........... Archives
1999
..... Isle of Man
..... Chronicles 1999
1998
..... Isle of Man
..... Chronicles 1998








Racing Overseas - 1998


Isle of Man 1998 • Racing Archive Chronicles 1998 •



3/2 3/19 3/26 3/30
5/1 5/3 5/4 5/5 5/7 5/10 5/11 5/12 5/13 5/15 5/16 5/17 5/18 5/19
5/24 5/25 5/26 5/27 5/28 5/29 5/30 5/31
6/1 6/2 6/3 6/4 6/5 6/6 6/7 6/8 6/9 6/10 6/11 6/12

WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?

The first question out of everyone's mouth is "Don't you know a number of people die each year at this event?" For most motorcyclists it's a variant, and my initial reply is, "Maybe for the same reason you are not. No one knows when it is their hour to die. If they did would they live their lives any differently?" Let me dispel any initial notions you may have about my being mentally challenged. I have always had an adventurous nature. My mother tells me that at the age of nine months, I was riding my older brother's Hobbyhorse. I was bouncing up and down on it like a bucking bronco. When I was young Evil Knievel was the most popular motorcycle stunt rider of that time, and the way I rode my bicycles, mini-bikes, and mopeds, my father nicknamed me 'Awful Knawful'. For the most part, my life has had the same tone every since. I have always wanted to live life to the fullest and experience all it has to offer. So far I've done just that!

The Circuit

The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (TT) is the world's most famous motorcycle event. It is raced over a 38-mile mountain circuit of ordinary roads and attracts competitors and fans from every corner of the globe. The race has been run every year since 1907 and only a handful of Americans participate in this event each year. It is arguably the most unique of all motorcycling experiences. I've had a real love of the TT for some time, so I purchased every VCR tape available on the race and read every book and article I could find. After reading a particular article in Roadracing World Magazine last October, I decided that 1998 was my year to compete in the race. I tried to get a number of other East Coast racers to share the experience, but it didn't work out for a variety of reasons. So I'm on my own.

First Steps

The first thing I did was contact Michael D. Green, Editor at Large for Roadracing World Magazine. It was his article on the TT that made me decide to enter the event. Michael in turn put me in touch with Craig McLean of Motorcycles Unlimited, a former participant of the TT from the US. Craig was very helpful and gave me enough background information and organizational contact information to get started.

Preparation

1) I contacted Rachael Doyle of the ACU (Auto-Cycle Union), the UK equivalent of the AMA (American Motorcycle Association), for race information packet, entry forms, and requirements. The whole process started in the beginning of January. I filled out the necessary forms and press kit and returned it to the ACU. The entry deadline is March 23. Cost: $80 Filing Fee.

2) I contacted Beth in the AMA Pro Racing department to obtain the applications and critical information for obtaining my domestic and international professional racing licenses. Only professional racers are allowed to compete in the Isle of Man TT. You must first be an expert Roadracer from an accredited US racing organization to obtain your Pro license. Once you are an approved Pro licensed rider, you can obtain your FIM international license. In order to compete overseas you must purchase insurance from the AMA for each event. Once it is obtained, you will be issued a release form giving you permission to enter the race. You still must be accepted and qualify for each race. You also need to purchase personal insurance for riding your motorcycle on the street. You will be allowed to ride your race bike on the street to and from practice. Cost: $40 License Fee, $10 FIM License Fee, $200 Extended Race Insurance, Total = $250.

3) I contacted the Isle of Man Board of Tourism for accommodations (a garage for my motorcycles is necessary). I was advised that most racers stay with families who have garages, unless you're being sponsored by a large organization. I was put in contact with Wendy Taylor, who was in charge of home stay. She sent me a listing of all the available home-stay residences to date. I was very fortunate in this area. The mother of someone I know (Gaynor) lives on the Isle of Man and was able to assist me in many areas. I discovered, being a first timer to the Isle of Man, that trying to select a home-stay residence is a crapshoot. This is also Honda's 50th running of the Isle of Man Race, consequently they purchased all available hotel space. They are sponsoring a large contingent of Honda racers this year and want to make a clean sweep of all race catergories. Thanks to Gaynor and her mother, Jen, I now have a excellent place to stay in Douglas, which is located right near the main grandstand / pit area.

The residence is:
"Thie Bane"
40 Ballanard Road
Douglas
Isle of Man, IM2 5HE


Cost: $25 night times 24 nights = $600. (This cost would be half the price, but I'm going over two weeks early to prepare and practice.)

4) I spoke with Mike Ball the director of financial affairs for foreign travelers. He advised me that the Department of Tourism gives financial aid to foreign travelers in the following manner:

A) $1120.00 for overseas competitors based outside Europe.
B) $560.00 for commencing practices.
C) $240.00 for each race started, except Formula One which $320.00.


That's $1800.00 for just entering one race, and $3375.00 if you do all six. You also receive $150.00 for each lap completed of the 6-lap race. This is excluding prize money, which happens to be quite generous. But you must meet the minimum qualifying time for the event; and from what I understand after speaking to past riders, it is not difficult. The ACU wants to make sure riders are at the event to race and not joy ride.

5) I contacted the worldwide shipper used by last years USA Tourist Trophy paticipants:

Tim O'Connell
Port Cargo Limited
809 Grandview Drive
South San Francisco, CA 94080
Tel: 650.875.4269 Fax: 650.875.4275
Home: 650.869.6697 Fax: 650.869.6698
Pager: 650.875.4269
Cost: $850 per crate times two equal $1700. I will put as much as I can into the crates. This prices includes customs, filing fees, and taxes.

6) I spoke with Race Director Jack Wood. Jack works out of his home and is a very pleasant and helpful gentleman. He advised me on what to expect and how to best prepare for the event. He also suggested that I contact three prior US participants: Todd Sokol, Wade Boyd, and Tom Montana. (He furnished me with the fax numbers of both Todd and Wade.) My thanks to Todd and Wade of "Subculture Racing" in the San Francisco area. Both were very helpful in supplying me with written material and advice on what to expect.

7) I purchased round trip airline to the tickets to the Isle. I'm using frequent flyer miles to upgrade to business/first class on Continental Airlines. Cost: $850 roundtrip

8) Jen, Gaynor's mother, made a reservation for a van rental in case of breakdown and/or crash recovery. This will also allow me to tour the Isle and get oriented. I don't think about crashing on the Isle of Man, kissing a wall on this circuit is lethal. Cost: $216 a week. I will have the van a week.

9)I obtained a brand new street-legal motorcycle to break in for one of the other race teams for the week prior to TT practice week. This means two weeks of practice instead of just one. This was an exceptional stroke of good luck as I will have extra time to become oriented with the 200 turns on the circuit. Cost: $0 just my time

10)I spoke with Monica of Island Photographic to arrange for photographs of me racing the event. Cost: This depends on how many photos I purchase.

