A fellow with three legs - now there's a novelty - strange, he was there last year too.Manx Grand PrixBloody hell - another one.  Or is it the same one again ?



  This time only two of us made the trip over to the Isle of Man - Myself, and Andy.  Once again it worked out much cheaper to load the bikes into a van, rather than book two bikes onto the ferry.

Shhh   -    it's sleeping.   One Starfire and one Enfield Bullet    Where Bullets quietly graze


 This also gave us the  opportunity to take an extra bike ( a Honda CG 125  { makes sign of the Holy Pushrods }  as an emergency back up ) and  a load more luggage.




Rather loaded


    The crossing was nice and smooth, and by some un-Godly hour in the morning we arrived at Douglas.  As luck  would have it, the "Caff" was open, so it would have been rude not to have popped in.  One breakfast later and we were on our way to Port Erin, and the Grosvenor hotel.  As per last year, we unloaded the bikes and set off for a ride round.  Oh dear, we didn't get all that far.  The Starfire managed to break a throttle cable.  Now I carry a few spare cables on the Enfield, but due to the Starfire having an all dancing, all singing, super-duper fast action  twistgrip, non of my cables would fit.  After a bit of fettling, we managed to rig the cable up so that we could get the bike back to Port Erin.  We had a gas soldering iron, but no solder.  Now it's a good job we bought that spare Honda 125 with us.  We put the spare bike to good use and set off in search of solder - which we found within walking distance of the hotel, finding some flux to go with it took the best part of the next morning.  It was whilst  riding back up the mountain that I noticed a rather alarming knock coming from somewhere within the Enfield's  engine.    GREAT - I've been here less than six hours and the big end  has gone.  Now it just so happens that the  big end in a Bullet is a rather strange affair consisting of a 'floating bush'  -  so as long as you don't put too much pressure on it, the bearing should last for a fair few miles.  The knack is keeping the engine under just enough  load to prevent the big end from knocking, but not enough load to completely kill the bearing.  I managed to cover just over 650 miles during the week, but the poor old big end was sounding most unwell by the time we were  ready for home.  

In that engine is a big end bearing . . . . I can hear it knocking to be let out.

Lurking inside there is a very sick big end



    Spent a good part of the morning running around and fixing the broken throttle cable.  One good thing that came of this was I found a nice pair of rear lights for my trike, which is having a complete rewire at the moment, or, to be more accurate, is currently halfway through a complete rewire.  Once the throttle cable had been fixed, we headed over to Peel, before heading back towards Port Erin.  Dinner was a rather splendid affair at the Viking, a most pleasant pub just outside of Castletown.    Of course, no trip would be complete without the usual photograph of a sunset. . . .  so here it is.    Come to think of it, we only had about two decent sunsets all week.


And the end of another eventful day on the Isle of Man

Down it goes.


    Sunday was a relaxing sort of a day.  A leisurely ride over to Castletown and the classic bike meeting, followed by a few hours just watching the world go by on the Port Erin seafront, and to finish off, a most excellent traditional Sunday dinner at the Grosvenor.


    Right.  For the first time ever, I decide to actually watch the bike racing.  Our first stop was Quarter Bridge and the newcomers class.  All well and good, but the bikes we really wanted to watch were the classics, or the Senior Classics to be more precise.  Now we wanted to see and hear these bikes at their best, so we travelled over to the Gooseneck.  I must admit, it was an excellent place to spectate from.  The bikes had to slow for the bends, they also had to work hard against the hill, the sun was in the right place for photographs, all in all, it was ideal


It sounded as good as it looked.

Ryan Farquhar on the Paton BIC 500   -   Average speed of 107 mph.


Two singles and a twin working hard up the hill

Two singles and a twin take on the Gooseneck


    Having watched the classic bikes, it was only fair that we went and looked around that other classic Manx landmark - the great Laxey wheel.  This gave us enough appetite to go feeding at Moby Dick's on Douglas seafront.  I dare say the night was rounded off at the Falcon's Nest back in Port Erin.



    Well it doesn't look all that far away does it ?

The "Tower of Power  -  or  "Milner's Tower" as it is actually called


    Today's grand plan started with a walk.  A walk up to the "Tower of Power", as it became known.  It doesn't look all that far when you gaze out of the window at it.  It feels even further when you've started the day with a magnificent breakfast - which probably accounts for why I was nearly half a stone heavier when I got back home.  After much cursing from my good self, we finally reached the top.  I reckon the view was worth the walk, besides, it was mainly downhill on the way back.


On top of the world  -  Well, on top of the Tower of Power.

Port Erin as viewed from off the tower.



    Time for a bit more racing again today.  This time the junior classic from Cronk-Y-Voddy, followed by the junior from Ballacraine.  After such hectic stuff, we took the relaxed approach and once more watched the world go by, this time from Niarbyl Bay.  Tonight's dinner was a splendid affair at the Waterfall in Glen Maye. 


    The Ramsey sprint, and the bike show at Mooragh Park took up most of the day.  The rest of the day was spent riding up the mountain, having dinner at Brown's in Laxey again, then heading for a BSA owners club meeting at  The Queens".   Once again we ate at the Viking.


    Today's racing was delayed due to the weather.  Fog on the mountain is not a good thing.  The weather down by the coast at Douglas was fine, so that's where we headed for.  Having done the seaside thing, which involved ice cream and the like, we headed for the Calf of Man.  One cuppa later and we were on our way to St. Michael when we notice the racing was back on.  We watched from Ballacraine, then moved on to Kirk Michael for the senior race.  The viewing wasn't to clever there, so we went up to Barregarrow crossroads and got settled ready for the start.  The news came over the radio that they were delaying the start, once again due to bad weather.  By this time it had started raining, and you could see the clouds closing in.  By half past four, they announced that the race was cancelled.  Ah well, nothing for it but to head back to the Viking for dinner.


    We decided to have a day of not using the bikes.  This was a good idea seeing as my big end was just about on its last legs.  The "Island Explorer" travel pass is a good way of getting about.  For the grand sum of 12 ( which is 2 up on last year's price ) you can travel all over the island.  The steam train to Douglas was the first stop.  It seems they were having a Thomas the Tank Engine weekend, so all manner of strange looking trains were running.  Rather than catch the horse drawn tram, we walked the length of the prom, then jumped on the Manx Electric Railway as far as Laxey.  Once again we ended up in Brown's for dinner.  After a nose around we jumped back on the tram to Douglas, and once again walked the length of the prom back . . . . . by which time we  had missed the last steam train back to Port Erin.  No problem, we just use the travel pass on the bus.  Having got back, we decided to load the bikes into the van, remembering the rain we had when loading up last year.  Tonight's dinner was Chinese, eaten whilst sitting on the Port Erin sea front.


    Having eaten breakfast, we settled up at the hotel and made a move towards Peel.  Andy wanted to get some kippers, and besides, we had the best part of eight hours to kill before the ferry back home.  Neither of us had been on the steam train at Groudle Glen, so that's where we went.  A nice scenic walk down the glen, then on the train to what used to be a zoo in Victorian times.  That passed a pleasant few hours.  We then moved on to Douglas, and Moby Dick's for dinner.   Following that, we sat upon Douglas Head and watched the Ben-My-Chree come sailing in.   Once again the crossing was excellent, and at half past eleven we were back at Heysham.  A boring drive back along the M6 came next, and at around half past two in the morning we arrived back home.

So ends another Manx Grand Prix.  A grand holiday with a definite motorcycle theme.   I don't know about next year, but I'll certainly be heading back to the Isle of Man again in the future.

So until then . . . . .


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