Best TT Memories.
laverda77 Offline
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#1
Best TT Memories.
Hi everyone,just thought i would start a new topic, during these strange times,to hopefully, hear some stories of visits to the I.O. M TT over the years,however trivial,ive many ,having been 45 times .E.G .in 1981 ,when having a beer in the "Gluepot" in Castletown, a farmers wife ,randomly offered us to pitch our tent on their farm,free of charge,when she heard we were a skint young couple,staying in a Douglas campsite.....ive tons more stories,perhaps trivial? Lets hear your Coronavirus lockdown TT memories.
30-03-2020, 06:03 PM
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ian333 Offline
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#2
RE: Best TT Memories.
TT92 - finally made it to my first TT. Arrived into Peel on fishing boat from Portavogie (terrible experience) with my dad late Friday night. Walked until we found a field and put our tent up which we found out next morning was a school. Packed up got a bus to Douglas. No Idea where I was in relation to course but as we got to Ballacraine my mind was absolutely blown by finally seeing the TT course in person.

Got ourselves up to Bedstead on the outside of the corner for the F1 race (houses were just starting to be built). Heard the bikes go off the line, then the anticipation continued to build as the radio team relayed the race for the next 18/19 mins. Finally I could hear the distant roar of the bikes coming down the mountain - will never forget the sound and the feeling of excitement before the riders finally came into view at Signpost. Loved it then and love it now!
30-03-2020, 07:05 PM
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laverda77 Offline
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#3
RE: Best TT Memories.
Thats perfect.ive been at Cronk ny Mona ( great for the ladies,with Cat wi No Tail pub,for toilets etc ) for the last couple of years,and Signpost corner ,mega for watching sidecars imop,sometimes two abreast,one or two go right through slip road. Yes Bedstead was just a field at one time before the new houses.
30-03-2020, 07:29 PM
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Moderator2 Offline
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#4
RE: Best TT Memories.
And for a bit of trivia, how did Bedstead get its name?
30-03-2020, 09:57 PM
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eman1948 Offline
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#5
RE: Best TT Memories.
Didn`t the farmer have the hedge made out of bedsteads?

Oh I fell off my H1a there in 1971, not racing, still remember it like yesterday.
30-03-2020, 10:20 PM
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AntG Offline
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#6
RE: Best TT Memories.
Being there in 2015 for Ivan Lintins debut win, I remember Ivan from his first year of racing on the short circuits on a Honda Hornet of all things and had seen his name keep popping up over the next few years winning the Irish Junior Support Championship and becoming a front runner at Scarborough so it was nice to be there in person when he won his first TT.
30-03-2020, 10:26 PM
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Smokin Haddock Racing Offline
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#7
RE: Best TT Memories.
I suppose its always the first one. Sat on the exit of the Creg (long since banished), listening to the bikes setting off, and then waiting for them to appear. Being a Huddersfield lad Mick Grant was my favourite. 1976. My Dad took me on the back of his XL250 complete with our camping gear.

I did once get locked in on the mountain with crashes at the veranda and the creg. The police let us play on the closed circuit. Smile. Different times.
30-03-2020, 10:36 PM
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#8
RE: Best TT Memories.
(30-03-2020, 10:20 PM)eman1948 Wrote: Didn`t the farmer have the hedge made out of bedsteads?

Oh I fell off my H1a there in 1971, not racing, still remember it like yesterday.

Correct, the inside of the bend used to be lined by a fence made of old iron bedsteads, visible on some old photos.
30-03-2020, 11:04 PM
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warrior Offline
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#9
RE: Best TT Memories.
(30-03-2020, 10:26 PM)AntG Wrote: Being there in 2015 for Ivan Lintins debut win, I remember Ivan from his first year of racing on the short circuits on a Honda Hornet of all things and had seen his name keep popping up over the next few years winning the Irish Junior Support Championship and becoming a front runner at Scarborough so it was nice to be there in person when he won his first TT.

