A first time trip for me, I booked the tickets almost a year in advance, and the countdown began.
I’m never ready or prepared for anything, and planning for the TT was no different, with our departure being from Liverpool on 30th May, I had plenty of time to plan.
The ride up, avoiding motorways, and taking the most scenic route, totals a little over 200 miles- not the most comfortable, carrying luggage, and on a sports bike.
Well into April, I decided now was the time to formulate some type of plan, we met up at the pub, started discussing the trip, which then turned into a discussion about bikes, and we got nowhere with it, besides that we all weren’t prepared- of course.
The vague plan at this point was;
-Leave at midday
-Post our tents there
-Take the scenic route
I also came to the conclusion that before the TT, my bike will likely need tyres, chain and sprocket, and a service, although the service isn’t due until July, I’d rather get it over with before hand
I also had no idea with luggage, I’m not going to put a top box and panniers on my GSXR 750, so what would I do..
After a few instagram posts, and speaking with some other bikers who had been previously, a Kriega tail pack was the way to go.
The modular design really appealed to me, with them being stack-able and switch-able, I could pack however I wanted to, and configure everything in a way I liked.
Not wanting to compromise on my bike looking good, I only really wanted the US10, but when it arrived and only a weeks worth of clothes would fit, I had to opt for the US20 instead.
I did initially contemplate having a tank bag as well as the Kriega luggage, but after test fitting one, I couldn’t comfortably reach the bars, so it was a no go!
A last minute Ebay bid also won me a Kriega R8 waist bag, it’s perfect for anything I needed on the go, and would save me getting into the soon to be tied down US20.
The ride to the ferry
The route was vaguley planned to be from Barry, South Wales, to Liverpool. Passing through Snowdonia and avoiding any tolls, motorways, and any other roads that looked uninteresting.
The four of us met up at McDonald’s of course! All fueled up and ready to go we, it was absolutely hammering it down, but we were taking the scenic route, so the first stop would be at the Brecon Beacons.
We got the the Beacons, our usual spot, Terry’s burger van and quickly decided against having a break, it was hammering it down so we decided to head somewhere dry, The West End Cafe in Llandovery, with it only being another half hour away, we carried on, and so did the rain.
As soon as we reached Llandovery, it was time to check on our luggage and make sure that everything was still secure- it was!
Next, it was time for everyone to moan about the rain, everyone was getting rain through different parts of their kit, my boots were soaking but other than that, I didn’t really mind.
While everyone discussed what was next, I delved into my waist bag full of snacks, me and my mini cheddars closely resembled Golum and the ring
With only around 200 miles left to cover, how bad could it be?
The next thing on the list was a fuel stop, we stopped at Crossgates petrol station and did the same routine again, checked straps, moaned about the weather, and planned the next stop
Fueled up and ready to go again, we were heading to Snowdonia, it was was around 2pm at this point and although it was raining, it wasn’t cold so we stuck with the original plan, to see some scenery along our way.
Getting into Snowdonia, the weather change was huge, there was rolling fog that brought a cold chill, the rain became lighter, and we could barely see each others tail lights
But when you could see through a gap in the fog, it was worth it, the views were stunning, we stopped in a lay by, took some photos and carried on our journey, planning the next fuel stop.
Another full tank for everyone and we carried on, there wasn’t really a plan for the next stop, we were all hungry and wet and needed a break, plus our ferry wasn’t actually docking til around midnight, so we had to find somewhere to stay for a while.
We ended up at a McDonald’s in Mold, the staff there looked less than amused when 4 soaking wet bikers waded in and put our wet kit everywhere and plugged our chargers straight into the mains, however we did order loads of food, drinks, and left the place cleaner that it was when we arrived, so they couldn’t complain!
Warmed up and fed, it was time to get the last 50 mile stretch over and done with, wet kit back on we braved the weather for the last time before reaching Liverpool for the ferry
The ferry crossing to the Isle of Man
Having never taken a bike on a ferry before, this was an entirely new experience for me.
We checked in with our tickets around 2 hours early, so that we could get the bikes in and relax a little, we ended up sat in a room with a vending machine and some toilets on the pier along with possibly hundreds of other soaking wet bikers waiting to get onto the ferry.
