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Me, Paul, Dad (Roy) and
Joanne (Paul's niece) all set off for our return to the Southern100 and so the
The first port of call was Oulton Park for a round of the
MRO Championship. Paul and I were not entered for this race meeting so our
outfit was safely tucked up in the van awaiting touch down onto Isle of Man
soil. We left Oulton Park for Heysham and arrived there with about 3 hours to
spare. We decided to go and get a bite to eat at a pub we had passed a few
hundred yards up the road. Of course it was tipping down with rain and of
course a few hundred yards was actually more like 1.5 miles. We feed our faces
then went back (in the pouring rain of course) and caught the boat. We
immediately booked a cabin and when we woke up we were docking in the Isle of
We arrived at the campsite at about 6.00am set up the trusty
caravan and unloaded the bikes. Most of the day was spent working on the bikes,
well that was to say most of Paul's and Dads day was spent doing this. Jo and
me were put in charge of washing the fairing, which was the better half of the
deal I think. At 7.00pm we made our way down to the Stadium to sign on and most
importantly get our free tea vouchers. We didn't get very far last year as you
would realise if you have read my previous article on here and also in the
Summer 2000 TT Supporters Club Magazine, so we were still classed as Newcomers
and therefore had to be taken round the track by Des Evans.
we got up at 8.00am Joanne was most confused as
the race wasn't till 7.23pm(to be precise) and she wondered why we were all
getting up so early. I explained that the Café where we get our
Exploding Egg sandwich and free tea from was only open till 10.00am and it was
part of the S100 ritual to go there every morning. After replenishing ourselves
we went and got on with our chores, which today was cleaning the leathers. I
was feeling a bit nervous and told Jo to try my leathers on to see if they
would fit her. I had a cunning plan, but when I realised Jo could hardly move
in them this went down the drain. At 6.00pm we all started to put our leathers
on. We got the outfits scrutineered at approx 6.30pm and then we were ready and
waiting in the assembly area at 7.19pm, again I do not know how they worked
these times out but they seemed to work and everybody was ready to go by
7.23pm. Flash backs of strawbales at Balabeg hairpin went through my mind. We
set off on a steady lap just to remind ourselves of the track. As we approached
Ballabeg for the first time I had my left leg firmly placed on the chair
wheelarch while getting ready to dive over for the right round the hairpin.
Well all I know was that we got round in one piece so that was a bonus. We did
5 laps then went back out for a second practice at 9.11pm for another 4 laps.
By now I was starting to settle in and feel more confident. When we got back,
we changed and went to a building just up the road that had tables and chairs
and oh yes alcohol. The Pub I think it was called.
While dad and Paul worked on the outfits, Jo
and me went shopping as this was something we do well. When we arrived back at
the campsite my dad was discussing with Paul whether we should risk going out
in today's practice as last year it didn't go all that well. The decision was
to go out do 3 to 4 laps then come in. This, I'm happy to say was what we did
and this time the outfit came back in the same shape as it had gone out in.
Joanne suggested we go and celebrate the fact that we had got further than we
did the previous year. As you can see she was a bad influence on us all and we
only went along to the pub to be sociable for her sake.
Race day or should I say race night. At 7.40pm we got the outfit
scrutineered and at 8.45pm we were lined up on the Castletown Bypass ready for
the off. Jo stood in the assembly area with the lapboard; her job was to show
my dad and Paul what lap they were on. The lights turned to green and we were
off. After what felt like about 5 laps I looked up hopefully to see the last
lap flag, I didn't so my next option was to see what was on the board that Jo
was holding out, to my horror it said 4. My mind had gone blank I couldn't work
out whether we had 4 laps left or whether we'd done 4 laps. I took the decision
not to look again as I had enough on my mind.
I knew when we had
finished as Paul tapped me on the helmet and as I looked up I saw the chequered
flag. As we pulled into the assembly area my dad and Dave Wells were on the
Winners Rostrum they had finished 2nd, Ian Bell and Neil Carpenter had won and
Geoff Bell and Craig Hallam finished 3rd, we had finished 14th and to say I had
a smile on my face was an understatement. Of course that night we went and had
the obligatory drink to celebrate our finish and winning best Newcomers.
This time the race was at a more reasonable
hour, but there were more laps to contend with. We took our positions on the
grid the lights changed to green and we were off. Hold on no we weren't we were
still sitting on the start line while everybody came thundering passed us. The
bike had jumped out of gear so by the time we got going we were about 2nd from
the back. We had some catching up to do or should I say Paul had some catching
up to do. It took us about 6 laps to catch and pass the people in sight, which
I must say made the laps fly by. We were having a battle for position with
William Quayle and Gareth Lacy, nearly every corner we came to they would out
break us then we would out break them at the next. While all this was going on
my dad and Geoff Bell came flying past us, one each side through the Bomb Hole
of all places. They were obviously having their own battle. As we had been
lapped we had one less lap to do which is always welcoming to me, but not so
much for Paul. We were on the last lap and William Quayle had got in front of
us at Castletown Corner on the previous lap so we were on a mission. We managed
to pass him back going towards Iron Gates, but I knew he was there waiting to
pounce. Going towards Stadium I could hear his bike right up with us and as we
went into Castletown Corner we were side by side. My heart was in my mouth and
I took leave of my senses and started shouting and hitting Paul on the back as
if he were a Racehorse. We managed to get over the line .02 of a second in
front. I was so happy I could have cried.
We arrived back at the
assembly area and yet again there was my dad and Dave on the Winners Rostrum.
This time they had finished 3rd and Geoff Bell finished 2nd with Ian Bell in
1st. We returned to the paddock jubilant at our result, we'd finished 10th and
won Best Newcomer again.
That night was the presentation, so we all
tarted ourselves up, by that I mean we all had a wash.
was in Castletown Square. We were called up to receive our awards and struggled
back off the stage with 8 trophies. This was 3 times more trophies than we had
won in our 3 years of racing. Once the presentation was over we took in some
liquid refreshment and had curry and chip (yes chip), well that's what the man
in the Chinese said when I ordered.
Time to pack up. The outfits were loaded in the
van, this time in the same shape as they had arrived in. The caravan was packed
and we said goodbye to the Southern 100 for another year.
already booked my holiday for this years Southern 100. Not that I'm keen or
anything you understand.
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