IoM TT 2015 Part 2 – Dunlop Dramas! – Pictures

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    IoM TT 2015 Part 2 – Dunlop Dramas!

    I emerged from my pit on the Monday morning, well rested and ready for action. We were reasonably well organised in our little house; I had nipped out for some provisions early doors and now Andy whipped up a tasty breakfast for Don, Steve and me. Meanwhile our noisy neighbours Geoff, Ollie and Mick had to trundle off to the nearby cafe, muttering darkly under their breath. We didn’t tell them we had also prepared packed lunches in readiness for the days racing….
    Sadly the start of the events had been delayed as somebody had an accident just before the roads had been closed. A salutary reminder of the islands darker side…We had decided to take in the days actions at Laurel Bank initially, only a couple of miles north of Peel. It was a bit of trek to get track side from where we parked the bikes up, but some truly lush views more than made up for it.

    The walk down to the track is a little more picturesque than the one at Donington!

    You could tell it was a good spot as there was a TV tower on the corner for the cameras. However for today the race directors had chosen not to position any cameras there. They were going to regret that shortly….
    Geoff, the quiet, shy and retiring member of our group (!)  decided that he wanted to join the throng already gathered on the unused TV gantry vantage point, but there was nowhere to sit. So being a resourceful chap he spotted a few planks going spare nearby field and them with some assistance from certain short, fat biker who remain nameless but rides a Thundercat (ahem)…we duly increased the capacity! One happy Geoff!

    Fast, flowing bends

    First action was a practice session for the 600s, but things had barely got under way when drama struck…and we were in a prime spot to watch as events unfolded right in front of us. William Dunlop crashed heavily on the approach to laurel bank, just out of our sight and the session was promptly red flagged. Next thing we know the Air Ambulance appears overhead and touches down in a field right behind us. Then looking up the track we see the extra ordinary sight of Michael Dunlop acting as a stretcher bearer for his stricken brother. They carried him a long way from the crash scene and right past us, before loading him on the chopper to be whisked away for treatment. It turned out that Michael had realised the fallen racer was his brother and immediately pulled up and leapt off his bike to aid his brother.

    Brother comes to aid of brother…

    Once his brother was safely ensconced in the chopper he hobbled back past us to his own race bike. He was clearly still feeling the effects of his accident the previous day. Moments later he rode back past us to rousing applause. We later learnt that William, whilst battered, had not been badly hurt, thank goodness.  The Dunlop legend and how the history of the family and the TT are irrevocably intertwined grew just a little bit more right in front of our eyes.
    We watched the practice and the side car race from here, and the atmosphere was great as we chatted away with fellow race fans from Northern Ireland and from as far afield as New Zealand. We were a little saddened that Roy Hanks had to pull out of the sidecar racing…he runs a small bike shop in Brum and services and MOTs some of our bikes. It would have been great to cheer on a local hero.  The race was won by the Birchall brothers by the way.

    The passengers are brave folk…

    Don surveying his lands….

    Once the race was over we clambered back up the hill to our bikes and we the roads re-opened for a while before the next race action made our way to Kirk Michael. It feels a little weird riding on the same roads as where only minutes before full on racing had been taken place…it is a little surreal almost. We couldn’t get a good Vantage point here so we span around and made our way to Cronk -Y Voddy to see the eerily quiet Electric powered race bikes whoosh past. They really do sneak up on you and the speeds are pretty impressive, I couldn’t help but think of the film Tron and the bikes the hero rode in that futuristic Sc-Fi classic. Petrol engines will die out one day (booo!), but at least the world’s engineers are working out ways we can still have fun on two wheels when the oil runs out!
    We took advantage of the big gap between races to head back to Peel for a while, Steve got a bit lost and did an impromptu triple tour of Peel before managing to find the digs. There is a bit of a rabbit warren thing going on with the streets around the town; the way back seemed to constantly change direction, like the stairs in Hogwarts!
    Keen to tick off as many famous vantage points as possible we headed for Ballaugh where the bikes lift off over the quaint humped back bridge that sits on the entrance to the village. It was 600 Supersport race, delayed from this morning and it I was lucky enough to be right at the front of the crowd line as the barriers came down ahead of the race starting. I had a superb view as bike after bike ‘got-air’ coming over the bridge.

    Getting some air at Ballaugh Bridge

    I moved up the track little later in the race too, making my way through a stream and some undergrowth to on the bank on the approach to the bridge.

    Steve getting into the local countryside..literally…

    Ali of the bikes sound brilliant, but the 675 MV had a note all of its own, like Hades on wheels…awesome.  As we had been all day we were bathed in warming sunshine and if you turned away from the track action for a moment our surrounding were again quite beautiful. On a day like this, the island is truly a special place.

    Turn away from the track for a moment and this greets you…

    We revelled in the in the excitement as the race continued. Sometimes two or three bikes would hurtle down the straight locked in battle for prime spot as they hit the bridge. You could hear them approach long before you see them. Then they would be past in flash, before leaning on the brakes and blipping their throttle as the rider down shifted through the box, flames licking from the exhaust as un burnt fuel ignited, and leapt the bridge. Stirring stuff! By now any doubts that I had been harbouring about the trip on the way up had been well and truly blown away. The race victory was claimed by Ian Hutchinson, he was having a good week already! Nearly as good as mine…
    We had a post race drink in The Raven right on Ballaugh Bridge letting the crowds disperse and the roads clear a little before heading back to Peel via a scenic route.

    Five short of a Dirty Dozen

    I was surprised throughout the week how few riders wondered off the beaten track and instead chose to sit in traffic queues. Take some of the back roads and crowds quickly melt away and views are really terrific.
    Another superb day was rounded off back down by the harbour in Peel at The Creek Inn. We basked in a soft evening glow as the light faded and the sun eased down on another truly memorable day.


    Nice one Radar – here are a couple of pictures to back up your last two reports…

    The Bungalow, on the Mountain section

    Joey Dunlop at the Bungalow

    Eventual winner Bruce Anstey

    Tight racing…

    Michael Dunlop

    All watched by a motley crew…

    Michael Dunlop carrying William at Laurel Bank

    Good racing action

    Eventual winners Ben and Tom Birchall

    Guy Martin at Ballaugh Bridge

    Not much to aim at through Ballaugh Bridge…

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