I was doing Ivan's signal board on the exit of Governors that day, and back when he was an MGP Newcomer I did a crank change for him on the Billy McKinstry 250 Yamaha before the Lightweight, so it was magic to have been there on his debut and then to see him win his first TT.
30-03-2020, 11:14 PM
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#10
RE: Best TT Memories.
Quote from (my): http://siljasttknowledge.blogspot.com/
Left hander. The farmer used and old head board from a bed for a gate into the field. The gate, presumably due to neglect or damage, had been substituted by various bits of defunct furniture and junk, most prominently an old cast iron bedstead - hence the name. Here starts Hailwood Avenue. Quote "Milky Quayle: "For me the hardest bend on the course. [b]Look for the telegraph pole on the inside, driving it on. Remember, it drops away for you there. [/b]
Don't be that optimistic! The light in the tunnel can be a train. Sad
31-03-2020, 08:13 AM
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SILJA Offline
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#11
RE: Best TT Memories.
I was a bus driver in Orebro, Sweden 1970. For five years I had worked nine hours a day in the light blue Scania Vabis busses. The steering was heavy as the engine was in the front beside the driver. There was as well an overhang of the body ahead of the front axle. High pressure in the front and no power steering. The diameter of the white steering wheels was gigantic. I’d been working in the morning three years earlier when Sweden changed to right hand traffic. In 1968 I bought my first new motorcycle. A Suzuki T20. A two-stroke twin with a six-speed gearbox. Earlier my rocker carrier was on my father’s Monark Blue Arrow with the same type of engine but an ILO from Germany with four speeds. The Suzuki’s acceleration was phenomenal. When the red light turned to green I gave full gas and my friend “Gadda” was suddenly behind on his Triumph Bonneville. After, when we stopped at the hot-dog stand he kicked my front wheel: – Bloody fast moped you’ve got! was his admiring comment.

I spent only one summer with the Suzuki because there arrived better things from Japan.1969 a completely new model came. A three cylinders two-stroker, Kawasaki 500 Mach III was introduced and one of these became mine. A “widow maker” with 60 horse-powers and 500 cc. Mine was one of the very first in Sweden. A friend had one a week before me with electronic ignition. My pearl had three pairs of contact breakers. I adjusted the ignition very often just for fun. My father made me an adapter with the same spiral as the spark plug. I put on an indicator device and started the work. Twisted the crankshaft to get one of the pistons to the T.D.C. Back 2,73 or was it 2,78 mm before T.D.C? Ignition on and adjust so my little control lamp went off exactly when the breakers opened. Ready! Only two more to adjust. After a while it took me only 15 minutes to adjust all the three! The first winter I painted my Kawasaki green. Probably the first green one in the world. On the sides of the tank there was written Ka Wa Sa Ki with Japanese letters in white.

In the gang of rockers who hanged around at one of the city’s squares was a young guy with a new Honda CB 350. Per or Pelle Jansson. His big brother Borje should compete in the TT-races 1970. The IoM-races were a part of the World Championship at that time. We started to talk about it early in the spring. It would be great to go to the island to support Borje. My friend Jorka Blomberg had been there three years earlier for the Diamond Jubilee Races with the famous battle between Mike Hailwood and Giacomo Agostini. Jorka and three other friends should go in a Citroën 2CV to stay in the paddock for the entire TT.

More guys in the gang were inspired and plans started. To go by motorbike to Isle of Man. It was “Mellis” on his Honda CB 750 that was new, Borje’s little brother Pelle should travel on the Honda behind “Mellis”. “Gadda” on his Triumph Bonneville and Lasse on his Suzuki T 500 that also was new. I got a strong feeling that I didn’t want to miss that adventure. I walked into the CEO’s office and asked for vacation with a short notice. I got a blank no and I resigned on the go. The day after I wasn’t a bus driver anymore and I missed my vacation-salary for that year.

In the end of May the journey started. Four bikes with five persons 300 km from Orebro to the ferry ship in Gothenburg. The name of the vessel was Tor Anglia with the destination Immingham. The long trip over The North Sea took more than 24 hours in calm weather. Some schoolgirls made our trip pleasant. When we came to UK it was left hand traffic again. Now it was just a little more than 200 km to Liverpool and then the steamboat to IoM. There were not as many highways as nowadays so it took some time. An incident happened in Manchester. Stopped by the police! Speeding in the city. Suddenly our English became quite bad and we asked about the speed limit. Pointed at our km speedometers and asked politely the constables to translate to miles per hour. They didn’t succeed so we could continue to Liverpool without any fines.

Liverpool is quite large. We found a signpost pointing at the docks. We followed some British bikers and found the harbor. It was hot in the sunshine. Leathers off and then a long waiting started including some sleep on the quay. It wasn’t more than two departures a day. The queue was extremely long. At last we came to a booking-office. After almost a day and night with only tea and sandwiches it was time to empty the petrol tanks. We got empty-stickers and our bikes were airlifted in metal crates three and three to the deck of the vessel. The sea trip was with old steamboats and the bikes were transported on fore deck. The unloading from the crates we had to do ourselves and park the bikes on the central stand without any lashing. There were several hundreds of bikes there on fore deck. The crossing Liverpool – Douglas took about five hours. The name of the vessel was Manxman. When we arrived all the bikes were unloaded from deck with a crane and then was the time to put in petrol again. In one tanking station! It took some time.