11) I contacted Peter of Duke Video for film footage of me racing at the event. Cost: Unknown at this time.

12) I contacted all members of my sports riding club, REDUC, via mass e-mail to solicite advice from anyone with information on the TT. A number of fellow members were suportive and very helpful with advice and contacts. My special thanks to Walter B. and Ted J. Cost: $0

13) I contacted Bound Brook Cycle Center, my sponsor in Bound Brook, NJ, for crates to ship the motorcycles to Europe. I also contacted United Box company of Hillside, NJ, who will custom build shipping crates for anything.

TT Supporter Club Article

I was contacted by Geoff Thomas (Home Stay) in the beginning of March. It seems that the TT Supporters Club would be interested in doing an article on me for their magazine if I'm excepted into this years race. I told him that I have no objections and that he could pass on my information to the club.

back to top


April 2, 1998 Update

Hello there TT fans. It's been six weeks since my last update. The wait has been killing me! I haven't updated the webpage until now because I didn't know if my entry to this years TT would be accepted. That's right, you apply but it doesn't mean you'll be accepted. You have to present your qualifications and achievments to the TT review board. Very many entries are received each year and unfortunately it is not possible to except everyone. I was one of the fortunate ones. I received my acceptance letter today for the 600 Junior class race. Oh happy days! I feel sorry for the individuals who applied and were not accepted. I know I would have been crushed if my application was rejected.

A New Found Friend

A riding buddy Ted from my sport riding club "REDUC" put me in contact with a person on the Isle named Peter Devine. Peter use to race in the 80's and gave up a very good job in London to move to the Isle because of the TT races. He loves the Isle and is currently a freelance writer for a number of motorcycle publications and is an invarible cornucopia of TT knowledge. We have been e-mailing each other back and forth for months.

Peter and I will be riding the Isle course on street bikes for the week of May 25th while I try to memorize all the corners on the course. I had arranged to help John Shand Racing of Sweden break in 28 new Honda motorcycles. I put Peter in touch with John and he was able to arrange for a motorcycle also. Peter's birthday also happens to fall during the week of the TT festival so I suppose we'll be doing a little celebrating. Peter also has full footage video equipment and has offered to shoot some footage of me racing, and on the starting line. A few US TV stations have expressed interest in airing my TT exploites if I can obtain video footage. Peter advised me that Brian Nelson shoots photographs at the start/finish line.

Pit Crew

It seems I will have a pit crew after all. Two racing friends fron Connecticut Ted Markut and Russell Dean who also happen to be in the LRRS/CCS Northeast region will be joining me on the Isle and have volunteered to be my pit crew. Tire changes, gas, and tear offs for the visor will be well covered.

Keith Code California Superbike School and British Racers

My friend Steve Weiss arranged for a private week long Keith Code training school for 6 riders. Keith was also giving instruction to his UK staff on the art of motorcycle race training. Each day we were paired up with a different instructor. The British and American instructors were great. Enzo Diclemente of "D&R" in the UK offered to give Perrelli Tire a call for me and try to work out a tire deal for me on the Isle. He also advised me that the mechanic for his race team Thomas would be helping out Ian Duffus this year on the Isle and he would put me in contact with him. I've spoken to him twice since his return to the UK. Yet another stroke of good fortune.

back to top


April 19, 1998 Update

Loudon, New Hampshire
I went racing this weekend and blew up a new motor with two race weekends on it. This is one expense I didn't need a month before the TT. My second motorcycles was acting stupid. It started breaking up around 13 grand. I couldn't determine what was causing the problem between races. Needless to say I didn't have a great weekend. Still no word from Port Cargo on cost or motorcycle pick up dates.

back to top


April 26, 1998 Update

I spoke with Peter Devine today. He has been helping Honda set up the Head Quarters for the British and New Zealand team. A 1600 square foot building with everyone under one roof. There will be over 32 bikes under one roof and all the top riders from the TT. Perhaps I can get a few autographs. John Shand Racing the team I'm helping will be in the same building so I should get a chance to meet a few of the legends face to face. Perhaps I will even get a few pointers from the experts.

Three weeks to go and I haven't heard from the freight forwarder Port Cargo. I leave on May 20th and I have no dates for motorcycle pick up and delivery. I've called, faxed, and paged Tim O'Connell several times and have received no reply. I'm more than a little concerned and starting to get worried.

Signed onto the IOM TT website today and post a bulletin for addtional race track information. There is no such thing as to much knowledge or being over prepared. I also printed off Steve Hislops IOM TT Racers Guide.

back to top


April 30, 1998 Update

I received a few replies from my bulletin board posting. Steve John from Washington State participated in last year's TT in the Ultra Light class (125's). He'll be doing the same thing this year and offered to share pit crew services with me. He knows Barry Wood, a Manx Grand Prix racer for ten years. He advised me that Barry showed him a number of turn in points on the course that he had missed. He also offered to do some ride arounds with me and would call Barry for me also. Steve advised me that he would be arriving on the Isle on May 28th and that he would look me up.

back to top


May 1, 1998 Update

Time to start scrambling for parachutes. Still no word from Tim O'Connell and Port Cargo. I called Craig McLean in San Francisco the person who recommended Port Cargo. Craig advised me that he and other racers in the past have used Tim to go to the Isle and have had no problems. He said Tim is the best person that he has ever used. Criag advised me that he hasn't spoken to Tim at all this year, but Tim knows he is going. Craig isn't planning on arriving to the Isle until May 30th. He suggested that perhaps I should look for freight forwarders on the east coast. I decieded to take his advise.

I called 5 shipping companies today. It seems the original price of $850.00 Tim gave me was the one way frieght charge only. There are documentation, pick-up, terminal transfer, custom, duty, import tax, and agent fees. The agent fee alone for one company was $500.00. They were talking close to $3000.00 round trip for one motorcycle and I was planning on bringing two. That's $6000.00 dollars. Time to re-think this endeavor and make a few more phone calls.

back to top


May 3, 1998 Update

Well plans have changed. I will only be bringing one motorcycle. No backup bike. I hope nothing fails on me. I'll just have to take it easy on the bike until the race, then whip it like a mule.

