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 Dont Rip Us Off Warn TT Fans

A group of dedicated TT fans who made their annual pilgrimage this week despite no racing being on say they won't bother returning next year if it's cancelled again. Dick and Yvonne Bennett, their daughter Harriet, and friends Derrick Rowe, Peter Watts and Wendy Sutcliffe also hit out at firms which cash in on the fact it's TT time by overcharging.

While they say they would expect to see small increases for the TT period, they don't like being 'ripped off'. The group booked holiday cottages at £900 for the fortnight - no weekly booking was allowed - and then noticed in the brochure the usual price had doubled from £450 for a normal fortnight.

One of the fans was also left fuming following a visit, during a previous trip, to a café on Douglas promenade where he paid £6.50 for gammon and chips. When one of his friends returned to the café a week after TT, he paid £4.50. When asked why the price had been higher the previous week, he was told: 'Because it's TT fortnight.'

They were also less than impressed with the Steam Packet fares for getting to the Island, saying they could have had a good holiday elsewhere for the cost of the fares. Despite the gripes, the bikers remain big TT fans. Reporter Esther Richmond met up with them at St Olave's Church Hall, Ramsey, where they were enjoying the homemade afternoon teas provided by the women of Bride Church.

While they are sad the racing has been cancelled, the bikers did say it has given them the opportunity to experience certain parts of the Island they'd previously missed out on, such as trips on the steam and electric railways. 'What we do miss terribly,' said Mr Bennett, 'is the Sound Café and the jovial Terry Jackson, who always had a warm welcome for us.

'We have looked at the proposed plans for the place but we are not terribly impressed with them.' Mr and Mrs Bennett have been coming to the TT for more than 20 years and their daughter, who is now 15, has been coming since she was six months old.

The TT teas at Bride have been a feature for many years to raise funds for the church but were cancelled this year because of the foot and mouth crisis. It was then decided to switch venues to St Olave's. It didn't take very long for the many regulars to find the church hall and be greeted by the vicar, the Reverend Peter Upton-Jones, and the women serving.

The vicar said it was slow to start because of the change of venue, but they placed notices in Bride to indicate where the regulars could find them. He said most of their visitors had been coming for years and the church enjoyed providing the facility. Also on sale was a selection of home-made jams which were selling quickly and as Esther was leaving she saw plenty of motorbikes pulling in to enjoy the teas.

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