Archive for December, 2011

Thanks for the memories

Posted: December 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

Hope everyone is having a great Christmas. There hasn’t been much activity on the blog recently but I can more than make up for it now with this fascinating email which came in from Ian Leacy. Ian has kindly given permission for me to post this on the blog.

Hi Charlie

  I hope the following doesn’t bore you too much but if you think it worthwhile I wonder if you could pass a copy to Roy Moore or let me know how I can ask him to read it.  Your thoughts and those of Roy, if you have any, would be of great interest to me, as would any comments the rest of the Manx Radio commentary team may have. 

Many years ago I wrote to Peter Kneale to ask him if he knew why there was no memorial on the TT course to Bob McIntyre, the man who first lapped at over 100mph and who had been a hero of mine since I was a lad.  Although I didn’t receive a reply to my letter, during the Manx Radio commentary of the same year Geoff Cannell referred two or three times to the ‘Bob McIntyre Memorial Box’ on the mountain.  This suggested that at least my request had been noted.  During that particular TT week I spoke to Geoff at Laxey and tried to explore the reason why this memorial didn’t normally get a mention during commentaries when other locations named after prominent riders were regularly spoken of.  He told me that Joyce McIntyre, Bob’s widow, hadn’t wanted any publicity about this wooden marshals’ shelter and that it had been placed there because Bob used to say he felt so sorry for marshals on the mountain, particularly during bad weather.  Of course until it had been mentioned in commentary I had no idea that the memorial existed and thereafter I visited it often; I also gave Bob a passing nod when riding towards the Bungalow until the year the box was removed. 

I was prompted to spend some time looking up other memorials around the course, purely out of interest and of course my admiration for anyone who could or can ride such a challenging course in the way they do.  A pal and I spent most of one MGP week riding round looking for memorials large and small and I eventually prepared an article for the TT Supporters’ Club magazine after discussions with the editor Graham Bean about the sensitivity of such a piece, following which they published it some years ago. 

On the Friday of this year’s MGP, Roy gave some parting thoughts in the way only he can, as to where Bob McIntyre’s memorial box may now be languishing as well as making reference to the seat dedicated to Freddie Frith which he said had been removed from its place on Quarterbridge Road. 

I couldn’t get to the Grand Prix this year as I now live in Spain and had already been to the TT in June.  I posted a message on your blog to thank you all for the brilliant commentaries during the week and you kindly replied.  

Whilst the commentaries are just excellent whether one is on the island or not, I’ve had a feeling that they are in danger of becoming a bit of a bore for Roy Moore and Dave Christian as a large percentage of the time they are on air is taken up by reciting the changing leaderboard positions which are constantly updated for them by the technology now in use.  Obviously this information is useful for pit crews and board men around the course as the race progresses but I have some doubts as to how vital it is for everyone to know that, for instance on the first lap, rider ‘A’ is two tenths of a second ahead of rider ‘B’ after nine and a half miles when there are still five and threequarter laps to the chequered flag.  Please don’t take this as a strong criticism as it certainly isn’t meant to be so.  

You personally have a great view of riders passing the Grandstand and of course you have the job of reeling off statistics both during and after the race as well as inserting your own brand of commentary as events unfold.  It’s all brilliant stuff to listen to but, expanding on Roy’s comments, I was wondering if he and Dave Christian might be able to make more mention of places on the course which are named after TT riders a little further afield from their commentary points, in their general remarks. 

For instance, about a mile before the riders reach Dave at Glen Helen there’s Doran’s Bend at Ballig and a matter of second after they pass him they come to Drinkwater’s bend.  A quick mental lap of the course, starting with the Grandstand, throws up names such as Stanley Woods, Giacomo Agostini, Bill Doran, Ben Drinkwater, Walter Handley, Archie Birkin, Karl Gall, Joey Dunlop, Jimmy Guthrie, Alex George, Les Graham,, Bob McIntyre, Mike Hailwood, Geoff Duke (whoever dreamed up ‘Duke’s 32nd’ as a means of perpetuating the maestro?) and Walter Brandish.  All of these riders have had their names added to the geography of the TT course and there are many more who are commemorated in dozens of locations but we hear little or nothing of them during commentary.  

Then there are the Manx idiosyncracies like Pinfold Cottage, Watertrough Corner, Stonebreakers’ Hut, East Mountain Gate, Pear Tree Cottage, Black Dub, Sarah’s Cottage and the like which are so familiar to TT enthusiasts but rarely feature in commentary. 

I probably sound like a bit of an anorak but I really am not, I simply have a great interest in the history of the TT and of course without those brave enough to take on the challenge there would be no event in the first place. 

Charlie I’m not a professional media man and would have no idea how to string together a commentary of sometimes several hours in the way Manx Radio achieve; I’m just a simple TT fan who loves the history provided by the riders and the Manx people who give so much to this unique event.  I also realise that commentators’ time is limited and appreciate how much is achieved by all of you in the finished product which goes out ‘live’. 

If you and Roy do no more than accept that I am in no way criticising anything that you and the team broadcast, I shall be very happy. 

My thanks once again for the opportunity to send you my ramblings.

 Kind Regards

Ian Leacy