About 20 minutes after checking in, there was an announcement over the tannoy system telling us we were to start loading the bikes up- just as most people had started peeling off their wet gear to try and warm up
Row by row, bikes were loaded into the ship, and just before it was my turn, I saw my worst nightmare unfold, someone had dropped their bike on the ramp, as bad as it was, I felt a bit of relief that it was someone else and not me, I’m prone to bad luck!
Now we were all on board the big boat, it was time to scrabble for seats, get seasick, and buy some over priced food.
Then came the messing around and sleeping photos to post online..
After the most turbulent 3 hour crossing possible, I couldn’t wait to put my feet down on land and see some daylight after being awake for approaching 24 hours.
After the ferry docked, it turned out that although I was almost the first row to get on, I was the last to be allowed off, so I watched through the window all of the other bikes getting to ride away, waiting excitedly for my turn.
The sun was rising, the rain had stopped, our bikes were ours again, it was around 5am so the next logical choice? Another McDonald’s – I swear we usually hardly ever go there!
The first day
When we got to McDonald’s, we all learnt that they’re not all open 24 hours, but luckily it was only a five minute wait until we could pile in and pig out, with plenty of others from the ferry that had the same idea.
Now just to figure out where our camp site was..
Luckily it was only a 3 minute ride away, so once again, soaking wet kit back on, get to the site, collect the stuff we posted and put up our tents.
But of course, following in the bad luck theme that had been running so far, our stuff hadn’t been delivered there, despite paying for tracked, guaranteed delivery for that date, we were now tent-less and soaking wet.
A quick call to Parcel Force, once they opened told us next to nothing, it wasn’t gonna be delivered today as it was still in the UK and hadn’t left for the island yet..
Luckily the team at our camp site stepped in and saved the day, offering us to use one of their tents completely free of charge! The people who had booked it weren’t arriving for another few days anyway.
Obviously we happily accepted the offer, and bundled into the tent, the majority of us planning to warm up and maybe have a nap, after all it was 8AM at this point, meaning we had been awake for 24 hours now.
Nap time over and done with, it was time to stock up on anything we needed, looking at the map we were also only 5 minutes away from Tesco in Douglas, it turned out we were in a great location for everything we needed.
All kitted out with whatever we needed, the rain had eased a little so we went for a little bimble, no mountain run today, it was closed for the most part due to an accident
We ended up going up a coastal type road, one of the group had visited in 2017 and had left a flag with his name on, so we were checking if it would have survived being on a cliff for 2 years, exposed to all different weathers, it did!
We also stopped on the way back down for a few photos, because who wouldn’t?
Nearing the end of the first day, all of us tired we decided to order a takeaway to the tent, we ate, drank, and planned for the next day.
The second day
The weather hadn’t improved much overnight, it was windy and noisy outside but we all slept like logs, the days plan was initially to watch practice, but that was quickly cancelled, so we had to come up with some other ideas.
A plan now made, we would go for a quick mountain run, despite the fog and rain, then we would go into Douglas to explore whats around, have food, and go for a wander.
The mountain was worse than expected, here’s a quick clip just to show the amount of fog, what you can’t seem to see from the footage is the constant mist like rain that didn’t ease up at all.
Next up was popping to Douglas, we spotted a bike gear pop up shop so obviously that was the first port of call, after a good nose, we decided we’d pop back there near the end of the week to see if they had any deals on.
Next up was food, one of the group who had been before suggested Paparazzi Pizzeria as he had been there before and boasted how good the food was and that it was reasonably priced.
We got there, it seemed too posh to be filled floor to ceiling with soaking wet bikers, but everyone that you spoke to was lovely and all of the staff really went above and beyond for the customers, with every spare plug socket charging someones intercom or mobile phone.
In total, food and a drink came to a little over £20 each, unexpectedly cheap, which was great considering the quality of the food and service
After a few minutes of wandering through Douglas, we neared the sea front, and spotted the amusement park type area, a few little rides, sweets stalls, loud music playing and the smell of candy floss in the air.
The boys braved the rides, however, I was definitely not going anywhere near them, not only out of fear of regurgitating my food, I’m also terrified of any type of rides.. Yes even Ferris Wheels and the little Tea Cup kids rides.
Next up was some sweets, we’re all big kids really, a bag of candy floss later and I was as happy as a pig in muck.
We sat on a wall and watched the sea while we all messed around and stuffed our faces with all of the sweets money could buy- that’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re on holiday, right?
Stuffed with crap like little piggies, it was time to head back to the campsite and hope that the races would be on tomorrow.
