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  #1  
Old 9th June 2014, 11:17 PM
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ab_irl ab_irl is offline
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Biker.ie Member No. 3376 from Wexford
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Motorbike: R6 and a load of Cub 90's
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Smile Adventures of a TT Racer

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Hi all,

Firstly just to explain why I'm writing all this down, I need to thank a load of people most of all my wife as it will become apparent below and also because at least when it's put on the internet they say you can never take it down and there is a record forever(unless the administrator gets hold of it), and the last 10 days I've had I'd like to able to look back in years to come.

Now I'm no writer and I will just tell the story as it happened, feel free to read as much as you want before you get bored or look at the pictures.

Well to start, last year I went to the TT with Patrick Giltenane from now on Pa Gill or Pa. It was his first year and my 2nd having previously done it with Mick Donovan back in 2009. Things didn't work out so well then blowing 2 motors but we scrapped home a finish in the 1st race.

Pa asked me again would I go and passenger for him and I thought long and hard it's a bit like Heroin when it gets into your system but my Wife Aedín was pregnant with our 3rd child and due in January the other 2 were only 3 & 5. We talked about it and she said I could go but as tempting as it was I couldn't leave her with 3 children under 6 for just over 2 weeks.

Anyway Pa got a replacement passenger from the Isle of Man, Marc Maier and Marc had never done the TT but was a Sidecar F2 champion in england in his own right.

Roll on Wednesday 28th May 2014 9am
I get a phone call from Pa saying he's in trouble, Marc is unable to passenger. It's a hard thing to do, for a novice to get on the back of a rider that has previous practice around the Island. I was lucky when Mick and me did it, we started off with a 94 mph average and worked up. Pa's first lap with Marc was 101 mph. Now to put that in perspective it's 11 seconds off your time for every 1 mph increase so that was taking nearly a minute and a half off your 20 minute lap time. Also as a newcomer you tend to work more corners than are necessary thinking that you are on a short circuit course.

Well Pa said he was stuck and could I come over. I don't want to step on anyones toes as Marc had obviously put work into this but no he had definitely pulled out. So I thought for about 10 seconds and said you check with the ACU (the governing body of the TT), and I'll check with the MCU (Motorcylcing Union), and see if it's possible this end. I rang Jim Cray who is the MCU secretary. I must say that Jim has been first class in the past for helping us out. I told Jim the story and he said he would email me the forms straight away asking had I done a medical this year. "Of course I said I do a medical every year".
Right that's the Start Permission, the FIM International Licence, & the insurance sorted. Next problem, 6 starts, 4 last year and 2 this year. 4 last year not a problem between TT and short circuit 2 this year shit I'm in trouble.
I did Bishopscourt at Easter weekend but no other circuits except the Nifty Fifty Race back in February which was an official race. Worth a try I thought so I rang the couple of numbers for Ed the organizer on the phone no luck. So where else to go but Well all came good and within an hour of my post Ed was on the phone and a letter sent confirming I was part of team Scruffynecks who came in 12th.

Now Pa came back on, the ACU have said that if practice was cancelled tonight I could start but if it went ahead there was no chance. Now there was 1 flight from Dublin with seats available but we wouldn't know until practice at 8pm.
A furious day at work trying to reschedule jobs if I had to go. It would be from Thurday to the following Thurdsay a week as the 2nd race was on Wednesday. Now the big part the thing could be done now to tell Aedín. I got home at 6.30pm and told her the story the team are there, lot's of money spent, all relying on me, only a week, you said I could go anyway, I have the work covered, I'll get someone to help with the kids, will make it up to you. "Go" she says The woman is a legend, a 6 year old, a 4 year old and a 4 month old. I know there are people that are thinking fecking selfish twat, and they're right we had this discussion over at the TT and we came to the conclusion all racers are selfish twats. But without really good people behind them none of the racing would be possible. Now back to the Isle of Man, I've never know any racer to pray for rain in the IOM but Pa was. The first practice session was red flagged and then rain came no practice. On to the internet for the flight --- gone
What about a Belfast flight. Flight at 10:10am booked for me with 1 bag.
Check email from Jim at 11:20pm, you did a self assement this year not a full medical and I'm afraid I can't grant the international licence. Panic rang the care doc said I don't want to take up anyones time, but if a doctor was free for 10 minutes could he do it. Snotty nurse rang back and said it was very sinister that I did not go to my own doctor but she would ask the doctor to ring me. He did and in fairness to him he explained that he would have no access to my previous medical history or a stamp for the forms. OK I said. Email to Jim flights booked I'm off. I'll get ACU medic to check me in the morning.
Spent the night doing dockets for work, grabbed the gear and to bed at 1:20am