New Freight Forwarder -
Encore Forwarding Incorporated
1001 Durham Ave - Third Floor
South Plainfield, NJ 07080
908.756.8778

New Prices - Shipment Piscatway, NJ to Douglas, The Isle of Man:
Airfreight - $534.30
Documentation - $25.00
Pick-up - $60.00
Terminal Transfer - $40.00
Customs Fee - $60.00
Agent Fee UK Transfer IOM - $375.00


Total round trip charge $2188.60 per bike crated. I could save myself $750.00 if I had help in Manchester. I could load up the motorcycle in a van and ferry it across the channel myself. I'm going to look into doing this for next year. Right now it's too close to the wire to be playing the pick up the bike at the airport game. Besides I probably wouldn't be able to get a ferry ticket at this late date. My first bit of bad luck. Well I suppose something had to go wrong sooner or later.

back to top


May 4, 1998 Update

Sixteen days left before I leave for the Isle. I must say the juices are really flowing now. Just thinking about racing the Isle is giving me quite an adrenaline rush. Today I received my race number. All numbers are allocated, based upon previous years lap times. Since this is my first year competing I am number 51. I also received the final instructions for the TT. Practice times, road closings, pit passes, trophy presentations, etc.. I spent the weekend preparing the crate and motorcycle for shipping. So many rules, so little time.

back to top


May 5th

I received an e-mail today from Steve John. It appears that Barry Wood a ten year Manx Grand Prix veteran will be available the week of the 25th to show me around the course. Barry finished in 2nd place in 1996. Steve gave me his address and phone number on the isle. He also gave me the home and e-mail address of a sector Marshall named David Clarke. He advised me that they are very good friends. If I have trouble reaching Barry call David. Dave runs a website on the isle. Dave told Steve that Joey Dunlop and Phillip McCallen both crashed last weekend. (They are prior TT winners.) Joey broke his collar bone and right hand. Phillip injured his back. It appears they will both be out of this years TT.

back to top


May 7th

Peter Devine called today and offered to collect me from the airport. This is very nice of him. I told him I would let him know. He advised me that the motorcycles from John Shand Racing had arrived and that people were already breaking them in. He said that he was going to go down in the morning and pick up a bike. Peter informed me that there are a number of road crews out replacing Tarmac and smoothing out roads. This should be great for use racers.

 

back to top


May 10th

Today has not been a good day! My 2nd shipper called and backed out of the deal. Sighting cost over runs on his end and not wanting to pass them on to me. His agent/broker in the UK decided he did not want to take on the assignment, and his other agent wanted $750.00 one way.

 

back to top


May 11th

I spoke with Tim O'Connell from Port Cargo and he advised me that he was still planning on shipping the motorcycles. He said that he does this all the time and that I shouldn't worry. He said he hasn't called because there was no reason to call. Nothing needs to be done until a week before the shipment leaves. He advised me to send him a "PRO-FORMA" invoice stating that I was shipping the motorcycles from myself at my home address to myself at my IOM address. At the bottom of the invoice I must declare that the motorcycle was purchased in the US, the motor is brand new and has never been ridden, and that there is no gas, oil or water in the vehicle. The price has also gone up from $850.00 to $1000.00. So that's $2000.00 round trip per bike. He has spoken with his trucking company in New York and has arranged for a truck with a lift-gate and hand operated forklift to pick up the crates. He would call on Thursday to tell me the name of the trucking company and what time the pickup would be. He would also send me an invoice for the shipping and I could over-night a check to him.

back to top


May 12th

New leathers arrive from Vanson, new helmet and gloves from AGV, and new boots from Lockhart Phillips. I went to Home Depot to have the plywood sides cut for the crate. Even though I got a metal framed crate from Boundbrook Cycles, the dealer that sponsors me from Boundbrook N.J. the sides are cardboard. I wanted more security for my motorcycle. I spent the evening drilling and fitting the wood panels.

I received and e-mail from Steve John with his notes from last year's races. This should come in very handy if the reference points are still on the course. Steve is leasing a bike from Padgett Motorcycles of the UK. Last year he brought his own over. He thinks this method will be much easier. I look into the leasing side of this when I get to the IOM. The Internet is wonderful. I have met so many new friends via e-mail and the net who are going to the TT from the US. We are all exchanging addresses and phone numbers for the isle. It's going to be one big party.

back to top


May 13th

I picked up my new sponsorship banner from the sign shop. I also had a little 4 foot sign that says "1998 Isle of Man TT Race" made also. I going to put the banner up on my "E-Z" Canopy at the races. I must show my sponsors that I'm keeping my part of our agreement. Spent the evening sorting out what I was going to bring with me, and what I was going to ship over in the crates. I found out from a friend on the IOM that there is a Cyber-Café. I contacted the place and found out that I have a place to connect to the Internet. They also scan pictures. So I'll bring my laptop and update my TT chronicles on my website daily. I'll also take pictures and scan them in for anyone who's interested. I sent an e-mail to David Clarke today introducing myself.

back to top


May 15th

Friday, two days left before the crates are to be picked up, and still no word from Port Cargo. I very concerned now. If the man has not kept his word on calling me and invoicing, why should I believe that he would arrive Monday to pick up the motorcycle? Doesn't he know that I have never used him before and I have nothing to judge his abilities by? David Clarke wrote me back today and gave me some back round information on himself. He advised me to contact him also upon my arrival.

I called the heavy freight shipping division of "FED-EX" today to receive an estimate. I was informed that the total cost, including pick-up to ship the motorcycles to Manchester was $628.00 but I would have to get my own agent to clear the bike through customs and ship it the rest of the way. "FED-EX" doesn't go to the IOM.

I called "DHL" Worldwide Express to receive an estimate. I was informed that they do delivery to the IOM. They would pick up the motorcycle from my address and delivery it to my IOM address in two days for $1028.00. The additional crate with tools, protective gear, and stands would cost an additional $700.00. When I was ready to return all I would have to do was call them and they would pick it up and ship it back to my home address for they same fee. I told the agent that this fee was a little high, and asked if the had a cargo division. I informed her that I don't need an expressed shipment, you have a week to get the motorcycle there. She advised me that she would contact the cargo division for a price quote. They were closed now, but she would call back first thing Monday morning.

I called all my UK contacts (Jack Wood, Peter Devine, and David Clarke) in search of a shipping agent in case I use "FED-EX". They all said they would look into it.

David e-mailed me and told me that the company he works for does shipping. If they couldn't do it at a reasonable price he would give me the names of someone who could.

Peter called and advised me that people he was able to contact were very expensive, $750.00 one way. He knows it's because of the "TT" races. He advised me to call the Emoundson Ron Agency on Monday morning to see if they were any cheaper. They are the largest outfit on the isle.

