A Newcomers Diary .
Kursaal Flyer Offline
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#41
RE: A Newcomers Diary .
Tuesday 2nd ,Race Day  Exclamation  Well this is it the day that has been on my to do list for over 22 years. As the current ACU sprint champion I first visited the Island in 1993 with my bike the Kursaal Flyer to compete in both the Ramsey Sprints during TT week. While here like 99% of the visitors to the island I drove around the course and loved it so much I wanted to return to race around it on closed roads. But I found out I was unable to do this as I was to told, I was to old at 42 Exclamation ( what a very silly rule, that's my politically correct way of putting it ).
It was not till 2010 that I found out that the ageist rule had been changed and I was now young enough . I set about getting my national licence back that I had let lapse from the mid nineties, I had problems with this because my racing roots are in scooters so on my return to racing I chose to race one, I won my class in my return year applied for the upgrade but then found out that scooters and bikes are not the same any more and all that was upgraded was the scooter licence . I disagreed with this so much that I appealed the the ACU committee to get the upgraded . I think I actually put a very strong case together but their reply was rules are rules you need to get the upgrade on a bike. I did what was required and with hind sight I might have chosen an easier more reliable class to get the upgrades from, but I got what was required and the rest of story is contained within the ramblings of this thread. Bottom line here I am its my race day at the Manx Grand Prix.
At this stage I am anxious rather than nervous, since I have been on the Island apart from the weather everything has gone really well bike wise, but I do need to have to have a good look around to see if I can find a reason for the sticking throttle from last night. The function of the cable and the butterflies seem fine but everything is lubricated to be sure , but inspection of the slides finds one that is a lot slower returning to the closed position than the others and the cause of this is traced to an alien part blocking a small air return hole in the bottom of the slide.Everything is checked and I am happy the bike is good to go.
The weather is good around where we are in Douglas but there are problems with heavy showers in other parts of the Island and this causes a delay in the race start time. Eventually the call comes to go up for technical inspection and she passes through this with problems. Then off to the holding pen where I am directed to put my bike ready for the call to line up on Glencrutchery Road. The tyre warmers are on, the bike looking good, its sunny lets get ready to have some fun.
Its been announced that due to the delay our race has been reduced to three laps instead of four. This gives us something to think about and soon realised that if we are going to get a flying lap in we need to pit for fuel at the end of the first lap not the second as we had originally intended with the four lap race.
We are allowed to fill our refuel tank before the race starts so when the pit lane opens we go down there find my pit position which is quite close to the other end of pit lane, we fill the tank bleed it through and I check that they ( that's the pit crew ) are happy with how this is all going to work when I come in. We set up our pit area acting on good advice from a seasoned crew member. When I pit its going to be be performed with precision military discipline or they will be up in front of the commandant, me ! I have not spent my life savings on these fire proof suits to be mucked about Icon_biggrin  Nice thing about doing this before the race is that it is acting as a distraction to stop me thinking to much about the race itself , my mental approach to this is different to my other races but even with the distraction of the pit lane I feel different the butterflies are building the clock is ticking down to zero hour for the first rider to get away then 12 minutes and 10 seconds later it will be my turn.
All I want now is to see the flag drop get away and then three laps later see that beautiful Chequered flag. Around seventy newcomers turned up for this year Manx with much the same thoughts in mind, one sadly lost his life, my friend is in hospital battered and broken after hitting Sulby Bridge and he has other riders for company in his ward , sobering thoughts but will it change my mind ,will it make me stand down, will it alter the way I ride the course , is it fair to leave my family in the pits and stands . Ive come this far, life would not be complete without the next step the race itself Exclamation  
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14-10-2015, 08:57 PM
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Kursaal Flyer Offline
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#42
RE: A Newcomers Diary .
Tuesday 2nd the Race. The sun is out and its as warm on the island as it has been all the time we have been here, as this stage I do the same here as any race on the mainland, to try and find a shaded spot and then to relax and stay as cool as possible , well as cool as one can during this final count down. Race control call up the first twenty bikes to line up on the Glencrutchery Road , then as soon as they have lined up the next twenty are called and so on until my section are called, by this stage the first riders in the race are away and you can here the exhausts rasping and the accompanying commentary as they blast away all this is adding to the experience. As I am last away I take my time getting in line and I let Mikey look after the bike as I still hide in the shadows of the trees to keep cool. I decide I best get on the bike and sit to wait my turn . Nick Jefferies is there in his capacity as newcomer liaison and I shake his hand and he wishes me a safe race. I cannot remember any nerves at this stage more excitement the stupid grin is back. How would I describe this feeling like listening to a Spitfire Rolls Royce Merlin engine close up magical  Icon_biggrin .
