Overseas - 1998
of Man 1998
Racing Archive Chronicles 1998
3/2 3/19 3/26
5/3 5/4 5/5
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
6/3 6/4 6/5
6/6 6/7 6/8
6/9 6/10 6/11
ARE YOU DOING THIS?
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
40 Ballanard Road
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
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
$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
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.
I contacted the worldwide shipper used by last years USA Tourist
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
spoke with Monica of Island Photographic to arrange for photographs
of me racing the event. Cost: This depends on how many photos
I contacted Peter of Duke Video for film footage of me racing
at the event. Cost: Unknown at this time.
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
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.
Supporter Club Article
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.
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2, 1998 Update
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
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.
New Found Friend
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.
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.
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.
Code California Superbike School and British Racers
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.
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19, 1998 Update
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.
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26, 1998 Update
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.
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.
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.
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30, 1998 Update
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.
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1, 1998 Update
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.
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.
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3, 1998 Update
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
Freight Forwarder -
1001 Durham Ave - Third Floor
South Plainfield, NJ 07080
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.
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4, 1998 Update
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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.
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.
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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
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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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
I were a superstitious individual I would stay home at this
point. But I'm not so...I'M OUT OF HERE!
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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.
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.
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.
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.
is what my schedule looks like for the next two weeks:
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.
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.
a newcomer to the event I will be required to wear an orange
jacket throughout practice. I must pick up the jacket when
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.
will be required to bring my helmets, leathers, boots, and
gloves to the briefing for inspection / approval by the scrutineers.
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.
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.
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!
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 -
newcomers get extra practice to become oriented with the circuit.
I get three sessions when ordinarily I would receive one.
June 2 - Pre
Practice Examination: 1615 hrs - 2050 hrs.
practice / qualifications is from 1815 hrs - 1905 hrs. My
second practice session for the day is 1910 hrs - 2000 hrs.
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.
June 4 - Timed
practice / qualifications commence at 1400 hrs and end at
June 5 - Timed
practice / qualifications commence at 1400 hrs and end at
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.
June 7 - The
infamous Mad Sunday Festival begins. I'll see if it's really
as out of control as people say.
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
race in the Junior class commences at 1315hrs.
Forty-five minutes before the start competitors take possession
of machines in assembly area and may start engines for warm
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
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.
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
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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.
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.
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
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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.
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.
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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.
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.
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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
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.
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
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.
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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.
went to the team meeting in the morning, and spent the rest
of the day doing laps and shopping.
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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
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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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
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.
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.
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.
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
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practice today, it was raining cat's and dogs. That's 8 practice
laps I could have used.
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was up at 4:00am for the morning practice session. The practice
was canceled this morning because it was still cold, foggy,
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
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.
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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
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
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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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.
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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
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
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.
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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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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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
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.
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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.
I've already started planning for next year.
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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.
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