Jack Wood gave me the names of three freight forwarders out the phone book. He suggested that I call them Monday morning because they were not open on the weekend. He wished me lucked in finding freight forwarder this late in the game.

back to top


May 16th

Got up early this morning to crate up the bike for shipment. I have decided no matter what the cost I am going to get to that race. I'll cry about the cost later. My friends Steve Carrano, David White, and Troy McMillian came over about 10:00am to help. I must say that even with the help it took all day. I had pre drill the holes in the plywood, but of course when I went to install the panels the holes did not line up. Then things we thought would fit it the crate along with the motorcycle wouldn't, or fit too close. Then I had to go to the store to get bubble wrap, styro-foam, and longer screws. The plywood warped, it wasn't warped when I purchased it, so I had to purchase self-tapping screws to keep the wood flat against the frame. All in all it was a long day considering I had to get my second bike ready for track practice the next day, Sunday at Pocono International Raceway. My sport-riding club "REDUC" rents out the track once a month for practice.

back to top


May 17th

Sunday morning I grab all my new gear, and go to practice. It's about 80 degrees, and I feel it's a good day to break in the new protective equipment. You have to get hot and sweaty to break in new leather. I didn't want to do it on the Isle in case the new equipment was uncomfortable. I need to be comfortable in order to race well.

Sunday practice was great! We had about 75 riders in attendance. They club chairman Bob Bauchbam made an announcement at the riders meeting about me leaving to race the Isle of Man TT. Everyone clapped for me and wished me luck. After the riders meeting a number of people came over to speak with me and personally wish me luck. Everyone said they would be checking the website daily to see what was going on. Bob gave me the number of another TT entrant named Peter Small a few weeks back. We spoke a few times on the phone and we're going to meet when we get to the isle.

I almost wrecked big time today. I saved a high side in turn one when I was dicing it up with a few of the other racers. The bike got side ways, but believe it or not it didn't spit me off. I suppose it was because I was neutral on the throttle. I chilled out after that. After all it's only practice. I wouldn't want to wretch my new gear or me before I get to the IOM.

After I returned from practice I packed the rest of my equipment and signon to update my website. Tomorrow at the crack of dawn I start calling freight forwarders.

back to top


May 18th

I spoke a number of freight forwarders in the UK today. All their rates are between $300.00 and $500.00 dollars one way. I suppose it's because they know everyone is attempting to get to the Isle of Man for the races.

As I suspected no one from Port Cargo shows up in the morning. Around 11:00am I receive a phone call from a gentleman named Sean of Quantum International. He advises me that he is a representative of Port Cargo and he's scheduled to pick up the motorcycle today. I tell him that the crates are ready. Sean then proceeds to ask me a series of questions that I can not answer. Do I have three notarized copies of the title? Do I have a hazardous free certification for the vehicle? What are the actual dimensions of the crates? What are the actual weights of the crates? Do I have a Pro-Forma invoice? I advised him that I didn't any of the information he requested. I prepared and crated the motorcycle as Tim O'Connell requested. Sean faxed me the US customs regulation on the exportation of motorized vehicles. I was advised a person could only export a vehicle they own. All liens must be satisfied. People have been know to take motorcycles to Europe, sell them, and report them stolen. Sean said he would have Tim call me. I leave work, rush home to find the title, and go to the bank to make three notarized copies of the title.

DHL calls back with a rate quote. It will cost me $911.00 door to door to get the motorcycle to the Isle of Man. They have their own people to handle importation and customs. I was advised they were unable to schedule a pick up. The dispatcher was out and wouldn't return until later. I was advised to call back later.

Sean calls back and advises me that he must do some additional research with customs and that they would not be out to pick up the crates today. They would come tomorrow. At this point I'm very upset with the turn of events. Tim calls back and attempts to calm me down. I request a written invoice for his services. Now the price has gone up once again from $1,000 to$1,600. I was informed that this is because of the actual size of the crates and not the weight. Well now I blow my stack! This is not the way to do business. I finally tell Port Cargo to forget about the shipment. He's had 3 months to prepare for this day and the shipment.

I call DHL back and schedule a pickup for tomorrow. I was advised that I would have to call the UK for a return price quote. All countries have separate rate sheets. Some are higher than the US and some are lower. Each country has different rules and regulations for exportation.

back to top


May 19th

I spoke with Mike of DHL in the UK. The price to ship the crates back to the US is 900 pounds sterling. This equals $1,400.00 US. I advised him that I was only paying $900 to get the bike there, why was there such a large difference? He advised me that everything was more expensive in the UK. Fuel, ferries, and personal. He said he would look for a cheaper carrier to see if he could lower the return fee. I will look into other freight forwarders while on the isle.

DHL called today to advise me that the pick up would not be until 5:00pm. They didn't have a truck with a lift gate so they had to rent one. They won't be able to inspect the crate until tomorrow morning. This means the crates will not arrive next Monday as planned. I had to unpack my riding jacket, one helmet, gloves, and one pair of boots. I'm suppose to help John Shand Racing break in motorcycles starting Monday the 25th.

I arrive home from a client visit at 6:15pm to find the DHL truck in my driveway with the lift gate on the ground. The driver is sitting in the truck with the door open his dog next to him. He asks if I'm the person sent to help him with the load. I advise him that I'm the owner of the house. He explains to me that the company sent him out on the pick up by himself and that the load is too large for him to move by himself. He also tells me that the lift gate has stopped working in the down position and that a mechanic is one the way to fix it. I just laugh and say it figures. The way things have been going this week nothing surprises me. Well the mechanic comes 2 hours later and advises us he can't fix the lift gate because the hydraulic cylinder is shot. They call the company dispatcher at 9:00pm and advise him of the situation. He wants to send out a new truck in the morning. I advise him the load must be at the DHL headquarters before midnight. It has to leave the country tomorrow. He dispatches another truck. This truck arrives at 11:30pm. I help the men load the truck and off the crates go. My original plans for the evening had been to come home from work, wash clothes, and pack. With all the delays I didn't get the job completed. I'll have to try and complete everything tomorrow after work.

back to top


May 20th

This day starts out great, but it's short lived. I'm in the process of implementing a new computer system for Parfums Givenchy. I arrive at the client site at 8:30am. At 9:30am I receive a page from DHL. One of the crates has locks. They need the keys for the locks in order to ship the crates. Customs must be able to inspect the crates if necessary. I explain the situation to my client and head for home to retrieve the keys. I'm fortunate in one respect, there is a DHL station 5 minutes from my house. I take the keys to them and have them deliver the keys to the world freight division at the airport. I then return back to work.

Here I sit at the airport waiting for my flight to go. I arrived to the airport early, check in, wait for the airplane to leave. Five minutes before boarding is due to commence we are advised that there will be a 30-minute delay. So I decided to pull out the laptop and update the website.

If I were a superstitious individual I would stay home at this point. But I'm not so...I'M OUT OF HERE!

back to top


May 24th

Well, I arrived to the Isle of Man safely. The flight was steadying, calm, and uneventful. Just the way I like them. Len and Jen picked me up from the airport and took me to where I was staying.