In the queue to the petrol we had a chat with some British riders. Where to put up our tents? Glen Lough was recommended. It was close to the course about 5 km from Douglas. It is just before the right hander Ballagarey or Balla Scary as some pronounce it. The facilities there were not as nowadays. The morning washing and tooth brushing took place in a poultry house. The farmer offered milk and eggs and that was the breakfast with some help from the portable gas stove.

The first shock came when the practice started after a couple of days. We had absolutely no idea about the morning practice between 5 and 7 am. Soon after 5 we were wide awake in some seconds. The course was about 25 – 30 metres from our tents. Among others, Norton Manxses, Agostinis MV Agustas both 350 and 500, two 350 cc four cylinders Benellis ridden by Kel Carruthers and Renzo Pasolini and a cluster of 750 BSA- and Triumph- triples roared through in full gas. Two-strokers from 125 cc and bigger howled past in top revs. What an alarm clock!

We went to the paddock almost every day through the practice week. Chatting with Borje and his mechanic Anders Hallberg. We had fantastic local ice cream and enjoyed the heat of the sun. Bo Granath had his tent close to Borje’s and we started to know him as well. He competed in the 250 cc and 350 cc on Yamahas and in 500 cc on his Husqvarna twin. Kent Andersson was also on the island but he wasn’t staying in the paddock. He and Rodney Gould competed in the 250 cc and 350 cc in a team managed by the Dutch Yamaha importer and they were living in a hotel down in Douglas. Kent decided to not compete after his first practice. His gearbox locked, according to himself, at the fast section at Wagon and Horses in the downhill towards The Highlander. Kent succeeded to stop with a locked rear wheel without a crash. Some years later Kent became the World Champion in 125 cc. In 1973 and 1974. One more Swede competed 1970 in the races. Billy Andersson who made his 18th and last race that year on a Matchless. I believe it was a G50. On the evening practices and race days we went to exciting places of the TT Course. The entire race program was done as scheduled. There was not one drop of rain in the three weeks we spent on IoM. We were sleeping outside the tents some nights because of the heat.

We had mostly fish and chips from small kiosks in a lot of places along The Promenade. – Salt and vinegar? – Yes please! was the standard reply. The dish was served in an old newspaper. It tasted delicious! That’s the explanation why fish and chips today often is served in glazed paper looking as newspaper pages. More hygienic today but in 1970 it was really old newspapers they used! UK and Ireland changed to the decimal monetary system in these days. How many pounds are 20 newpence? We’ve read and sometimes we had to explain to the dealers how the coming system worked. Another problem showed up quite quickly. Lack of underclothes. Our planning was too bad and the solution was the big department store in the city, was it Marks and Spencer at that time? They had paper panties for sale. Fantastic! The washing troubles were solved!

The evenings were mostly spent at the pub in the corner of The Promenade and Broadway. The building is still there but now it’s offices and homes. The name of the pub was The Central. - A pint of bitter, please! It was cheap and some pints slid down dry throats in the hot weather. The English Bitter Pale Ale need an explanation. The tax of alcohol in England was based on the strength of alcohol in the brews. The brewers learned how to make tasty beer that wasn’t very strong. There are at least four classes of bitters from 3% to 7% strength of alcohol. Ordinary Bitter, Best Bitter, Special Bitter and Extra Special Bitter. We had probably the weakest and quite many pints. It didn’t effect us very much but it quenched or thirst. I really don’t remember in what way we came back the 5 km:s to the tents at Glen Lough in the warm nights but I hope that we walked or took a cab!

My Kawasaki started to leak oil from the gearbox. The gland at the shaft for changing gears wasn’t tight. In 1970 there were absolutely no glands to find in millimetres on the island. I asked everywhere. But my friend Jorka found out how to manage, as always. In an unwatched moment, when Bo Granath went to the city, we nipped off a couple of centimetres of the tube to his LPG stove. The piece fitted exactly to the gear shaft. A piece of a Coca Cola can got a hole and was placed outside the rubber tube. It all was secured with a piece of barbwire that was clenched outside the whole thing. The gearshift lever was reassembeled and it was completely tight again!

