Early Morning Practice - A Piece of Written Nostalgia
Malcolm Offline
Administrator
*******

Posts: 19,547
Threads: 17,395
Joined: Oct 2005
Reputation: 0
#1
Early Morning Practice - A Piece of Written Nostalgia
Attached is a pdf file of an original document that Ian Huntly very kindly forwarded to me and asked if it would be possible to upload it to the site for people to read.

Here it is, and I am sure that those of you who remember getting up at 4 o'clock in the morning in order to get out there to your chosen spot to watch the bikes go past at that ungodly hour, will enjoy reading this.

You will require Adobe in order to be able to read this file.

Click this link to download the file - Early Morning Practice.
Be right back. I am going to go find myself, and if I leave before I get back, make sure to tell me !! -
(This post was last modified: 02-03-2010, 08:58 PM by Malcolm.)
02-03-2010, 03:12 PM
Website Find Reply
jab_tt Offline
Probationer

Posts: 12
Threads: 7
Joined: Nov 2009
Reputation: 0
#2
RE: Early MorningPractice - A Piece of Written Nostalgia
Absolutely loved it - morning practices were before my time but I would have loved to experience them
02-03-2010, 03:41 PM
Find Reply
Bill Snelling Offline
Senior Member
****

Posts: 435
Threads: 147
Joined: Oct 2005
Reputation: 0
#3
RE: Early MorningPractice - A Piece of Written Nostalgia
Sitting in Braddan Churchyard, early one morning in '66, still wearing helmets and gloves, it's flippin' cold. The only sound was the birds and the chatter of the marshals.
In the distance a multi fires up and you can trace its passage from the start, down Bray Hill and along the Braddan Straight. Down one gear, down two gears then - silence. Seconds later Mike the Bike and his Honda six slide into view on their sides. Seems he missed a gear! After a quick check over the bike, he restarted and rode up the Braddan slip road and back to the pits, reappearing later that morning, he didn't miss a gear on that second lap!

[Image: th_1966217.jpg]

I'm on the Great Flapjack Foray of Life - can't you tell!
“You don’t stop riding because you get old. You get old because you stop riding”
03-03-2010, 08:18 AM
Website Find Reply
gary the nurse Offline
Member
***

Posts: 108
Threads: 18
Joined: Dec 2005
Reputation: 0
#4
RE: Early Morning Practice - A Piece of Written Nostalgia
some of my best childhood memories are of being on the course as a St John Ambulance cadet on duty for early morning practices, the cool air, the stillness, the sleepy drone to the start of the day, the sun peeping up over likes of greeba mountain, the sights, the sounds, the sweetness of the air (unpolluted wi traffic) the birdsong, the quiet hushed camraderie of all the marshals and medics (and 1 or 2 sleepy eyed speccies)[/b] wet or dry i loved them-especially when that stillness was interrupted by the steadily increasing note of a bike in the distance on pace heading towards where we were!

during one delay in morning practice i got sent up the greeba fields by the bridge by joan radcliffe and came down after picking every mushroom i could find-and there were loads and loads-filled a liptons carrier bag twice-then sergeant whiteleg went thru em all took a good 3-4 handfulls and threw em immediately in river saying we couldnt have them (apparently they were naughty-which at time confused a young 11 yr old)
but everyone still went away happy wi good couple of pounds of juicy fresh mushrooms....the practice never actually saw a bike that morning!
03-03-2010, 12:12 PM
Find Reply
ancient Offline
Member
***

Posts: 74
Threads: 4
Joined: Oct 2007
Reputation: 0
#5
RE: Early Morning Practice - A Piece of Written Nostalgia
no mention of the most important part of the early practice periods---the cadbury tent!!thin leathers freezing coming round kates to feel the suns warmth which helped one to make it back.then the tent..boys and girls would come up from town and get u to get them cocoa and a choc biscuit.then the trade barons would arrive back to tell you what they thought of your riding.geoff murdoch would park in a field at the 11th milestone.he didnt realize we could see his car as we came over the top and so were able to put on a special display for his benefit!. that was the manx in the 50s.
03-03-2010, 03:53 PM
Find Reply
larryd Offline
Senior Member
****

Posts: 717
Threads: 11
Joined: Oct 2005
Reputation: 0
#6
RE: Early Morning Practice - A Piece of Written Nostalgia
Sadist I might be, but one of my favourite runs every year at the Manx was the first practice - Monday morning - 5.30am and hammering through Kirkmichael on my 350 Aermacchi, pulling 8000 in 4th and listening to the roar from the open megga coming back off the house walls.