Geoff and Julie have a very nice home with two very playful dogs. They are a young and friendly couple, and Geoff has volunteered to assist me in the pits along with Ted and Russell. I have a very clean room on the second floor over-looking the street. We all went to dinner and got aquatinted.

I'm reviewing the written information regarding the course and making notes of reference points to look for when I'm on the course. There is quite a bit of information to digest for 37.7 miles. One thing I know for sure, I'm going to be very tired after a 4-lap race.

Tomorrow morning I will go to the Honda Headquarters and meet with John Shand to receive a practice motorcycle for the week. I going to live, eat, and breathe this circuit for the next two weeks. I'm going keep doing laps until I can do the track backward from memory.

This is what my schedule looks like for the next two weeks:

Monday May 25th - 29th - Practice, sort out the bike, and meeting new people. I will meet with Peter Devine tomorrow, and do a ride around of the course. I will meet with Barry Wood Tuesday or Wednesday and do a ride around of the course with him also. I will also look to obtain advises from anyone who has ridden the course in the past. It's Peter's birthday this week so I suppose we'll go out to celebrate and have a few drinks.

Saturday May 30 - All competitors must sign-on at the Race Office, TT Grandstand, between 1000 hrs - 1200 hrs and 1400 hrs - 1900 hrs. I must sign a declaration confirming that I have not sustained any injury or consulted with a doctor regarding any injury or illness since the issue of my 1998 International license. This declaration will also confirm that the competitor is fully acquainted with all regulations and instructions issued.

As a newcomer to the event I will be required to wear an orange jacket throughout practice. I must pick up the jacket when signing-on.

Sunday May 31 - All newcomers must attend a briefing at 1615hrs. This will be for newcomers only. Following this briefing a coach will leave the grandstand for a tour of the circuit with an experienced instructor.

I will be required to bring my helmets, leathers, boots, and gloves to the briefing for inspection / approval by the scrutineers.

Monday June 1 - Pre Practice Examination: 0415 hrs - 0655 hrs and 1615 hrs - 2050 hrs. All machines bearing the correct number plates must pass through the Scrutineering bay for inspection / approval prior to practice during the times listed.

Qualification time for 600cc or Junior riders is 37.7 miles in less than 22 minutes and 30 seconds, and must complete a total of at least 6 timed laps. Any competitor who does not obtain the required number of laps or qualification time may not be permitted into the race.

Newcomers will be granted 90 seconds extra over the stated qualification time provided that any newcomer using this extra 90 seconds to qualify will be required to wear their orange jacket throughout the race. This will not be applying to me!

Timed practice / qualifications for newcomers commence at 0515 hrs and end at 0600 hrs. My second newcomers practice session for the day is from 1815 hrs - 1905 hrs. My third practice session for the day is for Juniors, and is between 1910 - 2000 hrs.

All newcomers get extra practice to become oriented with the circuit. I get three sessions when ordinarily I would receive one.

Tuesday June 2 - Pre Practice Examination: 1615 hrs - 2050 hrs.

Timed practice / qualifications is from 1815 hrs - 1905 hrs. My second practice session for the day is 1910 hrs - 2000 hrs.

Wednesday June 3 - Timed practice / qualifications commence at 0515 hrs and end at 0600 hrs. My second practice session for the day is from 0605 hrs - 0655 hrs. My third practice session for the day is 1815 hrs - 1905 hrs. My fourth practice session for the day is 1910 hrs - 2000 hrs.

Thursday June 4 - Timed practice / qualifications commence at 1400 hrs and end at 1500 hrs.

Friday June 5 - Timed practice / qualifications commence at 1400 hrs and end at 1500 hrs.

Saturday June 6 - Racing starts for TT formula One. My race isn't until Wednesday June 10, so I have a few days of to prepare and practice on my own. More laps in the car or on the bike.

Sunday June 7 - The infamous Mad Sunday Festival begins. I'll see if it's really as out of control as people say.

Wednesday June 10 - Pre Race Examination: 1030 hrs - 1200 hrs and 1615 hrs - 2050 hrs. All machines bearing the correct number plates must pass through the Scrutineering bay for inspection / approval prior to race.

My race in the Junior class commences at 1315hrs.

1. Forty-five minutes before the start competitors take possession of machines in assembly area and may start engines for warm up period.
2. Thirty minutes before the start Fuel and oil tanks may be topped up and adjustments made. Engines to be stopped.
3. Fifteen minutes before the start engines may be re-started. Competitors are marshaled to starting grid and lined up in order.
4. Five minutes before the start engines are running, and the grid is cleared.
5. Each rider will be started singularly at 10-second intervals.


Pit Area

I am permitted up to two attendants and one timekeeper. Both may assist and carry out replacement repairs, only using the spares previously deposited in the pit. The time-keeper may assist by cleaning the windscreen and visor only. All competitors must stop at the entrance to the pit lane before proceeding to their pits, and must be placed a foot on the ground. If I fail to stop at the pit entrance before proceeding I will receive a penalty of a minimum of 10-second.


First prize is $10,560 dollars. The race pays back to twentieth position, which is $484 dollars. Also a number of awards are given out.

back to top


May 25th

I was up and out of the house at 9:00am. I went to meet John Shand, and everyone else from the Honda Racing Team. We were advised that there would be team meetings every morning at 9:30am. Everyone I met was very helpful and friendly. We had a new-riders meeting that lasted until 11:30am. After the meeting they loaded all of us up in two mini buses, and took us for a ride around the circuit. My first impression was one of awe. I literally said "Oh fuck, this course is totally insane. People really race this thing!" I was scared shit-less, and I have never been afraid before! We were told that as newcomers to the event we were not expected to win, we were expected to learn and not to crash. A newcomer crashed last year and was not invited back this year. It takes a minimum of three years to learn the course and be able to race it well. No one has done it in less time. We were advised that if we did as we were told there would be an all expense paid spot on the team for each of us next year. If not, we would be told good-bye.

John didn't have a bike for me today. Some of the bikes were delayed in transport he advised me that he would see what he could do tomorrow. After the meeting I went out to rent a car for a week. I needed to learn the course as best I could. I would do laps on the 37.7-mile course until I dropped. By the end of the day I had done 7 laps around the circuit. I felt more comfortable with each trip around the circuit.