Slowly the queue clears and apart from officials all I can see is spectators everywhere around and Elwyn and Yuri in front of me. Elwyn gets away then Yuri moves into the gate then as he gets his signal to go he stalls the bike right there, this threw me a bit and I waited a while as he tried to kick his bike into life , I decided to move forwards and sort of squeeze myself to his left to get away and got the hand on the shoulder then the flag and I was off. As I accelerated away two things flashed through my head , well at least I am not last anymore, but something that I will not get now is a picture of me leaving the start gate by myself. I put the start line hiccup behind me and quickly settle into my rhythm . My race plan was to chase Yuri down using the dangling carrot idea but with him now behind me and Elwyn next up in front I do not now expect to see anybody else during the race. The conditions are the best I have had bright sun but high in the sky so no issues like those I encountered with the low sun during the late evening practice sessions.
The course is unfolding its beautiful curves in front of me like a meandering river and the miles seem to just quickly drift by, sections like Grebe Castle and Bridge just flow by this must be motorcycle racing heaven it really can come no better than this. Then there's the odd waterfall sections like the bottom of Barregarrow and Ballaugh Bridge where a little more care is needed these followed by the shallow rocky bottom section through Kerrowmoar and beyond , then in no time its through Ramsey and up across the mountain . The lack of good weather conditions during the practice sessions shows up more going across the mountain than on the bottom of the course. Sections up there that are fast and to get the best from them they require more accuracy in riding than my practice has allowed me to learn. But I am happy with my pace and its seems no time at all before I am coming out of Governors dip looking for my braking point to enter the pits for my fuel stop.
As I approach the pits the speed read out is 80 plus kph I need 60 kph or less, as I have not been able to set anything pit speed wise I am going to go in slow to play safe I slow down to 45 kph and just putter down the pit road, this feels so slow its like a slow walk round a supermarket with the wife. Because everybody in pit lane is in fire suits we decided to use a closed pink umbrella as a signal to help spot my pit position. This works perfect and I sight it and nod to acknowledge.  I have a three man pit crew dressed in red my wife Bev daughter Kirsty and Mikey the boy friend. As I stop on the my mark I turn the bike off Mikey removes the fuel cap Bev gives me my drink as Kirsty fuels the bike . Mikey looks around the bike for issues as Bev cleans my visor. In no time its fuel in, visor clean, drink drunk,cap on and its time to go . Ignition on restart and away minding my speed as I go down the pit lane.   
There is a fourth member of the pit crew he is the technical official who is also looking round the bike to check its safe for me to continue. I have seen a picture of my pit stop taken from the Grandstand and the fourth member who is dressed in yellow is standing near the front of the bike leaning forward , I am not disrespectful but I put this photo on social media with the title my pit stop with Zombie in the corner because that's exactly what it looks like , made me smile anyway.
As I blasted off I felt that the stop had gone very well and all the rest of this was now up to me . down Bray up the other side and I think my enthusiasm got the better of me and I was a little bit late on the brakes and took a wider line with a no no no nodding head for the spectators at Quarter Bridge than I intended, luckily this corner is wide enough to allow a small mistake like that. I soon settled down again and was thoroughly enjoying my race the good conditions and the lightening fuel load meant that every section was quicker than the one lap before a pattern I would repeat on the third lap as well . My second and third laps were fairly uneventful but little things stick in the mind the marshals at Ballagarey on the third lap doing what looked like a Mexican wave as I blasted flat out through there, then at one of the quieter sections up on the mountain on the third lap I was actually singing to myself ! In what seemed no time at all I was soon coming down the Nook towards Governors Dip for the third time , there was no question now this was about getting to the the finish nothing else now mattered to me. I rode round the dip like it was ice there was no way I could falter now, my finishers medal the thing I had worked for these last few years was now only about 1/2 a mile away I could almost smell the winners champagne from the rostrum as I blasted down to the finish. They do not make champagne that could give me that same buzz that I got as I crossed that line , an emotional air punch I was so full of emotion, for anybody that has completed a Manx or TT race it is very special moment and one no one can ever take away.