Never gave a thought to the unfortunate locals Icon_evil

Icon_biggrinIcon_biggrinIcon_biggrin or should I mean Blush
03-03-2010, 08:36 PM
Find Reply
Jan Grainger Offline
Senior Member
****

Posts: 394
Threads: 15
Joined: Nov 2005
Reputation: 0
#7
RE: Early Morning Practice - A Piece of Written Nostalgia
Excellent stories. You folk were priviledged to have been part of them. You can see now why some of us don't like change. Bring back the black and white days for me thanks.
04-03-2010, 01:22 AM
Find Reply
andyr Offline
Probationer

Posts: 7
Threads: 0
Joined: Oct 2009
Reputation: 0
#8
RE: Early Morning Practice - A Piece of Written Nostalgia
What a shame the morning practices have gone. It was a chance to test the bike and build a rhythm to the lap. The evenings were the time to really have go. Scrutineering was brilliant all of us sadists together, moaning and laughing. Best time of my life! As Larry said, Kirk Michael at dawn on our Aermacchi's was something else. before I raced in the Island I used to marshall in Kirkmichael and I remember getting up early in 1967 (I think) and realising the barrier marshall had over slept and we had to phone the Police and hold Mike and Ago up until the ropes were in place.
Then we had the pleasure of watching the two masters (plus all those lovely singles) thunder past us as we stood in the forecourt of Michael Motors. Stunning. We had our pyjamas under our Belstaffs!
04-03-2010, 08:53 AM
Find Reply
John Foster Offline
Senior Member
****

Posts: 423
Threads: 63
Joined: Dec 2005
Reputation: 1
#9
RE: Early Morning Practice - A Piece of Written Nostalgia
That's a great read and should provoke many more memories.

The DSM at Gorse Lea, the notorious Reg, has served there for longer than most of us. On one occasion he turned up for morning practice and found himself alone again (you couldn't do that now). The start was repeatedly delayed because of mist on the mountain.

Eventually the sun began to peep through the leafy canopy at Gorse Lea and Reg felt some welcome heat penetrating his cold, damp body. Tired, warmed by the sun, and with nobody to talk to, Reg sprawled out along the bench to bask until the action began.

Suddenly a voice in his dream said, "Are you OK?"
Bewildered, Reg opened his eyes to find a double decker bus stopped beside him and an amused driver saying, "You can go home now, mate, the practice has been cancelled!"
(This post was last modified: 04-03-2010, 08:44 PM by John Foster.)
04-03-2010, 12:26 PM
Find Reply
Gstarron Offline
Member
***

Posts: 230
Threads: 36
Joined: May 2006
Reputation: 0
#10
RE: Early Morning Practice - A Piece of Written Nostalgia
As a spectator, I really miss morning practice.. now that I am "more involved" I shudder to think what the racers must have endured...

My story.. the year was 2002, my 2nd trip to the MGP. I and three pals flew our bikes from the states, landing in Manchester.. rode to the ferry and arrived Sunday night about midnight. I was sick, caught a nasty cold on the airplane.. so sick I ended up with my own room..! The rest of the guys stayed up, having pint after pint and then some...

I can not (even today) tell you why.. but at 5:45 I was wide awake, dressed, and walked to the drive just before the first bike went Barooombah... flying by.. my pal Dave joined me soon after while the rest of the guys slept through it all...

I think those morning practices were some of the best times of my life..!!!

Cheers..!!

Ron - Long live the MGP..!!
07-03-2010, 06:11 AM
Find Reply
Tomcat Offline
Member
***

Posts: 229
Threads: 10
Joined: Mar 2006
Reputation: 0
#11
RE: Early Morning Practice - A Piece of Written Nostalgia
I remember waking up in the hotel were were using at the time in Onchan, looking out over the darkened bay and watching for the lighthouse. If you could see it, it was a pretty good indication conditions were good enough to run (this was in the days when the mountain was OK to go if you could see the white lines!). Struggle into the leathers, rouse the girlfriend and head down to the hotel garage where the other riders in residence were already up and about. Not being organised (or rich) enough to have a van the drill was to warm up my TZ350 outside the hotel for as little time as possible then head up Governors Road to the paddock, the lights of the gf's car illuminating my way in the pre-dawn darkness.