One horrible experience came on the Friday afternoon at the Senior race. In the fine sunshine Pelle Jansson and me were sitting on the left wall of the Milntown Bridge as it was named at that time. Now Glen Auldyn Bridge about a mile before Ramsey. A policeman told us to have the legs inside the wall. His advice was - When Agostini arrives you will put them inside anyway! It happened at the third lap. John Wetherall came too far to the right before the righthand bend and he touched the wall with his shoulder on the inside. We didn’t see the crash but we heard that the engine stalled. John was thrown to the lefthand wall. He was taken to hospital but he passed away an hour later. The TT 1970 was very, very black. Additionally four solo riders were killed though the nice weather. Les Iles, Michael Collins, Brian Steenson and Santiago Herrero. Upon that the sidecar rider Denis Blower. Herrero was a top rider who had three victories the 250 Grand Prixes in 1969. He was involved in the fight for the 250 championship at the last race in Opatija in Yugoslavia 1969. Three riders had the chance to be world champion before the 250 race started. Kel Carruthers won on a four cylinders Benelli before the Swede Kent Andersson on a Yamaha and Santiago Herrero on a single cylinder Ossa. Before Herrero’s fatal Isle of Man race 1970 he won a GP in Yugoslavia.

In the biggest class, 750 Production, Malcolm Uphill on a Triumph Trident was winning before Peter Williams on a Norton. Giacomo Agostini was first in Senior TT on a three cylinders 500 MV Agusta ahead of Peter Williams on a Matchless and Bill Smith on a Kawasaki, the same model that I rode to the island. Ago was winning the 350 Junior TT as well, on a three cylinders MV before Alan Barnett on a single cylinder Aermacchi.

In the 125 Dieter Braun took the victory on a Suzuki twin before Borje Jansson. Borje rode his single cylinder Maico to a fine second place after three laps without any stop. Borje is still the best placed Swede on a solo bike at the TT course. He made the equal result at the TT 1971 though a stalled engine in the uphill after Ramsey Hairpin. Borje still says that he never been that close to the death as when he pushed his bike to live again in the uphill. Kel Carruthers won the 250 race on a Yamaha before Rodney Gould as well on a Yamaha. Günter Bartusch was third on a MZ. Borje Jansson finished 8th om his Yamaha after six laps with one stop for tanking. Time 2.28.59.6. Notable is that Borje rode three laps on almost the same lap time. There were only fractions of a second in difference at all his laps with a flying start. Lap 2, 5 and 6. He needed help to come off his bike after the race. Imagine. 360 km:s in racing speed for two and a half hours!

Back in England our plan was to travel north on the west coast. The first night was planned to be in Southport not very far of Liverpool. We went into a camping and the heavy loaded 750 Honda with a passenger came to a depression. The chain snapped off. At the early 750:s there were not any splinterguards in front of the primary gear wheel so we could have a look into the gearbox. It was a huge hole! In such situations it’s good to have a bike with some torque in the gang. “Gadda” on his Triumph had to tow the Honda across England and the 300 km:s from Gothenburg to Orebro. “Mellis” on the Honda was quite tired in his arms when we came home after a tremendous adventure. The hole? Jorka, of course, rapaired it with some stuff named Belzona!

Now it’s 50 years since I visited Isle of Man for my first time. I’m planning to come for some celebrations in 2020. I hope to have some own vehicle to ride on. That’s a bike with an engine needed to travel, on the island of motorbikes, Isle of Man! The last cacelled by, you all know why!
Don't be that optimistic! The light in the tunnel can be a train. Sad
31-03-2020, 08:14 AM
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Nasher Offline
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#12
RE: Best TT Memories.
In 1980 at around 2 in the morning, I was riding to the Liverpool ferry, from Kent, and blew my gearbox on the M1

I pushed the bike to Luton station and blagged a lift on a train to London (persuading the train guard to let the bike on was fun as he was concerned of the risk from petrol. As the bike was a cafe racer, I told him the tank wouldn’t leak as it was made by the same guy that made Barry Sheene’s tanks – he helped me push the bike onto the train!)

Once at St Pancras station (London), I phoned my boss, told him of my plight and he said he’d come & pick me up with a van. Whilst waiting at the station, A man approached and started talking about the bike. I explained my predicament and that my TT trip was in jeopardy - he said “I’ve got a bike, would you like to borrow it?”