Thursday 29th May
Couldn't sleep up at 4am into the Micra of Justice and head for Belfast. The radio doesn't turn on, great start. 4 hours of singing Guns and Roses, 2 pit stops and lots of coffee arrive at Belfast City airport. Parked up and checked in. Had the helmet in a bag, leathers and boots in a big bag and a few socks and jocks in the hand luggage. All went perfect even got into the Business Lounge as the only tickets left were business class. Met a guy who does Scaffolding netting from the Falls Road who was working over in the IOM. Plane landed and loaded his van with netting in a nearby commercial unit and he left me to the paddock.

Found the big orange truck with posh new awning

Click the image to open in full size.

Anyway all the crew were there and after a quick cup of coffee up to race control. Met with Michelle the race secretary who is an amazing woman. Within 15 minutes I had met with the ACU medic another lovely woman who's name I didn't catch and had my medical, got my mountain licence, approved my Niffy Fifty Start(You too could be here next year) and Jim had sent all the necessary paperwork through. Met the clerk of the course the busiest man on the Island Gary Thompson who gave me a one on one riders briefing and his own armband to get around, knocked on the scrutineers door next door and a lovely man who'd being scrutineering for 40 something odd years did all my racing gear. As they said in the office we're here to get everyone racing but safely. It was all done back to the truck and fell down in a chair exhausted, I was in the Isle of Man, I had the all clear to race and it was actually happening.

To be Continued...................................

Last edited by Admin; 10th February 2015 at 07:07 AM. Reason: Updated
  #2  
Old 9th June 2014, 11:26 PM
dynamo dynamo is offline
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Default Re: Adventures of a TT Racer

Class stuff!
  #3  
Old 9th June 2014, 11:34 PM
rarebacon rarebacon is offline
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Default Re: Adventures of a TT Racer

Originally Posted by dynamo
Class stuff!
+1
  #4  
Old 9th June 2014, 11:44 PM
skinny skinny is offline
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Default Re: Adventures of a TT Racer

Good man Aido, looking forward to hearing it from the horses mouth as it were, was getting regular updates from terry as the whole thing was playing out ( Hope you enjoyed your strawberrys and caviar ) lol.

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  #5  
Old 9th June 2014, 11:50 PM
skinny skinny is offline
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Default Re: Adventures of a TT Racer

I think this vid of lee cain gives a little glimpse into whats it like, 3 laps of the TT course takes about an hour !


Last edited by skinny; 9th June 2014 at 11:52 PM.
  #6  
Old 10th June 2014, 12:04 AM
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keep 'er lit keep 'er lit is offline
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Default Re: Adventures of a TT Racer

savage write up and congrats, look forward to your follow up
  #7  
Old 10th June 2014, 01:13 AM
PureRoadRacing PureRoadRacing is offline
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Default Re: Adventures of a TT Racer

Great stuff, can't wait to hear more!
  #8  
Old 10th June 2014, 08:15 AM
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Smiler Smiler is offline
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Default Re: Adventures of a TT Racer

Thanks for sharing your experience.
  #9  
Old 10th June 2014, 09:40 AM
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PJ PJ is offline
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Default Re: Adventures of a TT Racer

Cant wait for the next update. Your a legend Aidan, we gotta have pints soon.

Gav
  #10  
Old 10th June 2014, 09:42 AM
big boots big boots is offline
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Smile Re: Adventures of a TT Racer

great read...good man.
  #11  
Old 10th June 2014, 10:01 AM
Seanie Philip Hugo Baron van Zuylen van Nijevelt's Avatar
Seanie Philip Hugo Baron van Zuylen van Nijevelt Seanie Philip Hugo Baron van Zuylen van Nijevelt is offline
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Default Re: Adventures of a TT Racer

Good man Aiden well done looking forward to the next installment
  #12  
Old 10th June 2014, 10:20 AM
nailer nailer is offline
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Default Re: Adventures of a TT Racer

This is just one of many reasons i love the TT it takes all sorts from all walks of life to share just one thing "to see or better to race" over this unique tarmac. Long live the TT and all it's HEROS.
  #13  
Old 10th June 2014, 11:04 AM
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bow leg bow leg is offline
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Default Re: Adventures of a TT Racer

Credit to Marc for having the bottle to do it firstly, and having the balls to pull the plug when he did. It was not easy for a young lad like that to step away after raising money twoards the effort like he did. It was a mans decision from a young lad. People like me watching from the sidelines have no idea how much of a physical effort it is to work the chair. Just to hang on is an achievement. One of the passengers didn't and got hit by two following outfits. It was a close run thing as to wheather that pratice was going to be canceled or not. There were some anxious moments and lots of "I'll go to mass every Sunday for a week" until it was declared. Aido showed up next morning like mana from heaven, and first thing out of his mouth was "Never mind telling me I'm a hero for turning up, phone my wife and tell her she is the hero for letting me do this" Savage effort all round.

