Another scorcher of a day. After a late breakfast, accompanied by the dulcit tones of ‘Tie A Yellow Ribbon Around The Old Oak Tree’ (the instrumental version of course – such is the time-warp the Island lives in!), we (partner Helen and I) jumped on an electric tram to Laxey and then caught the bus to Ramsey.
Hmmm, great having no car to worry about but the bus wasn’t great. Packed out.
Interesting to earwig a local lady on the bus though. She was saying how the Manx authorities are claiming that the number of visitors was at the same level as 2006. No one expected the same levels as last year but I think everyone would be happy to see 2006 levels of support for the Isle of Man TT.
But she had an interesting theory, which she either came up with herself or heard on the radio, but makes good sense to me. She reckons that people aren’t coming for the full Isle of Man TT anymore – by that I assume she meant from Thursday of practice week (when the bulk of the fans have always arrived) to Friday after the Senior. She reckons they’re coming in dribs and drabs and staying only a couple or three days. I’m not saying she’s right but it might explain why the Island seems quiet.
You used to be able to get all the way from Douglas to Ramsey on the tram but the second leg of the journey has been curtailed, at least for the time being, because the line has been condemned. I truly hope they fix it because it’s such a part of the Manx heritage.
On a sunny day the Manx countryside is absolutely stunning and letting the tram take the strain really allows you to enjoy it to the full. The ride to Laxey is wonderful, but, if memory serves, from Laxey to Ramsey it’s absolutely stunning.
Ramsey was actually quite busy with motorbikes, which wasn’t a surprise seeing how gorgeous the weather was. And I spotted some interesting stuff too, including some more of those Kawasaki triples I spoke about in a previous blog.
And a Laverda Jota with Difazio hub-centre steering. Very trick-looking even after all these years. A Desmo Ducati 450 single and a Malaguti two-stroke single.
Wonder how far they’d ridden from to get to the Isle of Man. Saw two guys jump on a mini-bike and disappear up May Hill along the Isle of Man TT course. Wonder how far they were heading?
We had lunch in Bar Logo, a kind of sports bar, without the sports. They’ve got the TVs but they were dialled into Sky News, at least they were when we were eating. Only on the Island. At least the food was okay.
Got back into Douglas late afternoon just as they were putting the finishing touches to the motocross course on the beach. I decided I could multi-task: go to the gym and get a birds-eye view of the racing from the cycling-machine in the window overlooking the prom.
But the track action seemed interspersed by stoppages to call in the medics and I quickly lost my enthusiasm. Besides, concentrating on breathing was more the order of the day after getting on for an hour on the bicycle…..
I wasn’t too knackered to spot possibly the coolest bikes at the Isle of Man TT though - a pair of ‘customised’ Kawasaki WR650s. Well they may not have been to most people’s tastes but I like garage-built chops and these two motorbikes, while not chops were certainly home modified.
With clip-on bars, tape-wrapped pipes, tiny headlights, hacked off fenders (good lord, one of them had no front fender at all your honour), they just looked like a pair of hardcore, minimalist bar-hoppers and appealed to my sense of humour, right down to the Rat Fink sticker on the side panel. Made my TT they both did. Luverely.
Back to racing tomorrow. Hopefully. The forecast is shite. There’s a band of rain coming in from the west. But they said that Monday and look how great it turned out. Fingers crossed then.