That’s how I spent the 1980 TT on a borrowed Honda CB250

And yes, this is a true story, a complete stranger lent me his motorbike for 10 days
31-03-2020, 08:38 AM
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bsa499 Offline
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#13
RE: Best TT Memories.
What a great thread, many thanks laverda77. Three memories, initially, from me. The first memory was the first time - in 1962, this was a junior school holiday, we actually flew to the Island from Squires Gate, Blackpool on a Douglas DC3. We stayed at Port Erin in a holiday camp-type of place above the Port Erin Marine Laboratory.  One of the teachers must've been a TT fan as we were taken to spectate at Ballacraine for the Junior TT. The sound and the speed of it was a massive thrill, I'd certainly never experienced anything like it. My hero, Mike Hailwood, won that race and that was where my fascination with TT Course events was born. Moving on 51 years and I picked up my own - one and only - replica from the 2013 Senior Classic TT, hardly in the Hailwood class, but what a second memory!! That bronze statuette of Mercury holds pride of place in my living room. I felt it was a great honour plus an incredible blast to practice and race on the closed roads of the TT course. Dangerous? Sadly it is, but, for me, it really was worth the commitment, the cost and the inevitable heartache the events bring. My third memory and another bonus from my early TT Course events was morning practice. Setting off towards Bray Hill flat out with the sun was still rising, steaming through Union Mills, Crosby, Kirkmichael and Ramsey whilst most of the residents were still in bed was both a surreal and inspiring experience. We're all going to miss the TT, let's hope 'normal service is resumed' in 2021.
31-03-2020, 09:56 AM
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Alfie Noakes Offline
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#14
RE: Best TT Memories.
Very fortunate to grow up on the island. Earliest memory - sat with my lovely late Dad at the rhs exit of Barregarrow Bottom 40 odd years ago with 2 and 4 strokes zinging and roaring past and many other spec areas now which as I ride around are restricted but am reminded of lovely days out, working on the scoreboards then control tower with cubs/scouts, getting involved as pit crew/spanners then having a go at MGP and TT myself, the far extremes of the sport and wouldn't change any of it - the best thing i've ever got involved in in my life outside of family. Hope it all continues ... likewise you guys/girls on here.
31-03-2020, 10:01 AM
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Yamaham Offline
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#15
RE: Best TT Memories.
I'm a relative newcomer to some of the great stories on here so far, though like most of you it is my first experience that comes to mind. My first T.T was with some mates in 2009 and I'll never forget seeing the bikes on closed roads for the first time. We arrived on Weds of practice week, got the tents pitched at Glenlough just in time for the evening practice session. We perched ourselves on the grass bank at the end of the straight that comes up from Union Mills. I couldn't believe what I was seeing as the bikes flew by us about 18 inches away as they tipped into the fast right hander after us! I don't think I could speak for about ten minutes! Have returned every year since and always try to get to a fast section of the course for the first practice/race of my trip just to feel that buzz again. It really is unbelievable how fast these lads n lasses can go round that piece of road! What I love about the T.T, and road racing in general is how accessible all of the riders are. Like all of you, I've had a chance to meet many of the heroes of bike racing, past and present, and can't remember meeting anyone who didn't come across as a humble, genuine person.

Racing highlights are many in the past few years for me, though a few stand out. Michael Dunlop winning his first T.T in 2009 in the second supersport race was one. I know he can be a bit of a marmite character, but back then, everyone seemed generally chuffed that a Dunlop was back on the top step at the T.T. I think it was 2013 when Bruce Anstey and Cameron Donald had an epic duel in another supersport race, separated by only fractions of a second through the four laps before Anstey claimed the closest of wins. And also the Senior from two years ago! I really think we will be speaking of that many years from now. Harrison and Hickman produced what we all go to the T.T for. In near perfect conditions they went toe to toe for 6 laps, both having to go for it on the only flying lap of the race, the record was always going to be smashed in that scenario. Epic! Roll on 2021!
31-03-2020, 10:41 AM
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#16
RE: Best TT Memories.
Another great memory was also my first TT visit in 2014, I was utterly blown away when the superbikes came flying through St Ninians at the start of laps 2,4 and 6, literally flying as well when they hit that bump in the road. Me and an Australian couple who were there for the first time too were just giggling like kids as these bikes are doing 170+ past a church and a school. That was also the race where Bruce Anstey did the first 132 and Michael Dunlop won on the BMW.
31-03-2020, 10:52 AM
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laverda77 Offline
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#17
RE: Best TT Memories.
(31-03-2020, 08:14 AM)SILJA Wrote: I was a bus driver in Orebro, Sweden 1970. For five years I had worked nine hours a day in the light blue Scania Vabis busses. The steering was heavy as the engine was in the front beside the driver. There was as well an overhang of the body ahead of the front axle. High pressure in the front and no power steering. The diameter of the white steering wheels was gigantic. I’d been working in the morning three years earlier when Sweden changed to right hand traffic. In 1968 I bought my first new motorcycle. A Suzuki T20. A two-stroke twin with a six-speed gearbox. Earlier my rocker carrier was on my father’s Monark Blue Arrow with the same type of engine but an ILO from Germany with four speeds. The Suzuki’s acceleration was phenomenal. When the red light turned to green I gave full gas and my friend “Gadda” was suddenly behind on his Triumph Bonneville. After, when we stopped at the hot-dog stand he kicked my front wheel: – Bloody fast moped you’ve got! was his admiring comment.

