The TT 1976

It seems such a long time since June but as nobody has come forward with a detailed account of our holiday there, it leaves me with quite a task. It would be impossible to write about everything that happened (which is probably the reason nobody has) but I shall tell you about a few of the things that made my holiday for me and also decided me to return next year.

I went with Dave Cockerton on his heavily laden F1 and having been to the TT before, Dave knew what happens to your petrol on arrival at Liverpool, so he had calculated how much we would use and was only just right. After a ton up cruise the bike went on reserve 25 miles from Liverpool and we crept along at 50 to make it eak out. A Trident overtook us and the rider checking over his shoulder noticed an indicator about to part company with the bike. Swinging around he caught the indicator but upset the bike. It took him two lanes and a little over a mile to sort it out. As Dave said later, "For a lousy £3 bit of plastic he nearly blew a thousand quid bike".

I won't describe the disgraceful way in which bikers and bikes are treated by the I. of M.S.P.C. as you have probably heard all about it anyway, and the friendly Manx folk soon make up for the hassles. The week was full of little incidents such as:

  • Getting drunk in glorious sunshine at the Raven near Ballaugh Bridge whilst waiting for the fog to lift off the mountain so that the proddy race could start. It didn't and we were well and truly pissed.
  • Cheering John Williams to a new 112mph lap record and then listening with bated breath as the radio commentator announced he had stopped and was pushing the bike home.
  • Meeting a couple of 750 Honda owners who had completed over 45,000 miles apiece without even looking inside the pots to see if all was well.
  • Gaping in awe at a Benelli Sei and trailer and yet another Benelli with six into one pipe.
  • Listening to the hundreds of Honda Fours all with trick pipes being rushed round the island.
  • Meeting a couple of tax exiles in Castletown who pleaded poverty but bought us drinks and kept us amused with their stories.
  • We met a couple with a small market garden who were converting their house into a cafe/shop and who made us pots of tea for the princely sum of 12p.
  • Keeping in touch with the other Phoenix members who were staying in Douglas by notes e.g. 'Leicester Phoenix will be drinking in the Ballacraine Hotel tonight', placed on a wall outside our campsite.
  • Seeing Dave Taylor wheely his bike around the TT course and straining our necks to watch the Red Devils display over Douglas.
  • Having Roland Potter rebuild his 350 Yam on our doorstep after breaking the gearshaft. As he didn't have any tools they were borrowed from almost everybody on the site.
  • Seeing Dave drool over a beautiful new outfit at the Honda Rally and trying to sound surprised when he announced he is going to buy one.
  • Wincing when we saw two BMW900s fall over in the car park at Laxey Wheel and seeing the wealthy German owners shrugging the obvious damage off.
  • Standing pint in hand outside the Highlander watching the loonies attempting to cross the road in front of ton up bikes.
  • Attempting to reach a garage ten minutes before the road closing by driving the wrong way along the course and having a solid line of bikes pass us on either side.
  • Meeting members of the Birmingham Sidecar Club who invited us to their rally and gave Dave lots of useful advice on outfits.
  • Scaring myself silly as I attempted to ride Steve White's battered Nogin after he had broken his wrist in a spill.
  • Seeing that crazy German Dahn wear the right hand rocker cover away on his 900 BMW at the gooseneck.
  • Agreeing against my better judgement to ride Steve's Norton home and losing years of my life doing it (wobble, wobble).
  • Returning home in a gale force storm and amusedly watching the various faces going green as the ferry pitched and tossed as it left the calm harbour and attempted to turn round.

TT week is not just racing; it's more like a week long rally. Dave and I spent a glorious time meeting new friends, getting drunk, looking at the endless line of bikes on Douglas prom, discovering real bikers' roads and generally having a really great time and I for one shall definitely be there again next year.


- Terry Reynolds