I looked Michael Thompson in the eye as he raced, just an inch away past me, back into the main race. The sheer power of the machines roared through me, as I stood in the main Grid, and felt total immersion into the TT Races; and this is only Practice Week!
Footage is being uploaded all the time to http://www.youtube.com/user/123bluepoppy/videos
Walking through the crowd at the TT Grandstand I make my way past the fans into the rider’s area; where all the team awning’s are lined up and prepare. There’s a perfectly blended balance here of friendly, open, family atmosphere, coupled with focus, skill, power and determination of riders and team.
I am greeted so warmly by ‘thepeoplesbike’ crew members I am immediately put at ease; and with the handover of a team pass I am made an official member of the days racing crew. Now the fun really begins.
The team pass allows me everywhere the bikers go and it feels amazing to walk past all security to follow our crew into the main grid area, where we, along with the TT’s top riders, are getting ready for the first practice week race.
Dan is rearing to go and totally focused, and he feels especially determined this year, as a significant arm injury in 2011 which had curtailed his performance, means he’s now hungry for the race.
Ten minutes before the start I get some great footage of the riders preparing on the track. The engines roar at a deafening and thrilling level, and the smell of fuel hangs heavy in the hot air. The riders show pure focus as they prepare, yet their sheer love of the sport and for fans makes them very approachable and they’ll happily talk about what riding the course entails for them and how much they love riding in the TT.
The race starts and I’m on the track inches away from the competitors. Their power, speed and skill are phenomenal. Seeing the look on the riders face as he speeds off into this world renowned, spectacular race, I feel very lucky to witness this first hand, up-close and be able to film it all. (see http://www.youtube.com/user/123bluepoppy/videos)
Already they’re reaching speeds of up to 125mph, and this is just the warm-up! Dan get’s off to an excellent start; he makes one stop into pits and speeds out again.
Then just after 7pm there’s a problem with the electrics on the bike, and it breaks down on the mountain road (Snaefell). Due to the positioning Dan has to stay there till the end of the race, as there’s no way of the crew getting to him until it’s all over. This is only the practice, so there’s plenty of time to get things sorted for the main race, and this is the reality of the sport. Everyone in the team is upbeat for the next practice, as every eventuality is taken into consideration, and as long as Dan is safe, anything else can be sorted. I’m so impressed by the professionalism and skill of the whole team, and with Dan as a rider, I know nothing will faze them and they’re fighting strong.
So, I leave the races in a positive, upbeat mood, the smell of fuel still around me, the roar of the engines ringing in my ears, thrilled to the hilt and ready for the next race.
Dan Hegarty TT Practice Week 2012
Guy Martin TT Practice Week race 2012