Last edited by bow leg; 10th June 2014 at 04:55 PM.
  #14  
Old 10th June 2014, 01:01 PM
sean o connor sean o connor is offline
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Default Re: Adventures of a TT Racer

Hi, goodman you are and a good old write up, I like d way you say you thought about it for 10 seconds that's d job , ah tis great to see Eimear o farell's name on sidecar nd that french fellow Philippe, perhaps they might throw an old (sidekart ) together thereselves, with Eimear driving of course hahaha, I'd say to stay in the chair for 3 laps a person would want to be taped on to d grab bars and a bag of rocks on their back..... Well done to ye both
  #15  
Old 10th June 2014, 01:07 PM
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bow leg bow leg is offline
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Default Re: Adventures of a TT Racer

Originally Posted by sean o connor
Hi, goodman you are and a good old write up, I like d way you say you thought about it for 10 seconds that's d job , ah tis great to see Eimear o farell's name on sidecar nd that french fellow Philippe, perhaps they might throw an old (sidekart ) together thereselves, with Eimear driving of course hahaha, I'd say to stay in the chair for 3 laps a person would want to be taped on to d grab bars and a bag of rocks on their back..... Well done to ye both
Not a fookin hope Sean, You can do passenger for her.
  #16  
Old 10th June 2014, 01:12 PM
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1stuey1 1stuey1 is offline
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Default Re: Adventures of a TT Racer

deadly!
  #17  
Old 10th June 2014, 04:32 PM
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Chuck Noris Chuck Noris is offline
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Default Re: Adventures of a TT Racer

class
  #18  
Old 10th June 2014, 11:52 PM
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ab_irl ab_irl is offline
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Biker.ie Member No. 3376 from Wexford
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Motorbike: R6 and a load of Cub 90's
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Default Re: Adventures of a TT Racer

Well lads thanks for all the kind words didn't really know what to expect.

I'll get on with it so.

Thursday 29th May Cont.

Before I go any further there are a few people that don't get any credit and I'd like to mention them here now. When I arrived over there was Pa obviously, Ailse his long suffering wife, Terry "The Hair" O'Reilly and Denise, along with Bow Leg AKA Phil, Eimear and Nicole. Never in the length have I been anywhere that I've been looked after so well, there was a burko boiler in the truck and the amount of cups of tea and coffee that thing produced was amazing. Along with BBQ's, sandwiches and assorted snacks it's a wonder I haven't put on weight. The ladies shopped, cooked, cleaned, made power drinks, put up awnings, used their smaller hands to connect up battery chargers and looked after us without the slightest grumble.

Phil and Terry were on hand with all the above things and working on the bike and any jobs that needed to be done.

I can't imagine everything going so well without the team behind us.

Phil had brought over a fireblade in the back of the truck and gave me the keys to do a lap to get familiar again with the circuit. You have to remember that in previous years we were over in February hiring out some poor little fiesta and throttling it around the course lap after lap for 2 days. I was getting a lap on a big bike for the first time as every other year I brought my trusty Cub 90 as a run around and to do laps.

Traffic was mental with lads overtaking everywhere. I took my time and let them all by, waiting for the mountain section and luckily most of the course came back to me. For those of you that have never been there the mountain section from Ramsey to Creg na Baa is one way for the duration of practice week and there is no speed limit, yep that's right no speed limit. The cops are stationed at the start and through out the section to look for idiots but it's the only place I know where you can go by a cop car at over 140mph and he doesn't even blink.

Here's just a few numbers about the course:

It's 37.75 miles long and has over 200 corners, top speed on a sidecar was Nick Crowe and Daniel Sayle on an LCR Honda 600 Sidecar in 2007 and they completed 1 lap in 19:24.24 at an average of 116.667 miles per hour, not bad for one little 600 pulling too lads and the bike too around the place.

Click the image to open in full size.

The next thing I must do is explain a little about sidecars. Nobody really knows anything about sidecar racing where I'm from in Wexford and I bet that goes for most people around the country. It's funny if you mention anything about sidecars or sidecar racing most folk they think of

Click the image to open in full size.