The third day
Spoiler alert! – The races weren’t on, again.
With there being nothing we could do about the changes in the racing schedule, we set out to find some tourist type things to do.
That brought us to our first destination, the Manx National Heritage Museum, with Douglas not being far from our campsite, it was the logical choice to head there first, save getting soaked through again.
We watched a video of the 10,000 year history of the island, it was genuinely an interesting watch.
We then walked through Douglas, popping into a tourist shop selling all sorts of merchandise, we ended up getting the Rossi style stickers for everyone, with me coming away labelled as “The Organ Donor” which seemed fitting.
Next we wanted to go for lunch, a few minutes of walking and we found a nice little cafe to grab some food
2 burger and chips meals came to around £15, we planned the next part of the day while we ate, I’m not sure were we actually decided to aim for, but we ended up in Peel, near some boats with a castle in the distance.
As always, there were obligatory photos at every stopping point, in true instagrammer style.
The entire marina was stunning, the sea was clear, the weather was warming up so we rode past the boats, up to the lighthouse and the castle
And again took some more photos..
We wandered around the castle, taking in the history of the island, and found some scallop shells in the rock pools on the beach, then the sun finally appeared.
With the sun coming out, it could only mean one thing, a mountain run!
We left Peel as quickly as we could put our kit on, heading towards the mountain but not forgetting to take a final look back at the seaside with the sun shining down on it, it was like something off a postcard and was such a picturesque place, I filmed our way back from the castle to show just how stunning it was.
Arriving at the mountain, we already knew the other half of the group were on there somewhere so would keep an eye out for possibly 2 of the most common bikes there, an SV650 and a GSXR 750
We headed onto the mountain, roads still a little wet. We kept our distance and agreed to meet at Creg Ny Baar (the bottom) and see if we see the others anywhere.
Only a few bends into the mountain and I spotted a blue SV650 pulled into a lay by, realising it was Nathan, I knew there must be something wrong so quickly pulled in to join him , fearing the worst.
It turned out that his bike was showing an F1 error code, a quick look at the bike and I discovered he was a little bit below the low marker on oil, even with the bike now being cold.
We decided it was best to get the bike over to the bungalow, as it was only a minute away and was a much safer place to stop while I called Ashleigh who would then go and get some oil for him- something that actually turned out to be difficult to find on an island renowned for road racing.
We then headed back down from the mountain, with it now being dark and cold again, we headed back to the campsite for the night.
The fourth day
PRACTICE WASN’T CANCELLED!
It was only postponed by a few hours.. So we headed to Creg Ny Baa to watch
Straight into the car park, we soon realised that although we were more than an hour early, so was everyone else and we couldn’t really see anything from being stood at the side
Luckily their was a grandstand in the field next to the pub, and the guy who owned the land was only charging £5 to sit there, compared with the £31.50 per person outside of Creg Ny Baa, so we moved over into the field
The first session was postponed by 30 minutes due to fog on the mountain. Then another 30 minutes.. We were just waiting to hear that it was called of, but then as if it were a miracle, the bikes were getting ready to leave!
It was absolutely freezing! The wind was hitting you form all angles getting into every layer making you sit and shiver, but as soon as that first bike went whizzing past, no one seemed to care about it being so cold anymore
The sidecars were fastening, I’ve never really been interested in them before, but seeing their passengers throw themselves around to get through each bend and kink in the road, there must be huge levels of trust between the rider and passengers.
After watching the races we popped to Douglas again, it’s close and convenient, and it seems to be the place with the most to do
I’m always on the look out for a photo opportunity, so stopped on the side of the road on the way there to take this
Once we were there we popped to a Spar for a slush, because that’s just what you do when you’re at the beach!
We also sat down and tried to make a back up plan for if tomorrows schedule was cancelled, learning from our initial mistakes of not having a back up plan.
It was a quick and easy McDonald’s for food, no fussing or messing although I don’t remember a Hamburger being more than £1 at home..
The fifth day
We got up early with our spot already chosen for the day; Ramsey Hairpin
We got ready, planning a mountain run for later on as the weather wasn’t too bad, kit on and ready to go, we made our way to Ramsey.
Although none of were really sure of our way from the road to the actual hair pin once we got there, luckily I spotted an official TT photographer, and we just followed him until we were only a few feet away from the roadside.