Peter Devine and Geoff Thomas came with me on my first lap in the rental car to point things out. I scared the shit out of both of them. I haven't driven on the left had side of the road in years and I came close to hitting a number of objects on the left-hand side of the road. I didn't have the same since of feeling as I do driving on the right. They both promptly got out of the car after one lap. Peter was white as a ghost. All I could say was sorry guys, I'm a little out of practice. Besides we were talking, and they were pointing things out to me.

back to top


May 26th

DHL did not deliver my crates this morning as promised. When I called to inquire about my shipment I was advised that they were delayed in customs. Certain import paperwork was missing. Somehow customs had gotten the wrong information. They thought the motorcycle was being brought to the IOM for sale. I advised customs that the motorcycle was a temporary import. It is being raced at the IOM and it was returning to the US on June 12th. Customs called back in the afternoon to advise that the motorcycle had cleared.

Well I was at the riders meeting again this morning. We were given more advised regarding the circuit, and what was expected of us as riders for team Honda. I wasn't official on the team, so I felt a little like the red headed stepchild. After the meeting we went for another ride around the circuit in the mini-bus. There was still no bike available for me today so I did 7 more laps in the car. I found that the earlier I got up to practice the better it was. The roads were completely clear at 5:00am. They were also clearer between 6:30pm and 9:30pm. It doesn't get dark on the Isle until 10:00pm.

back to top


May 27th

DHL called this morning to advise me that the motorcycle would be hear tomorrow morning. It cleared customs late yeaterday afternoon, and they were not able to get it out. I explained to the person that I needed this bike ASAP to practice, qualify, and race. It is diassembled, and needs to be reassembled. I was told I would have the bike tomorrow morning.

I was finally given a bike today after the riders meeting. I was a Honda Storm V-Twin 1100. This was the first time I had every ridden a V-Twin, and I must say it was very strange. It took me two laps to get adjusted to the bike, and after two more laps I called it a day. I suppose the bike was all right, but I really never felt comfortable on the motorcycle. When I returned to the garage I met Jim Mooney. One of the favorites to win a number of TT classes. John said that I could keep the bike over night and use it the next day if I had a garage. I advised him I did, and off I went. Something to ride was better than nothing to ride. I stopped by Peter Devine house about 4:00pm. He, his wife Michele, and I went around the corner to get something to eat. He advised me that Kent Kuntisugu (Editor- Sport Rider Magazine) was flying in on Saturday, and that he was going to pick him up at the airport. Kent has entered the same race as I, and we will all be going out to dinner on Saturday.

back to top


May 28th

DHL called again this morning. There was some mix up and the motorcycle didn't make the ferry again. I lost my cool. I started yelling at this guy. I told them that qualifications start for me Monday morning at 5:00am. I have to put the bike together, sort everything out, and have all my riding gear inspected on Sunday afternoon. You were suppose to have everything here by Tuesday at the lastest I was told. I told the DHL representative that if that bike isn't here tomorrow I'm going to sue DHL for all my expenses, possible lost prise monies, and aggrevation. I was told that I would have the tomorrow morning with out fail.

After the meeting John Shand and Richard pulled me aside and advised me that I was official adopted on the team. Tonight we had to go to the Marshall swearing in ceremony. There are 1100 Marshall's working the TT race and the swearing ceremony is very important. I would also be accompanying the team to a Honda welcome celebration party. The team is comprised of members from various countries, New Zealand, Germany, England, Scotland, Sweden, Germany, Japan, and myself from the USA. Team apparel would be arriving tomorrow.

I was given a new Honda CBR-900RR to ride today. Boy is this a sweet machine. It was so light and nimble. It felt easier to ride than my 600. It was a nice sunny day, and I was in my glory all day. I did four more laps around the course with Geoff Thomas. Geoff has been showing me the course, and the racing line to take. We had loads of fun today. At first he was leaving me in the dust on his CBR-600. By the third lap I was ride on his tail, and I even passed him a few times. Each day my lap times improve. My fear and trepidation about the course recedes with each passing lap. I am glad I took the extra week of practice. I would advise anyone who plans on racing the TT to come over 2-3 weeks before the event starts to get as much practice as possible. There are over 200 corners on this course, most of them are blind and you need to know where to corner is going. A competitor must average over an 100 mph per lap to qualify. Next year I will come over 2 weeks early.

One of the guys from New Zealand advised me that there was an article about me in the TT Supporters magazine. He said it was a very nice article. I will try and find the magazine tomorrow. Pictures were also taken by the Peel Guardian Newspaper tonight at the Honda press conference. We were advised that they would be out in tomorrow evenings paper. I've been meeting alot of people who are glad there are more US riders coming to the event. Everyone has been giving me advise, and wishing me well. Everyone has told me that I will not win. My sole goal this year should be to learn the circuit.

back to top


May 29th

Another day passes and my motorcycle still doesn't arrive. DHL calls today, the crate was returned from the airport today because it was too large to fit on the aircraft they had scheduled it for. DHL will ferry the motorcycle across the Scottish Channel this evening and promised to deliver it in the morning.

I went to the team meeting in the morning, and spent the rest of the day doing laps and shopping.

back to top


May 30th

The motorcycle finally arrives this morning at about 10:30am. I am relieved to receive the motorcycle, but now I am at a severe disadvantage. I had allocated a week to assemble the motorcycle and dial it in to the track conditions before practice started. Now all I can do is assemble it and start practice. The surface conditions are nothing like a US circuit course and I have no one to help me. My friends don't arrive until next Tuesday.

At 11:00am I went to the Race Office to register. I saw Peter Devine with his wife Michele, and met Kent the editor from Sports Rider Magazine. I also went to the TT Supporters club to register and become a new member. All competitve members are given gifts each year. This year the gifts were a down vest to wear over your leathers for early morning practice, zip ties, duck tape, chain lube, brake cleaner, all purpose spray oil, and the club magazine. I spent the rest of the day assembling and safety wiring the motorcycle.

back to top


May 31th

At the team meeting this morning we were told that the following week would be crazy. We should get up by 3:30am to be first one line for technical inspection. Tech opens at 4:15am and practice starts at 5:15am sharp.

I attended the new comers meeting at 4:15pm. We were given all the rules and told what to aspect during the next two weeks. We were told that we are allowed to drive our race bikes on open roads during the day as long as we had international road insurance. The race numbers must covered. Helmet, leathers, gloves, and boots were also inspected. I was required to put the helmet on my head, and the fit was also inspected.

At 5:30pm we were taken on a trip around the circuit in a large bus. This is a mandatory requirement for all first time riders of the circuit. We are given a blue signature card, which must be signed by each technical inspector or race official.

I took the bike out for a trip around the circuit the suspension setup was entirely to hard for the course. I being was thrown all over the place whenever I tried to pick up the pace. I came home, softened up the suspension for the morning practice, and promptly went to bed.

back to top


June 1st

The alarm came too soon for practice. It seemed as if I had just went to sleep. It was a cold, wet, and rainy morning. I was wearing my new vest warmer. I was very thankful for that vest this morning.

