Remember I said I was visiting the fairies at Fairy Bridge to get a bit of luck for the Classic TT last month? Well it seemed to do the job! The only problem was I took Maisie with me and about a week after, her front tooth fell out. The bastards in the paddock told her the Isle of Man fairies are more generous than the Morecambe ones so I lost £20 under her pillow. It was 50p when I was a kid. At £20 a tooth I’m going to start smashing my own teeth out!
As always the Classic TT was brilliant, and at long last I actually won one, but it didn’t go 100% to plan. During practice we had a few silly faults, and one slightly bigger one.
I’ve raced 20 TTs and four Classic TTs, but I often lie in bed thinking, ‘When am I going to go up the road?’ as I’d never fallen off. Well I broke that duck this year...
I’ve done hundreds of guided tours of the TT course on buses and the like and I always tell people, “Watch out for Quarter Bridge on your first lap as it’s slippy, you have a full tank and cold tyres.” Where did I crash? Yep, you’ve guessed it. As I was sliding up the road at Quarter Bridge on my ring piece I was thinking, ‘What a cock.’ I’m not sure what was bigger, the dent in the road or the ding in my pride... What made it worse was James Hillier was ahead of me and he turned round to watch me slide when he heard the bang. I swear I heard him laughing.
I was so angry with myself I was cursing while the marshals helped to get the bike off the course, and as soon as it was upright I hopped on, bashed the levers straight and aimed it towards the paddock. I probably shouldn’t have been riding a racebike with open megaphone pipes through Douglas High Street, or jumping the occasional red light, but I was fuming. When I got to the pits I apologised to the bike’s owner, Rodger, had a quick medical and after they had thrown a new fairing on it I headed out and set the fastest lap of practice. Maybe it does me good to get a bit fired up after all.
The race was a good battle between Dean Harrison and myself, proper nip and tuck, but it all got a bit heated afterwards between a few teams, which took a bit of the shine off the event. I don’t want to get into the ins and outs, but we declared our bigger tank at the start of the week, as we didn’t want to knock shite out of it to reduce its capacity. As for the other teams, who knows what Dunlop’s Suzuki actually is? And does it matter the Kawasaki was over-capacity? The Classic TT has no prize money, so let’s all just enjoy the racing and not get so emotional. That said, everyone wants to win, and when you consider the Paton has a top speed of 138mph and we held an average lap of 113.3mph, you aren’t backing off at many places. Every lap is a pleasure, even more so when you bag a trophy. But that wasn’t the only trophy I got this month.
I’d never raced at the Goodwood Revival, but this year I got the chance. I teamed up with Glen English on one of Fred Walmsley’s bikes. ‘Kentucky’ Fred is a legend and was the first man in the UK to have a KFC franchise! The bike was a ‘1953 long-stroke, double-knocker ballbag’ or something, but it stopped in practice before I could ride it, so Fred said, “Get that old Gold Star out of the garage” and we qualified on that instead.
I started race one, and managed to out-run the old codgers in the Le Mans start. Quite quickly Steve Brogan came past and then 68-year-old Charlie Williams on a 1930s Rudge! He was on a mission but the race was stopped due to rain, but not before Troy Corser lobbed a priceless BMW right next to me. Thankfully, Sunday was dry and Glen built up a 17-second lead when he handed over to me, so all I had to do was not fall off. I still had a good battle with Scott Smart and Steve Brogan, who tried to stick his thumb up my arse when he passed me! A brave move considering I was still a bit touch-and-go after the night before.
The Revival hosts a ball on Saturday evening, with a ‘comic book heroes’ theme. I went as Robin while Becky was Batgirl, Michael Dunlop was Iron Man and Steve Brogan Penis Man or something, with a giant cock between his legs. I’m not sure where he was going with that. We all got a bit banjoed, fell over in the mud and I had to wash Becky down with the motorhome’s exterior shower before letting her in! Entrance of the night went to two Spitfire pilots who did an airshow, landed on the grass in front of the ball and casually removed their flying suits to reveal their costumes underneath before walking in without batting an eye. How cool is that?
John McGuinness, road racer.