The location was perfect, you could hear the up and down shifts, the pops and bangs, and the scrapes of knee sliders and bike parts as they banked it over for the hair pin.
Not only the sounds were great, they were slow enough that everything was crisp and clear, you could see them pulling off the tear offs from their visors, with a few landing at our feet from the wind
With the races now taking a break with the roads re-opening for an hour, we decided to head out for food.
We ended up at a bowling place that served Mexican type foods, I ended up with spicy chicken bites, Nathan with wraps, Ashleigh with chilli and Josh with a burger.
The food was great, we watched other bikes go past through the window and got ready to head somewhere else to watch the races start up again, aiming for Sulby Straight as Josh wanted to see them hit a hump in the road and see both wheels leave the ground.
We were pretty tight on time for the road closures, so ended up in an older couples garden with several other bikers, they had barns and livestock and let us park the bikes under shelter in their barn, they even came out offering everyone teas and coffees as well as bringing round sandwiches for everyone, without charging them a penny.
It was a pretty good view and overall a nice place to be, sat there on the wall you were so close to all the action and had an uninterrupted view.
We unfortunately then heard of the tragic loss of Daley Mathison during the RST Superbike Race, a shock to everyone and hugely changed the atmosphere on the island.
Then came the rain.. the last race now called off and the bikes returning to the paddocks, we scrapped the mountain run and headed down to Douglas again.
We nipped to Tesco first to stock up on snacks and drinks again, then headed to Douglas to go for a wander again
Something that did surprise me was the masses of custom bikes, everywhere you went there was something you’d never seen before, for example the turbo bike in the pictures above.
I’m not entirely sure why, I expected it to be mainly sports bikes over there, but there was anything and everything.
Exploring over and done with, we headed back to the tents, Tesco chicken and beef wraps in hand.
The sixth day
We knew the races would be cancelled before we even opened our eyes, it was cold,m you could hear the rain, and as soon as you looked out of the tent, you could see the fog on the mountain so we had to make other plans.
We decided that we should cover some of the tourist attractions throughout the rest of the week, and Fairy Bridge being the closest, was the fist choice.
There was a lot to take in and look at, there were memorials, padlocks with initials engraved in, patches, stickers, gifts for the Fairies
There were gifts left behind, love notes, photos, wrist bands, food, drinks, letters, anything you could think of leaving behind with some sort of personal meaning or symbolism, it was there.
It was truly a mesmerizing place to see, there wasn’t a second we were there without others pulling up, again doing the same as us, taking it all in and leaving a gift behind for a safe crossing.
We headed back off towards Douglas, aiming for a sandwich shop that we had been to before.
We parked up in the middle where they have created a big parking space for bikes during the TT, crossed the road and were greeted some really impressive Street Fighters.
The first being based on an early 80’s Kawasaki Z1160R that was covered in trick bits, and had been extremely well built, and was clearly a ridden bike and not just a show piece like a lot of customs. It wasn’t exactly my taste in Street Fighters, but you can’t not appreciate the time, effort, expense, and work that goes into builds like these.
The second we thought to be a Suzuki Bandit 1200, later learning that it was a Suzuki Spondon GSX1170 frame (I’d never even heard of that before!) This one was right up my street, again, a really well built bike that just like the other, was drawing crowds of attention.
We sat down and ate our food, keeping careful watch after watching people being attacked by seagulls, then decided we would go ride the mountain in the rain rather than missing out entirely, we were wearing waterproofs anyway, so why not?
A little cold and damp, but still great fun regardless. We stopped at the Bungalow which is when I realised that my GoPro hadn’t been turned on the entire way, hence only half the mountain in the video, It’s amazing how many adventure bikes absolutely destroy you over there!
Next up were the Red Arrows, although we’d all seem them before at home, it didn’t make it any less special to watch.
The day nearing an end, time for food! As usual, a quick wander around Douglas resulted in us just buying meal deals from a supermarket instead. The forecast for the next day looked good, the plan was to watch from the paddocks.
The seventh day
The sun was shining, we woke up to the sound of bikes whizzing past the camp site, the roads were due to close in a little over an hour, so we had plenty of time to grab a breakfast and head out
We got into the paddocks and wandered around, looking at all of the TT merchandise, the replica jackets and shirts, the helmet and glove stalls, there was so much to see, and spend.
The first thing for me, was noticing the K-Tech truck offering suspension set ups for only £40, how could I resist?