Morning practice was the worst I had every experienced. Outside of the existing weather conditions, the entire mountain section of the course was covered in fog. For the experienced riders this was not a problem, but it was a disaster for the new riders. Four of the eight new riders for the Honda Team crashed and totaled their motorcycles. About 15 people in total crashed in the morning practice. Fortunately no one was seriously hurt, but they would not be competing in this years TT. I cruised around the course smoothly and didn't try to go fast. Riders were passing me in the fog like I was standing still. I couldn't understand how they were doing it since I couldn't see 50 feet in front of me. Later, I was told by the experienced riders to follow the white line in the fog. The lines get longer and closer together as you approach a corner. As long as you know which way the corner is turning you don't have a problem. Course memorization becomes very important in these conditions. The weather is like this all the time in this part of the world so it doesn't bother these riders. I have never raced my motorcycle in weather like today. It was not pleasant at all.

The afternoon practice was warm and sunny. It was my first time doing a practice on the closed circuit. I must say it was great. I was having too much fun. The crowds were out watching us fly through the streets at over 100 mph. The course felt completely alien now that I was using the racing line and my own bike. I have a steep learning curve to overcome if I am to qualify for this race.

The suspension was still wrong for the course. The bike was bouncing over the bumps instead of soaking them up. I could still not go as fast as I wanted because the bike was uncontrollable. I completed 3 laps of the circuit. The fastest lap time I posted was 25.01 with an average speed of 91 mph. I went to the Honda garage to try and get help on my suspension problem. I was told that I must soften up the rear suspension, and perhaps even put in a softer spring. I was told that most racers go down two kilograms in spring rate when they come to the TT. Allen "Granddad" Warner advised me that he went from a 13kg spring for circuit racing to an 11kg spring for the TT. He advised me that it make's a big difference. The motorcycle needs to be able to absorb the bumps quickly on the compression stroke, but return the bike in a controlled manner on the rebound stroke as quickly as possible.

Because I don't have another spring with me I will back off the spring pre-load tomorrow, lower the compression, and increase the rebound. Under normal circumstance I would make only one adjustment at a time, and do a couple of laps to see if there was an improvement. But the laps here are long and my time is short. I know I will be adjustment my suspension right up to race day.

back to top


June 2nd

No practice today, it was raining cat's and dogs. That's 8 practice laps I could have used.

back to top


June 3rd

I was up at 4:00am for the morning practice session. The practice was canceled this morning because it was still cold, foggy, and raining.

At 8:30am this morning I did a radio interview with Manx Radio TT. I was fun. They asked me questions regarding my racing career, racing in the USA, what I thought about the Isle of Man, why I came to race the TT, and the logicists of putting together this effort. The station would like for me to come back later in the week, and also next week for a follow up visit.

Well it finally stopped raining around 11:00am. The evening practice session at 6:15pm went of without a hitch. I was able to get in four laps. The bike is still not handleing right but I was able to get the lap time down to 24:00 minutes at 93 mph. This with the sun in my eyes, two accidents, and and oil on the track in three places. I will make more adjustments tomorrow. We have an afternoon practice session at 2:00pm. With each lap I go faster and faster. I need more time to come up to speed and I don't have it.

back to top


June 4th

Geoff and I went to Harry's Cafe for breakfast this morning. Harry also publishes a small TT news letter. He serves great inexpensive food, and everyone seems to go there. He took a photo of Geoff and I for his news letter. He also advised us of his website where he keeps up to date TT information. We agreed to exchange links on our website. HARRY'S CAFE

Practice today started early. Instead of 6:00pm it started at 2:00pm. The Sun was out, it was warm, their was no sun in your eyes, no fog, no rain, and I flew. I qualified today which was a great feeling. Even though my posted average speed was 98.09 mph I know I was going much faster. I had to stop for two major accidents. In both cases they were in fast sections of the course, and I had to come down to 1st gear from sixth. The second accident was severe. It involved 3 motorcycles and as I drove past none of the downed riders were moving. When you get into a rhythm on this course you can go quite fast, once you have it memorized you fly. It's hard to get back into the groove when you come to halt because of a major accident.

Later in the evening I discovered that one of the riders was Stu, a friend from the Honda team. He fractured his wrist and elbow. Stu was very lucky. The marshal who was working the corner said that the rider who caused the accident was going too fast to make the turn and crashed into Stu, and the other rider. Another rider named Allen crashed and died in todays practice. A number of riders have crashed since practice started. One more day of practice and racing begins.

The article about me visting and racing the TT was in todays newspaper. It was quite large and very well written. There were two pictures of me along with the article. One had me in action in a fast sweeping turn. I not sure who took the photo, but you could tell from the background in the photo that I was flying.

Well Ted Markut finally got to the Isle today and Russell was not with him. It seem he they had a few mishaps in route. Russell got to the airport and had forgotten his passport. Ted said he did not make it back in time to catch the plane. Ted also got lost once he picked up his rental motorcycle in London so he missed his ferry, and had to wait another day. I met another rider from my racing region in the USA named Sung Ho Kim. He has agreed to replace Russell as one of my pit crew. Sung, Ted, and I went to dinner at a little Italian resturant name the Spaghetti Factory. After dinner I went home to sleep. Tomorrow morning I have early practice at 4:15am.

back to top


June 5th

Another horrible morning practice. I was tired, it was cold, and foggy on the mountain once again. I did one lap and came in o pit. I learn nothing in the fog. I'm not use to racing in it, and I hate it because it throws off my sense of speed and direction.

The sun comes out and things brighten up for the afternoon. Because we have had so many missed practices I decided to go to technical inspection early. If I am first in line for the afternoon practice I may be able to get in an extra lap of practice. Peter Small another American had the same idea, and we both went off the line together. The starter allows two riders to go at once. I was feeling good and I took off like a bullet. I was the first to the bottom of Bray Hill. I was totally in the zone. Later from my qualification time sheet we determine I went the fastest I had all week from a standing start. The feeling was short lived. My left foot peg had rattled loose on this bumpiest of courses and I was forced to pull into the pits. I was a little upset because all my planning was going to waste. When I get into the pits I couldn't find my pit crew with the tools. I wasn't scheduled to pit until the following lap and they were up in the grandstand. We finally get the foot peg fixed and out I go again. Well it took some time to sort things out, by the time we did I got one more lap in and my practice session was over. Because I was a newcomer I was allowed to practice in the following session. Your first / starting lap is always your slowest. Each successive lap is called a flying lap, which is always faster because you are in motion and flowing. Well on my flying lap in today's practice session I blew up my motor. I threw a piston rod out the front of my motor and I don't have a spare. The TT course is extremely hard on your motor and suspension. You are flat out on the gas for so much of the course that you need a strong reliable motor. In order to qualify for the race you must average a minimum speed of 100 mph over the 37.5 mile of the course. Tomorrow I will try to locate a new motor. If I am not successful I will explore any other options that I might have.

