| Kate Hoey, the UK Minister
||Kate Hoey, the UK Minister for Sport, attended the TT races
for the first time last June. We managed to catch up with her, and ask her what
she thought of the world famous event.
Kate; you visited the TT last
year for the first time. What were your impressions of the event?
I thought it was a really wonderful event, which was very
well organised. I would say that it is certainly one of the best sporting
events I have been to, the best organised, and most definitely one of the most
enjoyable for me personally.
What had you heard
about the TT before you visited?
Quite a lot actually. My father was a big TT fan and he
attended the races on many occasions when he was younger. I had always wanted
to see this event he spoke off, and coming from Northern Ireland where Road
Racing is very popular also, we got to hear quite a lot from the races.
Are you planning to make a return visit at any
Well it seems likely that the General Election could take
place during TT fortnight this year which would obviously prevent me from
attending although I had planned to return this year. I will certainly come
over to the Island again for the TT at some stage in the future if not this
You originate from Northern Ireland were
Road Racing is very popular. Had you ever been to a Road Racing event before
Yes I had. We used to attend the Ulster Grand Prix each year
when it was held at Claddy on the course with the seven-mile straight. We had
relatives who actually lived on that straight, so we used to go there to
I have also been to the North West 200 once also, which is
another fantastic event, with huge crowds.
year TT legend Joey Dunlop was tragically killed racing in Estonia. You
witnessed his 23rd TT win in the Formula One race. What was he like when you
I met Joey before the Formula One race and he was very calm,
and very confident, but not saying much (laughs). I had heard a lot about Joey
and I am pleased to say that everything I had heard about him was
I was luck enough to garland him after his wonderful victory and
he was a bit more talkative then. It was great to see him with his family, all
of whom were so happy after his wonderful performance.
I did speak to
his brother quite a lot, who is obviously a lot more talkative.
You also attended his funeral back in your home country of
Northern Ireland. What do you think his death meant to the people of Northern
Ireland and the racing community in general?
Well the funeral was the biggest I have ever seen and am
likely to see. It was just amazing how many people turned up to say their
respects to this legend of motorbike racing.
It brought many different
communities together with people from both sides of the border in Ireland plus
many from the Isle of Man, the UK and from the continent all turning up to this
little church to pay their respects.
I was also lucky enough to be
present at the tribute for him in Manx Grand Prix week back on the Island. That
was a fantastic tribute to him, just amazing. I was in a car at the front of
the procession, and it was amazing to see the amount of people who turned out.
It was very emotional.
Thank you for taking the
time to talk to us, and we look forward to seeing you back in the Isle of Man
in the future.
Well thank you. It was lovely to talk to you.
Kate Hoey was talking to Paul Phillips