I spent only one summer with the Suzuki because there arrived better things from Japan.1969 a completely new model came. A three cylinders two-stroker, Kawasaki 500 Mach III was introduced and one of these became mine. A “widow maker” with 60 horse-powers and 500 cc. Mine was one of the very first in Sweden. A friend had one a week before me with electronic ignition. My pearl had three pairs of contact breakers. I adjusted the ignition very often just for fun. My father made me an adapter with the same spiral as the spark plug. I put on an indicator device and started the work. Twisted the crankshaft to get one of the pistons to the T.D.C. Back 2,73 or was it 2,78 mm before T.D.C? Ignition on and adjust so my little control lamp went off exactly when the breakers opened. Ready! Only two more to adjust. After a while it took me only 15 minutes to adjust all the three! The first winter I painted my Kawasaki green. Probably the first green one in the world. On the sides of the tank there was written Ka Wa Sa Ki with Japanese letters in white.

In the gang of rockers who hanged around at one of the city’s squares was a young guy with a new Honda CB 350. Per or Pelle Jansson. His big brother Borje should compete in the TT-races 1970. The IoM-races were a part of the World Championship at that time. We started to talk about it early in the spring. It would be great to go to the island to support Borje. My friend Jorka Blomberg had been there three years earlier for the Diamond Jubilee Races with the famous battle between Mike Hailwood and Giacomo Agostini. Jorka and three other friends should go in a Citroën 2CV to stay in the paddock for the entire TT.

More guys in the gang were inspired and plans started. To go by motorbike to Isle of Man. It was “Mellis” on his Honda CB 750 that was new, Borje’s little brother Pelle should travel on the Honda behind “Mellis”. “Gadda” on his Triumph Bonneville and Lasse on his Suzuki T 500 that also was new. I got a strong feeling that I didn’t want to miss that adventure. I walked into the CEO’s office and asked for vacation with a short notice. I got a blank no and I resigned on the go. The day after I wasn’t a bus driver anymore and I missed my vacation-salary for that year.

In the end of May the journey started. Four bikes with five persons 300 km from Orebro to the ferry ship in Gothenburg. The name of the vessel was Tor Anglia with the destination Immingham. The long trip over The North Sea took more than 24 hours in calm weather. Some schoolgirls made our trip pleasant. When we came to UK it was left hand traffic again. Now it was just a little more than 200 km to Liverpool and then the steamboat to IoM. There were not as many highways as nowadays so it took some time. An incident happened in Manchester. Stopped by the police! Speeding in the city. Suddenly our English became quite bad and we asked about the speed limit. Pointed at our km speedometers and asked politely the constables to translate to miles per hour. They didn’t succeed so we could continue to Liverpool without any fines.

Liverpool is quite large. We found a signpost pointing at the docks. We followed some British bikers and found the harbor. It was hot in the sunshine. Leathers off and then a long waiting started including some sleep on the quay. It wasn’t more than two departures a day. The queue was extremely long. At last we came to a booking-office. After almost a day and night with only tea and sandwiches it was time to empty the petrol tanks. We got empty-stickers and our bikes were airlifted in metal crates three and three to the deck of the vessel. The sea trip was with old steamboats and the bikes were transported on fore deck. The unloading from the crates we had to do ourselves and park the bikes on the central stand without any lashing. There were several hundreds of bikes there on fore deck. The crossing Liverpool – Douglas took about five hours. The name of the vessel was Manxman. When we arrived all the bikes were unloaded from deck with a crane and then was the time to put in petrol again. In one tanking station! It took some time.  

In the queue to the petrol we had a chat with some British riders. Where to put up our tents? Glen Lough was recommended. It was close to the course about 5 km from Douglas. It is just before the right hander Ballagarey or Balla Scary as some pronounce it. The facilities there were not as nowadays. The morning washing and tooth brushing took place in a poultry house. The farmer offered milk and eggs and that was the breakfast with some help from the portable gas stove.    

The first shock came when the practice started after a couple of days. We had absolutely no idea about the morning practice between 5 and 7 am. Soon after 5 we were wide awake in some seconds. The course was about 25 – 30 metres from our tents. Among others, Norton Manxses, Agostinis MV Agustas both 350 and 500, two 350 cc four cylinders Benellis ridden by Kel Carruthers and Renzo Pasolini and a cluster of 750 BSA- and Triumph- triples roared through in full gas. Two-strokers from 125 cc and bigger howled past in top revs. What an alarm clock!  

