Monday, May 26, 2014

TT practice cancelled due to rain? Not in my day...

MG Note: You may have seen reports that the first Friday evening practice was cancelled because of rain. That prompted this conversation, transcribed word-for-word, between four grizzled Yorkshire riders, in the little TTRA tea hut behind the sopping grandstand...

Nothing like a good cuppa’ tea on a cold and rainy day, eh? 
You're right there Don.
Who'd a thought thirty years ago we'd all be sittin' here drinking hot tea during practice time, just because of a little rain.
Aye. In our day, we'd a' been glad to have a cup o' tea, but we were out practicing in the rain.
In the cold rain.
Without proper rain tires.
Or rain suits
With our foggy face shields.
I never used to have a face shield. Me dad sent me out with me helmet wrapped cellophane
The best I could manage was an old bread wrapper.
But you know, we were right quick in those days, though we were poor.
Aye. BECAUSE we were poor. My old Dad used to say to me, 'Money won’t make you quick round here.'

'E was right. I was faster then and my bike was shite. I used to race this old gixxer, with no tread on tires to clear rain....
Rain? You were lucky to practice in rain. We used to practice in hail.
Hail? We practiced in a blizzard, and nearly froze in our leathers!
Ohhhh we used to DREAM of ridin’ in leathers! We used to ride in plain coveralls, wrapped completely in duct tape.
Well when I say 'leathers' I was really just wrapped in the skin of our old dog, Bonzer, who wasn’t even properly tanned. My suit smelled so bad I was evicted from paddock.
You were lucky to have ever had a space in t’paddock! My whole family, and my mechanic and his family, lived in a soaking cardboard box, down there in the slip road.
Cardboard box?
You were lucky. I camped in a brown paper bag in a septic tank. We used to have to get up at three o'clock in the morning, clean the bag, eat a crust of stale bread, practice for two hours in pitch dark and icy rain, on worn dry tires.
We used to have to go out for morning solo practice, in ice and snow, while the evening practice was still on, then when we pulled in for fuel, the Clerk of the Course would beat us around the head and neck with a broken bottle, if we were LUCKY!
Well we had it tough. We used to have to get up out of the septic tank at midnight, and LICK the course clean with our tongues. Then when we finished the lap, the bloody sidecars went out and mucked it up.
But you try and tell the young racers today that... and they won't believe ya'.
Nope, nope...
It could've been worse though.
We could've been sidecar racers.
Oh, aye.