Archive for August, 2011

That was pretty horrible. One minute we’re delighting in the emergence of a fabulous new talent and the next we’re seeing all the nasty elements fall into place suggesting that we have a tragedy on our hands. The loss of Wayne Hamilton when he was having the greatest fun of his life is so sad. He had so much lying ahead and I feel desperate for his family, friends, supporters and crew. Wayne was brilliant in winning the Newcomers race on Saturday and was surpassing even that by occupying third place in the Junior. Then he was late arriving at Ballaugh on lap three and there was a horrible silence. No information flashing up on the screen that gives us the retirements. The news that this was a fatal incident was relayed to me while the riders were still competing and it was a hammer blow.  I didn’t know Wayne personally but like many I’d been tracking his progress throughout the summer, realising that here was a brilliant star in the making and looking forward to seeing him take on the Mountain Course. At Manx Radio we then had to sit on the information for what seemed an age; no criticism of anyone, the delay was caused by the absolute priority of ensuring that the next of kin were informed before anything was said in public. The three podium finishers were quietly told and spectators in the Grandstand will have noticed that there was no champagne celebration after the garlanding. Once we were informed that Wayne’s next of kin were aware of the tragedy we were asked to wait until the riders had departed on their practice session before making the announcement over the air. This again was right and proper. As I noted in a post at the TT, there is no ideal time to convey grim news; it is just so depressing to be doing it again, so depressing in such an uplifting sport and on what had been, for the Northern Irish more than most, a wonderful day.



Posted: August 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

C0ngratulations to Wayne Hamilton. Knowing that a lot of people expected him to do well must have been pressure indeed but he rode to a convincing victory in the Newcomers A race. Meanwhile on the ascent from Ramsey to the Gooseneck, someone daubed ‘Go Luppy’ on one of the protective bales and Gavin Lupton duly obliged to win the B race.  

Today I’ve been sorting out my notes ahead of tomorrow’s racing and we also went to Jurby to check out the excellent VMCC Festival. Here are a few images of the day. 


Posted: August 27, 2011 in Uncategorized


The Flying Haggis remembered.


Posted: August 27, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Douglas Bay this morning

The weather is set fair at the moment but there was a sharp shower about an hour before the above photo was snapped so hopefully that’s the rain out of the way for the rest of the day. Newcomers races go at 5.30 and we’re on the air from Glencrutchery Road at 5pm.

Attractions around the Grandstand include a display of historic bikes, many with strong TT connections. I’ve posted some photos – see the page titled ‘Historic Bikes on display’ top-right on the home page of this blog.

Talking about the TT, veteran campaigner Carl Rennie is considering a comeback. Carl didn’t race this year and was thought to have called it a day, but he is having second thoughts. He’s due to race at Brands Hatch next month and if all goes well we could see the Burscough Bulldog lining up again at TT 2012.


Posted: August 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

Tonight’s practice session saw the speeds pep up while behind the scenes there is a lively difference of opinion between Manx rider Andy Fenton and the medical authorities. Andy came off his bike at Sarah’s Cottage in practice on Tuesday and has been told he can’t ride for seven days because he was knocked out. I spoke to Andy in detail this afternoon and he is adamant that he wasn’t knocked out but was fully conscious throughout and knew exactly what was happening throughout the incident. He was planning to end his road racing career after this year’s MGP but unless the medics’ decision is overturned he will go again next year.

Andy is sharing paddock facilities with fellow Manx competitor Andy Cowin. Andy Cowin is back in action after missing last year’s MGP while recovering from injuries at the 2010 Southern 100. It was ironic that after telling me about his recovery, and listening to Andy Fenton’s problems, Andy was himself involved in an incident in tonight’s practice. He was taken by helicopter to Nobles Hospital after coming off at the bottom of Barregaroo – arm and shoulder injuries, which sounds depressingly like a re-run of his troubles at the Southern. I hope he is not badly hurt.

Mark Buckley in action tonight

The noise was fantastic as the bikes massed in pit lane before the practice session. Among the stars of the evening was Mark Buckley (pictured above by Dave Collister at Photocycles) who was quickest among the Classic Superbikes at 114.052. Racing starts tomorrow with the Newcomers races at 5.30pm. We’re on the air with full commentary on Manx Radio at 5pm.

Phil McGurk is none the worse for his off at Braddan last night but his Yamaha TZ250 is a doubtful starter with parts needed from England before it can be repaired.

Phil McGurk

In the Supertwins Phil will be first away on his Springcourt ER650, pictured above. The bike has been designed and built by Phil over something like 1200 hours since last year’s MGP. Frame, sub-frame and tank are all Phil’s own design, the swing arm is from a Yamaha TZ250 and the engine is Kawasaki. Last year Phil won the ultra lightweight on a previous version of the Springcourt but he reckons he needs more speed to be in the hunt this year and that’s what all those man-hours are all about.

The Lincolnshire-based New Zealander Michael Moulai has told the Race Office that he’s switching from Ducati to Suzuki for the Senior MGP but judging from the  activity beneath the awning this afternoon he’s still hoping to get the Italian machine out onto the grid. It’ll be worth seeing. It’s an ex-works bike consisting of a Gregorio Lavilla frame although the fuel injection system has been made by Michael’s own team. Frustratingly, a water leak has prevented the bike completing a timed lap so far.

One of the first to complete qualifying, possibly the first, is Andy Brady. The Ulsterman nipped out for one final circuit just before yesterday’s practice session ended and succesfully got himself and both his Martin Bullock Manxsport bikes qualified so tonight, with the roads wet, he could afford to sit out the entire session.


Posted: August 25, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Very sorry to hear that Neil was killed in last night’s practice session. I was among the spectators at Braddan and out of the official loop, so had no idea that there had been such a serious incident. It was a shock when I heard the news on Manx Radio’s 11 o’clock bulletin. Twelve months ago it was a delight to describe Neil’s success in at last winning a MGP race 24 years after his debut, as well as celebrating his winning of the Spirit of the Manx award. As the award recognised, Neil gave a lot to the MGP and today’s news is very sad indeed.