclist every where you look. It is fun being in a city where where ever you go everyone has something in common and a reason to start a conversation. People attend this event from all over the world so it is an interesting crowd.
Today we went to Parliament Square in Ramsey to watch the first day of racing. We rode a bit around the island which is spectacular all on its own, and I did some more shopping. I got the word from Bonnie that tea towels were not cutting it….
I have been active in racing my whole life as both a spectator and competitor. Racing is special sport. It is such a combination of talent, daring, engineering skill, team work, and passion.
Racing is inherrentally dangerous. Some forms far more than others, but at the very top of the danger list is Isle of Man motorcycle races. Far more dangerous than any other competition sport. Since it is an amateur event many professional riders are not allowed to race here by their teams for fear they will get hurt or worst.
This event has been going on over 100 years. In that time they lose about 4 riders a year here to crashes. Today an event like this could never be duplicated, it is just too dangerous but since it has such rich history and brings in so much money to the island it keeps going.
What makes this race so much more dangerous is that it is run on normal public streets. A dedicated race track is designed for safety with plenty of run off room, nothing solid to hit, gravel and grass to slow you down if you fall, and a smooth surface to race on.
The Isle of Man circuit is just a public road with all the normal pot holes, imperfections, water hear and there, and absolutely NO run off room. If you go down you are going to hit something, and most likely hit it hard. The track is lined in many areas with stone walls, brick buildings, trees, and curbs.
Today we saw a young man crash right in front of us. He was so lucky in that he went down at a relatively slow part of the track and was able to skid across a parking area and never hit anything. He got up disappointed but unhurt.
Last night another rider was not that fortunate. He was 62 years old, had been racing here for 39 years and his luck ran out. He went down at a very fast part of the track and hit a wall. He did not survive.. Why these men and women do this event is hard to understand. There is no prize money or international fame. They just do it for the shear joy and thrill of conquering the nearly impossible. They all must know that there is a chance they could be the next fatality, but thy seem to always believe it will be the other competitor.
I know from how I feel and most enthusiast I know that this is NOT a blood sport. No one wants to come here and see anyone get hurt or worst but we seem to accept that it is a possibility.. I know it has really upset me in a way that is hard to ignore.. Life is full of chances and risk, but this is beyond a level of risk I would ever take. I hate to see someone pay the price for my entertainment, although I doubt that was what he was thinking at the time. I don’t think I would have even written this blog to night but I had to vent a bit, I hope you understand.
Tomorrow it is off to a motorcycle show, a much safer event.
For a few photos of the races and the island go to my blog.
An evening stroll along the ocean front. The capital city, where we are staying, is called Douglas and sits right on the bay facing the Irish Sea.
Great way to greet the day… A warm cup of joe, outside, facing a street full of motorcycles…
In the morning I like to get up early and stroll along the beach front when it is quiet and peaceful.
Douglas is a beautiful Victorian era city. In it’s hay day it was a fashionable resort for the wealthy of the Victorian era, the late 1800s.
At night it really is beautiful. These photos don’t do it justice but the city and sea side are all lit up.
My kind of place….
Here a rider went down right in front of us, but with good luck he went down where there was nothing to hit and walked away from it.. The first thing he did was walk to the edge, pull out his cell phone, and I am guessing called his wife to say he was OK, or to his mechanics to come get the bike and fix it!
Some action in the are known as Parliament Square in the city of Ramsey.
This poor rider was on his first lap when a bolt fell out and he lost his rear brake.
Great classic motorcycles everywhere you look, just parked in the street.
In front of this hotel on the sidewalk was a very valuable Vincent Blackshadow casually parked for everyone to see.
I got to talking to the owner of this unusual custom bike. He was from New Zealand and came over with his motorcycle just for this event. The bike is a special with a Norton Commando frame and a Triumph Trident motor.
Here is a Vincent special. So many Vincents they started to look common…. no, just kidding, they are ALWAYS special.
A custom, road going Rob North Triumph Trident special.
One of only 20 every made, an ultra rare Norton Rotary that some wealthy collector rode here.
All over the Isle of Man there are classic buildings and quaint towns.
Another Vincent,,,, just leave your $100,000 motorcycle anywhere. Of course it is a small island so if you steal it where do you go next??
Lots of nautical history on the Isle
Couldn’t do a blog without some food? Above was my shrimp cocktail from last night.
This was my ribeye diner.. It was excellent. They bring out the steak raw and you set it on a very hot rock and it cooks it just how you like it. That is why the restaurant was named “On The Rocks”. Clever?