10th September 2014
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IOM Classic TT 2014
The Manx Grand Prix, Classic TT and Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling are all rolled up into one big shebang at the end of summer. Henry Gregson shares his photographic highlights...
Although the weather wasn't perfect (which resulted in the postponement of Monday's racing) the conditions were pretty kind to those who attended the assortment of festivities and delivered some bright, sunny days. Sunday's VMCC Jurby Festival was, as always, very well attended.
At £5 admission, this event must rank as amongst the best bargains in classic motorcycling. It features parade laps around the Jurby circuit by some very fine machinery and well-known riders, as well as bike displays of a variety of classic marques. The icing on the cake is the unrestricted access to the pits and the friendliness of those taking part in the parades and their willingness to chat about their P&J.
One of the most viewed bikes there was a Honda / Norton café racer built five years ago by owner Howard Ostle. The basis of the bike was a 1960 Norton wideline featherbed frame fitted with a 1969 Honda CB750 engine. Surprisingly, the only modification Howard had to perform on the engine to make it fit (apart from making engine plates) was the removal of the fins on the bottom of the engine where they fouled the frame rails of the featherbed. Howard made his own swinging arm for the bike as he wanted to keep the Honda's transmission train to ensure reliability. He also used a Suzuki front hub.
The Manx-style petrol tank flattered to deceive. It's only half the capacity inside that it appears to be externally, as the rear of the tank doubles up as a location for the electrics on the bike. This clever arrangement hides everything away very neatly. Although when seen at Jurby the bike was in 'race trim', Howard told me that it is easily converted into road trim and is in fact fully road legal!
The Jurby meeting is so well attended that if you decide not to pay your fiver entrance to the official event, you could easily spend all day just wandering around the bike park.
Thursday's Ramsey Sprint also provided another great opportunity to view some fabulous machinery on a lovely warm day. Super entertainment, all free of charge. Do things get any better than that?
There are so many positives from this wonderful event on the Island, but one wonders if there is the possibility that they could kill the goose that laid the golden egg… Attendance for the race week was reported to be up 11% on 2013, which in turn was higher than the 2012 number. However this success has come at a price as some landowners are increasing the cost of viewing from their property. One particular vantage point I viewed from had doubled their 2013 charges. With the not-inconsiderable expense of getting to the Island, increased viewing costs may not be the best way to attract further support.
However, this didn't seriously affect our enjoyment. For most of the time, the weather on the Island was good, and the atmosphere and racing were brilliant.
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