In the days before the solid scrutineering bay it was all outside and under arc lights and you needed a coffee or 3 to clear the mist of the previous night's socialising and get some warmth into your bones. By the time the first bikes howled away down the road the sun was peeping over the horizon, catching your eyes at Union Mills as you got back into the groove on a lap where the objective was to learn the course or shake down the bike, often all the more enjoyable for the lack of time pressure.

By the time you got back the rush hour was under way,and with closed roads the way back to Onchan was down the hill, along the front and up Summer Hill mingling with all the commuters, geting back just in time for breakfast!

Those of you who never did morning practice, you really missed something Smile
(This post was last modified: 08-03-2010, 05:58 PM by Tomcat.)
08-03-2010, 05:56 PM
Website Find Reply
ian huntly Offline
Ian TTFan Huntly
*****

Posts: 1,273
Threads: 394
Joined: Nov 2005
Reputation: 0
#12
RE: Early Morning Practice - A Piece of Written Nostalgia
It is very good, reading your submissions about the part of the TT missed by us all. It wasn't so bad, I think riders enjoyed the cooler time of the day in slightly more relaxing time. And I believe that many riders who "lived" in the paddock in those days got up to get WARM !

The best bits were, Waking up to an alarm clock that you couldn't switch off, trying to find sox and pants in the dark, creeping downstairs, getting into a cold van, trying not to wake the rest of the hotel (rest of the promenade of hotels !) arriving in the paddock in the dark and while getting ready to send your rider off, you could see the glorious Isle of Man dawn breaking, the air temperature increasing and steam rising off the dew covered fields and roads. There was a cotton-wool silence broken only by a nervous giggle when a weak joke was told or someone shrieking when he got his hand caught when unloading a bike.

Then one noisy bike would fire up and you could feel the tension building. (No, it was a major desire to go to the loo) The birds in the trees on Glencrutchery road would wake up and twitter. More bikes fired up. Suddenly there were people pushing bikes up onto the road. A sleepy paddock was suddenly WIDE awake.

The bikes would set off and you could hear the loud ones for miles after they had started. (Remember the Honda-4s)

While he was putting in the lap, we would grab a coffee and a large hot bacon sandwich with Ketchup from Shielas Kitchen behind the grandstand.

It would be light by now and within a short time the first bikes would flash through, some coming in to check things. The sun would be higher now. Coats and jackets would come off as it got warmer...Our rider went straight through to do two laps.....More coffee.........

A couple of laps completed, our rider would come in, satisfied with a good 75 miles experience, so we would go to the Cadbury tent where soup, hot chocolate or coffee (did they do tea) were free. In the light of hurricane lamps we rubbed shoulders with all and sundry, the famous and the also-rans. Smoking was the in thing in those days and we all lit up with frozen fingers wrapped around the steaming drinks. Even though it was still cool there was the memorable smell of sweaty leathers !! (I can still remember this)

After some discussion about near-misses with hares, seagulls and sheep, good chats and laughs we loaded the bike and tools back into the van and went back to our place of residence. We left the still warm bike in the van and crashed out for an hour or so. One or two of us would go for a lap either to see who had broken down or to have an undisturbed run round since it was still quiet for people were still in bed so the roads were less busy. Back to the residence with all the cobwebs blown out of your brain, totally awake and hyped up.

After a shower we would all go down for a huge breakfast at 9am. It was like a large lunch...well, after all we had been up since 4.30AM.

And this went on for all of practice week ! Then it was a day spent on the bike and then off to the evening session. Add to this our late nights in the Douglas Bay Hotel Texas Bar, then the Stakis/Hilton Round Bar, we didn't get a lot of sleep. We ate well though !!

Wonderful days.....................................................................I miss them very much.

Why don't they make a film about EMP, since so many people of nowadays have never experienced it ?