We had a walk round, trying to spot some of the bikes and riders, then it was announced over the speakers that the races had been postponed by another hour due to fog, not that we minded to much the weather was nice and there was plenty there for us to do.
We passed a police “speed kills” type of stall, with an early GSXR that was smashed up on the back of a trailer, with the usual story about how the rider died.
There was one little stall that sold all sorts, over boots, knee sliders, gloves, jackets, anything you could think of that was bike related? They had it, and everything was pretty reasonably priced too.
Of course there was a big Arai stand, being sponsors of the TT there’s no wonder most of the riders wear the brands lids, they were my brand of choice to, until they decided to no longer make an XXS in the majority of the range. Nathan went to get his lid serviced by them, and came back with a free visor sticker, so we visited the shop for a nose at the new IOM TT 2019 RX7-V
While everyone was looking around, I was chatting with the guy who worked there, mostly me complaining about the sizing issues I’d had, then he mentioned they will custom fit any helmet bought while at the the Isle of Man TT, and they will re-do the custom fit each time they return there for their customers.
That was it, I was sold.
The races having now been cancelled, I cheered myself up by buying a new RX7-V, specifically the Nakasuga 2 colours, perfectly fitted to my pea head. This would be the perfect replacement to my previous RX7-V that I crashed in; https://crashtestkatie.com/arai-rx7v-crash-tested/
With the XS it was being built on of course not being in stock, my measurements were taken, ready for the helmet to be altered and posted as soon as it was back available (hurry up July 2nd I’m excited!)
Now financially broken, I had to pass the rest of the stalls with blinkers on, no more impulsive spending, for now.
Now that the majority of the bikes were back away, we managed to see loads of them, the Norton’s being a particular favorite of mine
Again, come the evening we headed into Douglas to prevent ourselves from ending up sat in the tents bored in the rain or at the bar on the campsite
It didn’t take long for me to spot something interesting, coming across a super cool Fireblade based Cafe Racer with a MASSIVE rear tyre..
Following on the Honda theme that seemed to be running I also spotted one of my dream bikes..
We filled up again on food from the sandwich shop in the middle of Douglas, Pat-A-Cake it was now a firm favorite for us all, then headed back to the site to chill out before the next days races.
The eighth day
An early start for all of us, we wanted to go somewhere we could see the bikes fly past us, so we headed to Kirk Michael again to find somewhere to sit for the day, we grabbed breakfast at the campsite then headed out, with a mountain run planned for after the races, obviously!
We found a field with a grandstand and stopped there, quickly realising the cost of the grandstand, we opted to sit on top of the grass mounds at the side of the field, like most others were doing.
Obviously keeping my eye out for any interesting bikes..
Until Josh spotted people on their own grandstand in their garden- the field next to us, and went to ask them if we could join them, what was there to lose? They said yes! We hopped over to their field, climbed up, thanking them on the way, and got seated ready for the bikes to fly past
We had a great uninterrupted view, having watched there for a few hours, the roads had reopened so we headed to find somewhere new to watch, thanking the people who shared their stand with us as we left.
We settled on a spot near Cronk-Y-Voddy, it’s quite a long straight so we were sure to see plenty of action with the a view that stretched on for miles
Then it happened, the moment of the trip, the nickname creator, it was spectacular
A seemingly innocent video, Ashleigh falling over after going to pee in a bush, but what came next just made the trip, for everyone
He didn’t just land in grass and walk it off, he was ankle deep in mud, but it didn’t look like just mud, hence all of us calling him poo shoe and laughing like little kids for the next hour, if not longer
Racing all over and done with for the day, it was time to head to the mountain.
After a quick stop at the bottom, we learnt that there was a firework display down in Douglas soon, we went back to the campsite, got changed and headed to Douglas for the firework display
Once we were there, we decided we would have some food first. A quick nose on Google maps tells us that The Barbary Coast is a pretty good place to eat, we navigated our way there, just about
We got in, sat down then realised that the fireworks were only around 30 minutes away, but they were now taking last orders on food, so we opted to stay and eat, missing the fireworks
We weren’t disappointed, with the majority of us having steak, and the other having a burger. The portions were generous, the food was great, and it was far from expensive working out around £28 per person for a meal, drink, and dessert.
A quick stop for some photos after finishing our food, with us now making plans for the final races the next day, we decided to go back to Ramsey Hairpin, it was a great spot.