I will follow this up with my after race thoughts, thanks for reading
     
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17-10-2015, 06:56 PM
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Stacky Offline
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#43
RE: A Newcomers Diary .
Bloody hell mate, not a dry eye in the house here, can't begin to imagine the feeling of crossing the finish line after so much effort....
Well done that man!!!
17-10-2015, 10:40 PM
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Raynetjr Offline
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#44
RE: A Newcomers Diary .
Great story Keith - loved it so far!
18-10-2015, 04:49 PM
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#45
RE: A Newcomers Diary .
Probably, like countless others since watching my first TT in 1967, I have always wanted to do what you have done Keith. Unfortunately money, ( or the lack of it ) & family matters have meant it was never going to happen. You have achieved your dream fella, well done you.  
Grey-haired riders don't get that way from pure luck.
20-10-2015, 07:54 PM
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#46
RE: A Newcomers Diary .
Tues 2nd part two. After crossing the finishing line I must come back up the return road to the paddock, this was lined with lots of people giving any rider a round of applause which is a nice feeling. From here all finishers are ushered into Parc Ferme, my bike will have to stay here till it is released by the race officials. The first three bikes in each race have to have a capacity check to ensure that they are legal in their class cc wise, this for the unknowing involves removing the cylinder head or heads so the bore and stroke can be measured to calculate the engines capacity. This might be easy for bigger supported teams with mechanics but I know Elwyn the winner in my class had to strip his own engine as he was also the one with the mechanical knowledge and know how in his team.
Back to Park Ferme while I am waiting for the stand to arrive it gives me a few moments to gather my thoughts and I must admit I am feeling a little pleased with myself. Ive only gone and done it ! Icon_biggrin Finished my race around the world famous TT course. Its not long before the pit crew arrive with the stand and there's congratulations all round, there's the same sort of buzz from all the other riders and teams that have managed to get there bikes back to here, this really is something special and you never know amongst  my fellow newcomers there could be a future TT champion, but in my mind today we are all champions of our own making.
At this stage I have no idea idea of what has actually happened in the race only that I have finished and as we wander down to the paddock another rider tells me he thinks I have finished 5th in class with this information we head of to race control to wait for the official result. Its not to long before they come out and yes I am 5th in class but not quick enough for a replica which is the next thing you can get above the finishers medal. But I am happy finished 5th not to shabby for the oldest newcomer in town.We wander back to base camp where Bev produces a bottle of bubbly and I get my well earned celebratory drink which I am glad I did not have it before going out as I forgot to mention I like others in my race were breathalised to check that our alcohol content was zero . its not often I want a zero score in a test but this time it was fine.
We went out that night for a well earned celebratory meal and a few beers of course. Wednesday evening was the presentation of medals replicas and trophies for all newcomers followed by a band and some more beer of course.
Well I am now at the end of my little journey . Was it all worth it ? Of course it was ! If you are considering giving it a go just make the effort push yourself that extra mile the silly grin you get is reward enough for anyone plus its a good conversation piece down the pub. Icon_biggrin
What would be the tips would I pass on to you a budding newcomer. Course knowledge is everything  Icon_exclaim  Learn from sensible speed onboard footage. Attend Weekends like the Mike Hailwood Newcomer weekends the knowledge you can get from others that have ridden the course is priceless. If possible get over before the Manx and get laps in, a hire car for this is fine. But when you get to ride the course be careful the TT course can bite if you push to soon let it just come to you the more laps you do. Advice like if in doubt knock one out have stuck firmly in my mind .
Any regrets , My original goal I went there looking for a finishers medal which I got, but looking back at the results I was only 35 seconds in 1 hour and 14 minutes of racing away from a replica, the lack of decent conditions during the practice week meant that it was only during the race I realised the bike was over geared and an adjustment would have easily have found that time.
Would I do it again ? 100% Yes . but since returning from the Island my company has gone to the dogs so I will very soon lose my job so I cannot see it happening again the near future. ( Its a bloody good job this did not happen last year otherwise I would not have got there this   Icon_eek )
But none of this would be possible without the support of you lot. Whatever you be : marshals, organisers, doctors, paramedics, sponsors, spectators, technical bods, zombies, helicopter pilots, FAMILY , head forum honcho, thank you one and all we did it together !