Why not a BOOK ?? There must be so many stories to relate.
Crazydance

In 2015 I celebrate 68 years as a devoted TTFan

Bookingfor 2016 !!
(This post was last modified: 29-03-2010, 09:06 PM by ian huntly.)
26-03-2010, 09:48 AM
Website Find Reply
gary the nurse Offline
Member
***

Posts: 108
Threads: 18
Joined: Dec 2005
Reputation: 0
#13
RE: Early Morning Practice - A Piece of Written Nostalgia
this was another fantastic (and my best ever early morning practice) my bike me as pillion and riding it the ultimate and fastest who'd just broke down on the monday morning practice!what a great bloke and deeply missed

[Image: 07June2003.jpg]

it even beats the morning due to practice being delayed when as a cadet i went into the field at greeba bridge where all the marshals used to park their cars and stuck grass under their windscreen wipers and under the sissy straps on couple of bikes so when the cows came down after milking they didnt have to bend down to get a nibble...ok they also got windscreen wipers and sissy bars but it were soooo funny....well till various marshals realised who were the culprit...then i ended up running round the same field till they all got too breathless to run any further
(This post was last modified: 26-03-2010, 09:58 PM by gary the nurse.)
26-03-2010, 09:55 PM
Find Reply
pat slinn Offline
Member
***

Posts: 206
Threads: 37
Joined: Mar 2008
Reputation: 0
#14
RE: Early Morning Practice - A Piece of Written Nostalgia
The memory's I have of early morning practice, are of "bump" starting our F1 Ducati down the hill that was to the rear of the Casino hotel, (the garage that we used was the Casino hotels old "generator building ), at around 4.30am in the morning. The "bark" from the Ducati's exhaust really used to bounce of the buildings that were either side of the road. Then there was the ride back up the hill and on in to the paddock. The noise that Those Ducati's made must have woken up half of Douglas, they certainly woke me up. !. On another occasion I was riding Tony Rutters F2 machine up to early morning practice, as I arrived at the entrance of Nobles park the was a Police car parked there, the police man signalled me to stop, O'h my word I thought ! he will throw the book at me,...... no insurance, no tax, no registration plate, no silencer, no horn, slick tyres, non of that mattered to him, and he proceeded to give me a right ***********, all because I was not wearing a helmet !. In a way I miss those early mornings, especially when the weather was good, you could stand on the pit wall and listen to the "noisy" bikes accelerating out of Union Mills, and about 20 minuets later hear them again accelerating out of Signpost corner. Exhilarating !!.
27-03-2010, 06:21 PM
Find Reply
smiler Offline
Probationer

Posts: 7
Threads: 1
Joined: Nov 2006
Reputation: 0
#15
RE: Early Morning Practice - A Piece of Written Nostalgia
Nice that.
gan canny,

M.C
04-04-2010, 11:42 AM
Find Reply
pykey Offline
Senior Member
****

Posts: 460
Threads: 88
Joined: Nov 2007
Reputation: 0
#16
RE: Early Morning Practice - A Piece of Written Nostalgia
Sadly those never to be forgotton magic TT and MGP days will never be the same but we can still remember through sites like this thanks Malcolm.
Roll on Kells 2010
22-04-2010, 04:34 PM
Find Reply
sidewaysid Offline
Probationer

Posts: 12
Threads: 0
Joined: Nov 2009
Reputation: 0
#17
RE: Early Morning Practice - A Piece of Written Nostalgia
I must add my bit here. The very first time over to the TT with my best friend Brian Appleton was I think 1975 or 76 we arrived on the Friday in fine drizzle and found our way to the campsite at the bottom of Bray hill, it was near 7pm before we got the tent pitched, we went to the Woodbourne pub for a couple of pints, and then returned to get some shut eye.
At about 5.30 am we were woken by the scream of bikes leaving the grandstand for early morning practice, we threw our clothes on and ran to the bottom of Bray, as we got there it was George Fogerty on a Ducati who came through, his bike totally bottomed out and bits ot steel, red hot through hitting the tarmac bounced along the road, glowing in the half dark. I will never forget that sight even to this day it sends shivers through me...what a great time we had that week and every time since.
18-07-2010, 06:38 PM
Find Reply
pitlane07 Offline
Member
***

Posts: 102
Threads: 31
Joined: Dec 2006
Reputation: 0
#18
RE: Early Morning Practice - A Piece of Written Nostalgia
On holiday for three weeks on the rock,early eighties ,three kids all had chickenpox one after each other ,did a deal with flat owner stayed extra week ,start of practice for manx. Set off to marshal at kmichael,left 3 30 am over top in fog not sure of way from port st mary,kept sea on my left .Arrived in mitre cpark 4am ,not a soul about,lowerd frontseat got me head downnext thing bikes, flying past never did marshal at k michael but the memory of that morning always put a smile on my face.
PITLANE 07
19-07-2010, 11:23 AM
Find Reply




Users browsing this thread: 1 Guest(s)