back to top


June 6th

I call every motorcycle shop and salvage yard on the Isle. No motor was to be found. I called a number of shops on the mainland and none could get a motor to me before Tuesday. This would not give me enough time to install the motor before my race Wednesday morning. I went to the radio station and put in a distress request for assistance. After speaking with everyone I had met on the Isle, I was finally able to obtain the motor from Richard Turner the owner of Inter-Sport sporting goods. Richard is affiliated with John Shand Racing and has of great help with all the newcomers from the team. It's been raining all day. All racing has been canceled for the day.

back to top


June 7th

Today is mad Sunday. This is the day that is traditionally known for partying and revelry during the TT festival. Racing started today. All events that were scheduled for yesterday were held today. I saw part of the Formula I race, but I spent the majority of the day working on the motorcycle. When I took apart my motorcycle I saw a large 4" hole in the front of the engine and a long 3" hole in the top. The motor is history. Perhaps I will be able to save the head, and cams, all else looks wasted.

The Formula 1 race ran this morning. Peter Small crashed in his second lap of the race. He was flown to the hospital in the helicopter and pronounced fit upon further examination. I'm not sure what his motorcycle looks like, most are toast after a crash on this circuit. Sidecar races were cancelled due to rain.

We all went down to Bushy's for the annual street party. This year approximately 70,000 people showed up for the festival. People were doing wheelies, burnout's, and doughnuts all under the careful watchful eye's of the police. As long as people don't get too out of hand the police allow the motorcyclists to have fun. We hung out, had some dinner, partied a little, then called it a night.

back to top


June 8th

Once again it's raining outside. Races were delayed today but eventually shortened versions of each race were run. Sidecar racing was postponed until tomorrow. Ted Markut came over in the morning. We took sponsorship photos with Geoff, and work on getting the motorcycle ready for Wednesday's race. The weather forecast for Wednesday doesn't look good. The weather forecast is calling for rain. Races are run in the rain as long as there is no fog on the mountain. This doesn't make me particularly comfortable because this course is difficult enough when it's dry. I suppose I'll mount my rain tires and be prepared to race if it comes down to it. At this point in the game with all the time, money, and effort spent on this event, I just want to finish this race and receive my finishers medal. I would like to return next year to race. With all the knowledge I acquired this year I should be able to improve my time considerably.

I went to Pete Devines house this evening. Pete was able to get me another sponsor today, Wiz knee sliders. Every little bit counts I always say.

After visiting Pete I went to the awards ceremony tonight to see what it was like. It was really great seeing the presentation. If other people went through what I did, the awards were well deserved. Later I came home and updated the website.

back to top


June 9th

I spent most of the day preparing the loaner motorcycle for the next day's race. I had to swap all the bodywork from my motorcycle to the loaner. I also had to get new tires, gas, change the shift pattern, and set up the suspension on the loaner motorcycle to match the suspension settings on my motorcycle. Getting the suspension correct was going to be next to impossible without having the opportunity to ride the motorcycle. There are no additional practice sessions scheduled. I will feel out the suspension as I race tomorrow. The motor starts and runs that's all I'm concerned with. Richard advised me that there was one or two races left in the motor before it needed to be rebuilt. I decided to take it easy on the motor and finish the race. My race is at 1:00pm tomorrow afternoon.

Richard Nichols from Speedvision stopped by today to interview me. It seems they wanted to get a Newcomer prospective on the TT for the American market. The interview was fun and exciting. The only down side was the rain. The awning was up as I worked on the motorcycle, so the entire camera crew was happy that they did not have to stand in the shot in the rain. We were all able to stay dry during the outside interview.

back to top


June 10th

Today was race day! I was up early to get the motorcycle through tech inspection. I wanted to give myself plenty of time incase something was wrong with the bike. Also Speedvision want to put an onboard camera on my motorcycle, and they needed sometime to do this. Well the sun was out in full force for the morning race. By the time our race started at 1:15pm it was raining. Well this did not make me happy. Different bike, new tires, incorrect suspension settings, and the motor was backfiring while I was down shifting. Also Speedvision decided not to film the onboard segment because of the rain, but they did take video footage of me in the pits. The race is hard enough when it's dry, let alone when it's raining. The race was miserable. With each lap the weather got worse. On the first lap the bike jumped out of gear three times. The first time was right at the start. All I said to myself was, "please let this motor last for three laps". On the second lap I almost crashed at the bottom of Bray Hill. It took me some time to compose myself. Bray Hill is a flat out 6th gear hill that bottoms out the motorcycle at the bottom. When I hit the transition in the rain the whole bike became upset and I though I was going to crash. I was looking for a safe place to eject. Fortunate for me I was able to get the bike under control, and I didn't have to exercise that option. The pit stop or (splash and dash) went fairly smoothly until I tried to start the motorcycle and it wouldn't start. We didn't know what was wrong with the starter. Finally we push started the bike, and off I went. On the third and final lap fog set in on the mountain course. This made going even slower for me. Fog disorients me, and I'm not use to racing in it. I was determined to finish the race, and finish the race I did. Out of 134 entries, 93 qualified for the race. Out of the 93 who qualified only 60 completed the race. I nursed the motorcycle through the entire race, and finished in 60th position. This made me very happy for my first TT since there appeared to be a 50% attrition rate for the race. Speedvision was there to capture my first reaction at the conclusion of the race. I looked like a cold, wet, puppy, which was miserable, and wanted to come in out of rain. Even having said that it was a wonderful feeling to complete the race. Everyone was congratulating each other. I enjoyed the moment.

The awards presentation was very nice. It felt great to hear my name called as one of the finishers, and receive a finishers medal. I received a small standing ovation as I walked through the crowd to receive my award. I had become well know on the Isle for the short amount of time I was there. Everyone knew of all the issues I had concerning this race. (It's a small Isle) From the motorcycle arriving a week a late, to my missed practices, and finally the blown motor. Everyone was glad that I was able to compete, and finished the race. Geoff Thomas was able to capture the moment on video.

back to top


June 11th

I spent the day crating the motorcycle, and backing. I leave the Isle Saturday morning. I went to pick up some video footage, and photos of me racing. I stopped to see Peter Devine and Michelle. They had taken pictures of me in action also. Their shots were better than the professional ones I had received. I will make copies tomorrow morning. When I get home I will scan and post the photos on my website.

P.S. I've already started planning for next year.

back to top


June 12th

Today was a lazy day. Honda is having it's farewell party this evening. I'll go and say goodbye to all my new found friends.

back to top