To be honest I don't blame them, it was a drunken conversation with John F at the Falcons Rally back in 2002 that got me involved before that I hadn't a clue. "If your every stuck give me a call", 2 weeks later I'm on the back of an F1 outfit with Mick Donovan in Mondello.

Anyway there are 2 different outfits F1 & F2. The F1 bikes are 1000cc engines with the engine behind the rider, they are a lot more powerful but also more unstable and are banned on the road.

Click the image to open in full size.

The smaller lighter F2 has a maximum 600cc engine that is under the belly of the rider. The rider actual kneels over the engine with his legs behind him. Left leg does all the braking on the 3 wheels and you can set the bias up to brake in what ever order you want. The right leg is the gear change. You need good child bearing hips for this job as it's a fair spread to get over this and in the TT Pa is in this position for over an hour in crazy bumps I wouldn't last 10 minutes.

Click the image to open in full size.

The passenger / Monkey has to balance the bike by lying over the back of the bike on the right handers and ass out to the left on the left handers, simple. The left handers are vital as if your not in the right position the bike will flip over. If your not out for the right the back can break away on the right handers. You have a couple of handles to suit your preferences and that's about it.


Before I go any further we have a good little scene here in Ireland but it would be great to have a bigger field we race F1's against F2's and the battling is great so if anyone's interested I'm sure we can arrange something where people can go and have a ride or passenger and see what they like. There are lots of outfits in garages around the county to suit everybodies budget and everyone on the scene would be more than happy to help newcomers. Now that's my PR bit done back to the story.

Meanwhile back at the ranch the inevitable awkward bit had to come. Marc and his girlfriend dropped down to the truck. I really wasn't looking forward to this as there are months of build up to the TT, people don't realise the preperation that goes in to getting a bike ready the fund raising, etc. Marc had done a lot of fund raising and got Bushys Ale a good sponsor on board. I said hello not expecting what the reaction would be but full respect to him he said straight away I'm so glad you could come over. We had a really good talk and he knew he had made the right decision as he was really struggling after 1 lap let alone 3 and I've no doubt that if he could get a newcomer the same as himself there would have been no problem. As Phil said earlier in his comments it takes a lot of balls to say this is not for me this time with all the pressure on him to just stay with it. I have a lot of Respect for Marc for doing that.

It was Thursday and the sidecars get preference. All week up to that you have to practice at the last session 8pm to 8:40pm but this is the very time when the sun is going down and you are driving blind for certain corners on the course. I have to give the utmost respect to the riders especially Pa and Mick from experience.
I remember evening practice going through the left hander over Greeba bridge with the marshals holding out the sun flags not being able to see my hand in front of my face with a dark visor and the boys keeping it absolutely pinned while all I have to do is stick my ass out and keep down out of the wind.

Well as we were out for the first practice session I was getting nervous, last year I had done 3 months of gym work 4 days a week with weights, cardio and stretches. This year I'm straight from McDonalds. Also Pa had changed all my handles to suit Marc and to top it all off 3 weeks beforehand I'd almost completely cut the top off my left thumb and it was held together with steri-strips and I couldn't hit it off anything.

Bike went through scrutineering without a problem. It has to go through full scrutineering everytime before it goes onto the track. Put it together and taped it up in Parc Ferme. Then back to the Truck for a half hour.

Anyway geared up and told Pa, look give me until Greeba to get familiar with everything which is 5 miles in and a sensible amount of corners to get used to things. No problem he says I'll take it handy it's all about getting you right on the bike tonight.
Anyway standing in Parc Ferme the piss nerves set in, anyone that's done anything dangerous or stupid can relate to this I think, it's where you have to piss every 2 minutes. No time for that now onto the start straight, Terry, Phil, Ailse and the gang carrying all the tools just in case. There is a big crowd all lined up everywhere we have start number 42 and there are 10 seconds between starts it seems to take forever. Then finally 1 more in front of us, say good look to the lads and Pa reaches back and we shake hands, I put my visor down and lock it and lie across the back of the bike for maximum grip and to try and stop wheel spin. The starter has his hand on Pa's shoulder my heart is beating through my chest. The flag man drops the red flag and the starter lets go of Pa's shoulder, we're off like stink for Bray hill.


To be continued..................................
  #19  
Old 10th June 2014, 11:54 PM
2strokey 2strokey is offline
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Default Re: Adventures of a TT Racer

  #20  
Old 11th June 2014, 02:00 AM
BIvy BIvy is offline
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Default Re: Adventures of a TT Racer

This is class.............. excellent account , roll on the next installment
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