We went to the paddock almost every day through the practice week. Chatting with Borje and his mechanic Anders Hallberg. We had fantastic local ice cream and enjoyed the heat of the sun. Bo Granath had his tent close to Borje’s and we started to know him as well. He competed in the 250 cc and 350 cc on Yamahas and in 500 cc on his Husqvarna twin. Kent Andersson was also on the island but he wasn’t staying in the paddock. He and Rodney Gould competed in the 250 cc and 350 cc in a team managed by the Dutch Yamaha importer and they were living in a hotel down in Douglas. Kent decided to not compete after his first practice. His gearbox locked, according to himself, at the fast section at Wagon and Horses in the downhill towards The Highlander. Kent succeeded to stop with a locked rear wheel without a crash. Some years later Kent became the World Champion in 125 cc. In 1973 and 1974. One more Swede competed 1970 in the races. Billy Andersson who made his 18th and last race that year on a Matchless. I believe it was a G50. On the evening practices and race days we went to exciting places of the TT Course. The entire race program was done as scheduled. There was not one drop of rain in the three weeks we spent on IoM. We were sleeping outside the tents some nights because of the heat.

We had mostly fish and chips from small kiosks in a lot of places along The Promenade. – Salt and vinegar? – Yes please! was the standard reply. The dish was served in an old newspaper. It tasted delicious! That’s the explanation why fish and chips today often is served in glazed paper looking as newspaper pages. More hygienic today but in 1970 it was really old newspapers they used! UK and Ireland changed to the decimal monetary system in these days. How many pounds are 20 newpence? We’ve read and sometimes we had to explain to the dealers how the coming system worked. Another problem showed up quite quickly. Lack of underclothes. Our planning was too bad and the solution was the big department store in the city, was it Marks and Spencer at that time? They had paper panties for sale. Fantastic! The washing troubles were solved!  

The evenings were mostly spent at the pub in the corner of The Promenade and Broadway. The building is still there but now it’s offices and homes. The name of the pub was The Central. - A pint of bitter, please! It was cheap and some pints slid down dry throats in the hot weather. The English Bitter Pale Ale need an explanation. The tax of alcohol in England was based on the strength of alcohol in the brews. The brewers learned how to make tasty beer that wasn’t very strong. There are at least four classes of bitters from 3% to 7% strength of alcohol. Ordinary Bitter, Best Bitter, Special Bitter and Extra Special Bitter. We had probably the weakest and quite many pints. It didn’t effect us very much but it quenched or thirst. I really don’t remember in what way we came back the 5 km:s to the tents at Glen Lough in the warm nights but I hope that we walked or took a cab!

My Kawasaki started to leak oil from the gearbox. The gland at the shaft for changing gears wasn’t tight. In 1970 there were absolutely no glands to find in millimetres on the island. I asked everywhere. But my friend Jorka found out how to manage, as always. In an unwatched moment, when Bo Granath went to the city, we nipped off a couple of centimetres of the tube to his LPG stove. The piece fitted exactly to the gear shaft. A piece of a Coca Cola can got a hole and was placed outside the rubber tube. It all was secured with a piece of barbwire that was clenched outside the whole thing. The gearshift lever was reassembeled and it was completely tight again!

One horrible experience came on the Friday afternoon at the Senior race. In the fine sunshine Pelle Jansson and me were sitting on the left wall of the Milntown Bridge as it was named at that time. Now Glen Auldyn Bridge about a mile before Ramsey. A policeman told us to have the legs inside the wall. His advice was - When Agostini arrives you will put them inside anyway! It happened at the third lap. John Wetherall came too far to the right before the righthand bend and he touched the wall with his shoulder on the inside. We didn’t see the crash but we heard that the engine stalled. John was thrown to the lefthand wall. He was taken to hospital but he passed away an hour later. The TT 1970 was very, very black. Additionally four solo riders were killed though the nice weather. Les Iles, Michael Collins, Brian Steenson and Santiago Herrero. Upon that the sidecar rider Denis Blower. Herrero was a top rider who had three victories the 250 Grand Prixes in 1969. He was involved in the fight for the 250 championship at the last race in Opatija in Yugoslavia 1969. Three riders had the chance to be world champion before the 250 race started. Kel Carruthers won on a four cylinders Benelli before the Swede Kent Andersson on a Yamaha and Santiago Herrero on a single cylinder Ossa. Before Herrero’s fatal Isle of Man race 1970 he won a GP in Yugoslavia.  

