28. kesä, 2018

T.T. Race and family time on the Isle of Man

I’m watching a group of motorbikes fly towards me at an incredible speed. I’ve got a spot at the very end of a straight, and I see as the bikes slow down and lean in for a steep right corner, almost touching the pavement as they do so. Instead of music, the speakers of the pub next door are blasting out passionate narration from the commentator. Thousands of motorsport fans have gathered around the T.T. course today. This section cutting through Ramsey town centre, is pretty packed too. Many of the spectators themselves are also dressed in racing leathers. The sun is shining, beer is flowing, cameras are clicking and the atmosphere is soaring!

It’s only practice week, and yet still the fastest adrenaline junkies get around the 37,7mile (60,72km) course in under 17 minutes. This means that the average riding speed used on this narrow and bendy road is just over 200kmph. The T.T. Is considered to be the world’s most dangerous motorbike race, due to the challenging course, which uses mountainous, ordinary roads, cutting through villages and towns.

 

Soon enough we receive a terrible reminder of the ever-present dangers of road racing. Red flags are raised to signal that the race has been stopped and the emergency vehicles whizz howling into action. We hear that there has been an accident, a promising young rider, Dan Kneen, has driven off the course and died immediately. It seems both sad and surreal, since we only just watched him ride past! I scroll though my photos and before long, I come across a photo of him, rider no:8. The practice gets cancelled for the day and the deflated viewers disperse to their various places of accommodation. We feel extremely sorry for what has happened and wish our deepest sympathies on the family, who have sacrificed so much for this sport.


Our own place of accommodation is only a five minute walk away. On our way there we walk past Epeli, who’s waiting by the roadside for now, because we’ve moved in with our daughters family for a couple of weeks. We end up watching the racing many times over the following two weeks, but what’s even more fascinating than road racing, is playing with our grandkids who have grown a lot over the past couple of years. Watching them go about their day is so much fun! The sunny, summer days afford us many opportunities for walks in the island’s beautiful nature, plenty of ice cream, trips to the park and throwing skipping stones in the Irish Sea.