It’s one of those things I’ve always meant to do, but just never got round to – so this year (the excuse being my mate Bruce’s stag do) we headed over, booking a campsite behind the Quarter Bridge Hotel, and going over on the ferry as foot passengers.
There were certain things I wanted to do and see, which were accomplished. We viewed from Quarter Bridge, the bottom of Bray Hill and also (my favourite) the churchyard at Braddan Bridge, where the Isle of Man ‘experience’ was enhanced by the surroundings, while the lovely ladies of the parish provided tea, in china cups, for 40p a cup. A pint in the Quarter Bridge Hotel was a must too, with the occasion recorded for posterity… all brilliant.
While ‘on the Island’ several things struck me, especially about the crowd. Many visitors were from overseas, with lots from mainland Europe but also a fair amount of Aussies and a smattering of Americans too. The age demographic was interesting too – most of the crowd being older than the racers, I think it’s fair to say. But then, it’s certainly not a cheap trip (£89 as a foot passenger on the ferry…) while there’s the question of those in work using up holiday, too.
Then it was pretty much straight to Banbury, where again I enjoyed a fabulous day, getting sunburned in the process, but seeing lots of lovely motorcycles, and a hugely enthusiastic paddock full of competitors and spectators. And I’d say that there were more younger riders taking part at Banbury, than there were riding over as spectators on the Isle of Man. Interesting.
Talking of youngsters, Michael Barraclough has joined us ‘full time’ after a spell on work experience. He’s full of enthusiasm and I’m sure you’ll all join me in extending a warm welcome to him
As a final note, and one I’ve touched on before, I always love to find out obscure little facts, and this month’s two are that in his early racing days Stanley Woods had an ohv 1000cc JAP-engined New Imperial (gleaned from David Crawford’s book about Stanley). Another one I’ve found out is that OEC’s 600cc sidecar outfit in the 1923 sidecar TT had a V-twin Blackburne engine, not a single as I’d always assumed it would have been. Not exactly life changing, but that’s two more machines to consider for one ‘ultimate ever’ garage…
James Robinson, editor
Where legends come to life
James Robinson, Editor
James Robinson has been the editor of The Classic MotorCycle since 2002. Aged 34, he has possessed a motorcycle licence for 16 years and during that time has owned and ridden all manner of motorcycles, spanning over 100 years from oldest to newest.
Presently the custodian of a varied shed full of motorcycles, his overriding enthusiasm is for pre-World War Two sporting machines, with a couple of cammy Velos, a Rex-Acme and a Model 9 Sunbeam among those competing for attention.