THANK YOU

Keith Terry
 
foot notes.

The technical inspection by class/number system works, keep it !

There's not enough ladies showers in the paddock . ( she said )

I think a newcomer replica should be awarded for achieving an average % race speed above that of the race qualification time and not based on the first finishers time. The system is unfair to any rider that turns up on a year when a real road talent is riding.


 
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(This post was last modified: 25-10-2015, 09:15 PM by Kursaal Flyer.)
25-10-2015, 09:14 PM
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Splashdown Offline
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#47
RE: A Newcomers Diary .
Keith, this has been a most interesting and inspiring Diary. I shall encourage any Newcomer to read your posts.
You are an inspiration to us all!
26-10-2015, 11:17 AM
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#48
RE: A Newcomers Diary .
Keith - thanks for finishing off the story - it's been a brilliant read.

Sorry to hear you won't be racing next year.

One question - weren't you down for another race or did the schedule changes defeat you?
26-10-2015, 09:16 PM
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#49
RE: A Newcomers Diary .
Keith,

The words "thank you" just don`t seem enough.

You are a true champion. Well done and all the best for the future.

Many thanks
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26-10-2015, 09:17 PM
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Kursaal Flyer Offline
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#50
RE: A Newcomers Diary .
raynetjnr. In answer to your question about the extra race . My original entry was for the newcomers and the lightweight but I only got accepted for the newcomer race. I will be 100% honest I think that the reason for this was at my age of 64 I feel they were humoring an old man and as there was enough space in the starting line up of the newcomers race they let me in right at the back out of harms way. But the lightweight had more entries than spaces so I did not get a ride.
This is another reason why I might never get back regardless of my job going I would also have to get an entry accepted first . I think the Manx in the last few years has become a victim of its own success and there are more riders wanting rides than spaces on the grid and the also rans like me are unlightly to get a ride. Icon_cry

I am glad you enjoyed the read.
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27-10-2015, 06:38 PM
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Raynetjr Offline
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#51
RE: A Newcomers Diary .
Thanks for the answer Keith. Even if your entry was 'humouring' you, it was well worth it for the club as your story wil be, I'm sure, used by newcomers for a long time to come (and if it isn't it should be 😀).

Thanks again!

