I hate to go all emo on you all, but I'm depressed. I was just about to write a quick post explaining that I won't be around for a couple of weeks as I'm making my semi-annual pilgrimage to the Isle of Man for the TT. For those of you who don't know for two weeks in May/June the Island becomes home to the most exciting road racing you'll ever see as well as a festival of every kind of motorbike racing you can think of.
As well as the most exciting, it's also the most dangerous. The last time I was there was in 2005 when I kept my eye on four riders in particular. A Japanese rider Jun Maeda - who improved in every race throughout race week and went on to finish sixth in the Seniors race - Gus Scott and Richard Britton, who both had pit stop problems in the Seniors. Gus' engineer had a problem when refuelling. Gus kept his cool and just sat up and patted his engineer on the back as he worked on it before finally set off again. Richard was well up on the leaderboard (I think he was 2nd) when he came into the pits for his first stop. Unfortunately as he left his chain came off. It took him a while to notice and even the PA announcer was shouting 'The Chain, Richard, the chain!' to let him know. The problem was fixed, but his chances of winning were gone. He still managed to work his way back up the leaderboard to finish 5th and he was also the fastest racer caught on the speedgun on the finishing straight at an amzing 172mph.
Gus Scott never made it back to the pits for his second stop. He was killed after a collision with a race marshal, who also died. Richard Britton died in September later that year at a road race in Northern Ireland when he was flipped over his handlebars after a brake problem. I was doing some TT browsing earlier to see what was happening and checking up on some riders when I found out that Jan Maeda died during practice week at last year's TT. I'm not sure what's the more depressing fact to me; the fact that he died or that I didn't find out for nearly a year because the death of another roadracer hardly makes a ripple on the newswire now.
The fourth rider I kept tabs on is the maddest Argentinean I've ever seen, David Paredes. In another pit stop mishap during the Senior's David's bike caught fire. At this point David was close to last place. This didn't stop him from jumping back on the bike and trying to continue. A fireman had to literally run down the pit lane and drag him off the bike. Happily he's still going strong. David probably epitomises what the TT is about. It's not really about winning and losing, it's about testing yourself to the limits. I'll be cheering for David in the races he's in and praying that he makes it through safely.
I hope I haven't dragged you all down. This isn't exactly what you visited the site for. Look, here's Lindsay's car post tree collision:
I'll be back posting proper stuff from the 19th June and no more rants about the Isle of Man death toll. If I'm not back by the 25th then it's probably because I took a Honda FireBlade up the 'rong 'un when I made the wrong turn out of the beer tent.
I've just been doing a little more TT browsage. The fortnight is split into two weeks. Practice week is going on right now, although the last two days have been affected by the weather. Then it's race week from this Monday which is when I'll be there (The two weeks are split by Mad Sunday, but that's a whole other story). I've just been checking the practice times and found out that David Paredes' race number for the superbike class is 69. That has to be a good omen, right?