Weekly Thoughts 06 June 2014

I do indeed write to you today from a chilly lump of rock off the UK coast. The business visits in London and here on the Isle of Man have been very worthwhile and I am happy that I have done this trip for what I will gain from it for my clients. I will write more specifically about these visits over the next week or two.

I have spent the last couple of days camping at the local rugby club along with a couple of hundred tattooed, leather cladded bikers of all shapes, sizes and ages from all corners of the world. A father’s nightmare for their daughter! But, without exception, every single one of them that I have chatted to or interacted with – and probably all those that I haven’t too – have been good people. There are unwatched cell phones being charged at any and every plug point that can be found in the clubhouse. No one moves them or touches them. They don’t even steal the plug point from you! There has been probably fifteen million Rand’s worth of motorbikes parked at the club at night. Some of them with their keys in the ignitions. The fans, men together with a few ladies, arrive in their tens of thousands on the ferries from the UK bringing their motorbikes with them to watch the spectacle.

But now this spectacle that I have been able to witness this week, the Isle of Man TT motorbike race. It is absolutely amazing and utterly insane. A thirty seven mile long lap along public roads, with the highest average speed achieved this week of 132 mph over one lap. (They are still imperial here. And the sun is on the wrong side of the sky!) That is an average of about 210km/h. During the racing days that I have been here of Wednesday and today, I have been standing at spots right next to the road, sitting on grass verges in the country, with a motorbike racing past me just a meter or two away at nearly 300km/h. Words don’t do the experience justice. Nowhere else in the world would it even be permitted. They’ve had two riders die here this week. This must be the holy grail of motorcycle racing. The prize money is miniscule. They do it for the pride. To be able to say they have raced the TT. The man who won the main senior’s race of the whole event today, has won it ten times. He sits at some stratospheric level of capability that only an elite few get membership to. There are some race track riders in the world who refuse to do this race. It is that insane. But a pilgrimage that a racing fan needs to make.