Raynetjr
28-10-2015, 01:37 PM
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#52
RE: A Newcomers Diary .
Well its been a few months and the reality of redundancy has bought me back to earth this has also given me time to gather my thoughts on what was My Newcomers to the Isle of Man .
Getting to compete on the TT course takes dedication commitment and effort on all fronts , none of this comes easy for the average racer with normal empty racers pockets plus if like me you are a little older than the average newcomer getting back the same licence you had in the 90s can be harder than it is for you youngsters . That aside the rewards of getting there far out weigh the effort put in. I had the best two weeks I can remember. Meeting loads of new friends and chatting about everything bikes, trapped on a island of motorcycle madness, seeing fellow riders do well is special because as any rider knows getting there is an achievement then doing well is something else .
Riding the TT course has got to be the ultimate biking challenge and one you must not take on to lightly, by making that supreme effort to compete you are joining a quite exclusive club, why do you think I was racing with riders from all over the world ? Racing on the TT course is that special and lots want to give it a go but not that many that actually take those last big steps. Having loads of money might pave the way and make it easier to get there but then reality beckons and its all up to the rider and as I have found out since this style of racing is not for everybody.
Before I went and since my return I have been accused of various levels of madness as only a mad person would entertain such a race. I completely disagree and feel that madness or any form of it is the wrong approach, I think my approach was about as level headed and sane as you can get . I can understand how as an onlooker somebody could come up with the madness sentiment , but from my side of the fence on the track itself I left the red mist at home and just enjoyed the experience , the experience of riding the course has without doubt left a lasting impression on me and since returning to normality I have definitely had what I would call withdrawal symptoms.
When I have watched on board and track side recordings the on bike always seem what I would class as normal and in control but the track side recordings always look fast and scary. It is in my mind easier to actually do than it is to watch.
Will I get back , I would love to ! Now there's the 250cc two stroke class my appetite has been whetted even more. but reality first, find another job !  Not so easy for an out of work 64 year older motorcycle racer ! Icon_cool  
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12-12-2015, 10:28 PM
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Kursaal Flyer Offline
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#53
RE: A Newcomers Diary .
Practice Flight !

[Image: 031%20-%20Copy.jpg]
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(This post was last modified: 14-12-2015, 08:03 PM by Malcolm.)
13-12-2015, 03:55 PM
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ago/mh1967 Offline
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#54
RE: A Newcomers Diary .
I for one am still enjoying your postings, so thank you for sharing.

As a word of encouragement, I am nearly 60 and recently landed a job with a very well known automotive company.....so, never give up....you (and me) are young at heart and that can go a long way....best of luck Crossfingers  
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....today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday.
14-12-2015, 07:27 PM
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#55
Wink  RE: A Newcomers Diary .
19/05/2017
Just a quickie to let you know what I have been up to since my Manx. A bit of racing but I have got back into scooter record breaking again and only last week I was able to take a modified scooter up the famous sands of Pendine . Another first for me a course record and the first scooter to do 100 mph plus on sand , not the most stable thing I have ever ridden a bit like floating on a sea of marbles.  This weekend I am of to Elvington to see if we can break some more.
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19-05-2017, 10:02 AM
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#56
RE: A Newcomers Diary .
Good luck at Elvington, hope it goes well.


"There is nothing so momentary as a sporting achievement, and nothing so lasting as the memory of it."
19-05-2017, 10:22 AM
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#57
RE: A Newcomers Diary .
Good to hear from you Keith, and I'm pleased that you're still active.
You just got in at the right time at the Manx. I don't think there will be any more "over 60" Newcomers. Keep up the good work!
19-05-2017, 11:09 AM
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Raynetjr Offline
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#58
RE: A Newcomers Diary .
Great to hear from you Keith. Best of luck with the record breaking!
20-05-2017, 02:28 PM
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#59
RE: A Newcomers Diary .
Splashdown. I think you are right about my timing I just got in before the draw bridge was pulled up on older riders which is a shame, I know there is a lot of young riders but others need time to grow and riding in the Manx can be something a rider will want to do as he matures and can ride with the sensible head fitted rather than the red mist one some youngsters wear.
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