We headed back to the tents ready for another early start.
The ninth day
An early start, we grabbed breakfast at the campsite and headed to Ramsey to sit at the Hairpin and watch the races, betting between ourselves on who would win the senior race.
We got to our spot from before, headed up and found a space, sitting in anticipation, my money was firmly on Peter Hickman to win the senior, with the vote being split between him and Dean Harrison between everyone.
Unfortunately my bet was wrong, but Dean Harrison deservedly took first place in the senior races, the roads now re-opened he headed to get food from the same place we did the last time we came to Ramsey Hairpin, it was good food!
We then left to go to the paddocks again, this time to snap some photos and to see if we could meet any of the racers
We managed to bump into the couple that shared their grandstand with us, they asked how our trip was going, and we chatted about the races while they took a look at our bikes, having not seen them the first time we met.
Once in the paddocks, we spotted a few of the bikes that placed in the races..
We messed around, standing up on the podium with our bikes parked underneath, took photos, and climbed up to see the views
In my opinion, my bike already looks like a winner without being parked there..
We wandered around, doing the last bits of shopping, gift buying for family and friends, taking photos of bikes, and generally taking in what would be the last time we would see the paddocks, and the chaos inside the gates.
We then managed to meet Peter Hickman, who was actually lovely and was more than happy to sign posters and have a chat about the bikes
From here we went again into Douglas, we visited the sticker shop again, having orders for some from family and friends, we also visited an old school sweet shop, Ashleigh coming away with £8 worth of pick n mix and me being unable to resist a slush, left with a lemon and lime flavoured one.
We headed back to the campsite, ordering a curry to our tents then spending the rest of the night playing pool in the bar with drinks.
The tenth day
And the last full day!
It was now time to pack everything up ready to post back, keeping out only the essentials for the next day, with the post office being closed on Sunday now was the only time to save ourselves the pain of carrying our bags back.
Everything with the exceptions of toothbrushes, toothpaste, a towel, shower gel, and a change of clothes now packed up, we headed to Douglas by taxi to post everything we could, popping into Poundland on our way to get paper for labels
Reaching the post office, labels now made, we bumped into a few people who had the exact same idea, except they hadn’t bought pens/paper/tape to label their luggage, we happily passed ours on, as did the next people, leaving it in the post office for anyone needing it to use
We went for a walk, grabbing lunch at our now usual, Pat-a-Cake sandwich shop and headed back to the site, to get the bikes and go to the mountain
Heading back from the mountain, we popped into Douglas to take a few photos in a spot we had noticed a few days before, and it gave us something to do for a little while
The evening now approaching, we decided we would make our last meal a good one, and headed to The Barbary Coast yet again, the food was good as was the service.
We ordered our food, I went for a chicken and beef wrap, which came in a ogre sized portion, again Ashleigh opted for a burger and Nathan had the chicken wrap.
Our final night at the Isle of Man being spent in the campsite bar, none of us wanting to go home.
The final day
The day we had all been dreading, it was time to pack up our tents, donate our sleeping bags to the campsite, and throw out whatever else didn’t fit on the back of a bike or wasn’t needed.
Me, Ashleigh, and Nathan spent the morning at the Manx Motor Museum, after wanting to go all week, it was amazing.
There were so many bikes and cars that we’d heard of, yet never seen in the flesh.
The walls were covered in bikes! All kinds of customs and classics, my true love being classic sports bikes and cafe racers, it was the stuff of dreams
Spotting some an RD350 I had to snap a few photos for my dad, anyone around his age will understand, and anyone my age would have heard their dad go on about how the RD350LC was the bike of their day and how everyone wanted one..
Although I don’t have much of an interest in cars, I can appreciate a custom build or a restored classic, having owned an MGB GT Rubber Bumper model myself
A few of the cars we saw;
But there were some cars of particular interest, there was a Mini Cooper with an R1 engine
A classic London Bus that had toured America, owned and toured in by the owner of the museum
There was also a pink Army Truck, I know nothing about it’s history or the reason for it being pink, but I liked it!
There was an Amphicar that caught my attention, remembering a story my dad told me as a kid, that one of his neighbours had one.
And after managing to get a private tour of the workshop, we saw an old Pikes Peak Bus that was undergoing a restoration.
Next up were the bikes! Of course I saved the best until last..