In the biggest class, 750 Production, Malcolm Uphill on a Triumph Trident was winning before Peter Williams on a Norton. Giacomo Agostini was first in Senior TT on a three cylinders 500 MV Agusta ahead of Peter Williams on a Matchless and Bill Smith on a Kawasaki, the same model that I rode to the island. Ago was winning the 350 Junior TT as well, on a three cylinders MV before Alan Barnett on a single cylinder Aermacchi.      

In the 125 Dieter Braun took the victory on a Suzuki twin before Borje Jansson. Borje rode his single cylinder Maico to a fine second place after three laps without any stop. Borje is still the best placed Swede on a solo bike at the TT course. He made the equal result at the TT 1971 though a stalled engine in the uphill after Ramsey Hairpin. Borje still says that he never been that close to the death as when he pushed his bike to live again in the uphill. Kel Carruthers won the 250 race on a Yamaha before Rodney Gould as well on a Yamaha. Günter Bartusch was third on a MZ. Borje Jansson finished 8th om his Yamaha after six laps with one stop for tanking. Time 2.28.59.6. Notable is that Borje rode three laps on almost the same lap time. There were only fractions of a second in difference at all his laps with a flying start. Lap 2, 5 and 6. He needed help to come off his bike after the race. Imagine. 360 km:s in racing speed for two and a half hours!

Back in England our plan was to travel north on the west coast. The first night was planned to be in Southport not very far of Liverpool. We went into a camping and the heavy loaded 750 Honda with a passenger came to a depression. The chain snapped off. At the early 750:s there were not any splinterguards in front of the primary gear wheel so we could have a look into the gearbox. It was a huge hole! In such situations it’s good to have a bike with some torque in the gang. “Gadda” on his Triumph had to tow the Honda across England and the 300 km:s from Gothenburg to Orebro. “Mellis” on the Honda was quite tired in his arms when we came home after a tremendous adventure. The hole? Jorka, of course, rapaired it with some stuff named Belzona!  

Now it’s 50 years since I visited Isle of Man for my first time. I’m planning to come for some celebrations in 2020. I hope to have some own vehicle to ride on. That’s a bike with an engine needed to travel, on the island of motorbikes, Isle of Man! The last cacelled by, you all know why!
02-04-2020, 07:56 PM
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laverda77 Offline
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#18
RE: Best TT Memories.
Great story Silja,just to let you know, ive had your guide printed off and in an A4 folder for a few years,and even with restricted room when camping on the bike ,it goes in the bottom of the top box first, it makes a great a read the evening before,deciding where to watch the following day. Last years practice week whilst camping at Peel,the temperature one night went down to 4 deg,so it was whisky and the guide that helped.So many memories,but 1978 was my first visit,75 Bonneville,camping at Greenfield rd,now an old folks home,early morning startline ,seeing Hailwood walk up to the bikes,Beer in the Manor Hotel in the afternoon,which is not known as a TT venue really,but friendly locals were very knowledgeable about bike racing.The atmosphere in 1978 was something special.
02-04-2020, 08:19 PM
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Moderator2 Offline
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#19
RE: Best TT Memories.
1998 watching the Senior from the bottom of Bray Hill, willing Bob Jackson on, he came oh so close to defeating Ian Simpson on the Honda Britain RC45, going with a big a tank and a one stop plan he held a 30 second lead at his lap 3 fuel stop, but the cap wouldn't go back on, drama indeed as Peter Kneale said at the time!!

The pit stop delay levelled everything up again and going into the last lap Simpson was ahead but there was nothing in it, probably 2 seconds, Bob also had a split exhaust by then which taking the edge off the Kawasaki, to this day I don't know how he did it but somehow Bob managed to get back in front by 0.5 of a second at Ramsey Hairpin but was just lacking power over the mountain and Simpson sneaked it by around 2 seconds from memory.

Another highlight of that same race was Shaun Harris wringing the neck off Dennis Trollope's TZ250 to finish 8th in the Senior!! I have never seen anyone so committed through the the bottom of Bray, absolutely flat out and head buried in the tank!!
02-04-2020, 11:46 PM
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Sam Pato Offline
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#20
RE: Best TT Memories.
That 1998 Senior is definitely one of my own highlights. I remember the commentators saying Bob nearly flipped it coming out of the pits - he deserved the win for commitment alone. We were at Hillberry and walked up to Kates and I recall Shaun flying on the 250. He broke Loughers incredibly long standing 250 lap record that day but it didn't count as it was in the Senior. I've still no idea why Lougher doesn't get more plaudits for that lap.
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03-04-2020, 12:11 AM
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