So I mentioned my love of Cafe Racers, I’m not really sure where I get the love of them from, but when I saw this line up, it was amazing.
There was so much more to be seen than I could ever get photos of, it’s truly an unreal place in such a unique location, the seemingly perfect place with all the Motorsport fans that flock to the island
Seeing as I’ve shown the Cafe Racers, it’s only fair for the Sports Bikes to be next up;
With Classic Honda’s being my favorite, it was only fair to stop and take a look at them all.
There were so many bikes everywhere that it would be near impossible to list them all, or go into detail about them, so here are a few more photos of some of the classics
Seeing as my bike is a GSXR 750, I stopped to take a look at some of it’s history, I’ve always wanted to own a VFR400 NC30 and a GSXR 400, not to ride, just to have in my living room.. if only.
And a few more photos..
Now that we were waaaay to hot after walking around the museum for a few hours, we headed to the mountain one last time to cool down
Unfortunately the GoPro was packed away, so there was no footage of the last go, but the roads were far busier, as if everyone else had the same intention before getting on the ferry later on.
We made our last trip to the campsite, loaded up any luggage that we had left there for the day (I only had my Kriega R8 to carry)
We stayed there around an hour, until it was time to head to the Port and board the ship, being there 2 hours early as advised
We travelled the maybe 5 minutes to the port, then sat in the sun, waiting alongside all of the other people heading home, trying not to think about our grueling ride home from Heysham.
The ferry crossing to heysham
They announced that people were to start boarding, we were almost at the front of the que, so didn’t have to wait long. All of a sudden. . SPLAT! All of our bikes were covered in Seagull poo, with everyone behind us laughing of course.
I popped the GoPro back on while we got onto the ferry, one to show people how strange it is, riding inside a boat, and two, if I dropped my bike (my worst fear) at least I could post it online and laugh at myself! (No doubt others would join in with the laughter)
Now on the ferry, our bikes were strapped in, while we nervously watched them being strapped down until they were touching the bikes next to them. Now we had to scrabble to find seats.
Despite being the first bikes on board, the cars and vans were on first of all, leaving very little in the way of seating for us, but eventually we found some in the bar, luckily all 4 empty seats were together.
My poor little bike getting a little too up close and personal with an RC8..
Now we prepared for the worst part, docking in Heysham and having to ride through the night back home, on cold, dark, wet roads.
With half the ship already asleep, we went outside to watch as we sailed, the views were great, passing the wind turbines out at sea, we saw the sun setting into the waves and the sky fading to black.
By the time we arrived at Heysham it was pitch black, there was that horrible misty rain, and we had over 250 miles of motorway darkness to cover.
Google maps was estimating the journey at just under 6 hours, thanks to roadworks that had brought the motorway down to 30mph in some places
The final leg of the journey
We headed on our way, it now being 1am and some of us having been awake since 7am (me!) It was going to be a long night.
We aimed to cover 100 miles at a time (My tank range) then take a break and fuel up again, but that didn’t go according to plan..
The roads were so fog filled that we had to stop at the 70 mile point, taking our break at Knutsford Services on the M6 at 2am, we tried to wait out the fog while eating rubbish sandwiches that cost at extortionate amount, with no luck we headed back out at 3am
The next stop being another 80 miles and an hour on, still so foggy that we can’t see eachothers tail lights, we had a break at Frankley Services on the M5 near Birmingham.
We found a Costa there, so had some cake to fuel our selves, some petrol to fuel the bikes and we set off again at 5am, aiming for this to be the last stop.
From here we hit 30mph speed limits, motorway sections that were down to one lane, it was cold, boring, and we were all tired and wanting to get home
We were wrong, only 50 miles down the road in Gloucester, typically I needed to pee, so we stopped off at the services again, I ran in, ran out, and we aimed to get home before rush hour began, hopefully avoiding Newport’s busy traffic
Luckily we avoided it all, stopping outside my house for dead on 7am, it was all over and done with, then the reality set in that I was back to work this time tomorrow.
Finally at home
First of all, and most importantly, was greeting my dog, Bella. I don’t think she has ever been so excited to see me, flinging her entire body weight into the air over and over while shaking her entire body, not just wagging her tail.
It was time for a quick clean for the bikes, then to sit down and look for any photos of us all that were taken by the photographers there.
Now it’s all over and done with, we’ve all planned to go back and do it all over again for 2021..
Now the countdown begins..