This year marks the 71st visit to the Isle of Man TT for one of the most dedicated fans of the world famous races.|
Ian Huntly first visited the TT in 1947, but TT2018 is his 70th time at the actual races due to the foot-and-mouth disease cancellation in 2001.
Here, the man who goes by the name “TTFan” tells the story of his devotion to the TT.
“I have been attending the annual Isle of Man TT Races since being well and truly introduced to it by my parents in 1947 who had been TT fans from 1928. Having suffered from Bronchitis and Asthma over the winter of 1946, I was advised to take the sea air so where better than the Isle of Man!”
“The first year nearly put me off. The noise of open megaphone exhausts was too much to bear and my cousin and I spent time on the beach that year.”
“However in 1948 my Dad took me into the thick of it, and explained how the TT worked, and introduced me to people with whom I have remained friends since. This was the foundation which made me the TTFan I am today. In 1995 when Dad was very ill he said to me that he was fan of the TT but he stated that I was deeper into it all than he had ever been.”
Journalist Nick Harris dedicated a copy of his book TT 1907-1989 to Ian with the words ‘to Mr TT – the avid TTFan’ and the nickname remained with me since.
“I have kept up an avid interest through good times and bad and have actively promoted it verbally and in article form, working with a number of well-known journalists and official outlets over the years. I was granted a press accreditation for services rendered in 1985-86 and have been pleased to contribute ever since to the programme, magazines and latterly, to a variety of websites.”
“My knowledge of TTs past is wide-ranging and I have often been called upon to supply data and first-hand stories from either my collection or as a test of my memory.”
“Even Duke Video in their early days phoned me a few times for me to identify riders by their numbers or helmet designs, when the film of tapes they were reproducing for sale originally became available from Shell etc.”
“I have willingly given my knowledge, advice on how to get there, and what to see, and spent no little time helping and guiding people who were on the Island for the first time, to find hotels, camping and Homestays with advice on where to watch and what to see.”
His relationship with competitors has been good, having over the years, placed a number of personal friends as entries in various capacity races.”
“I am pleased to have been a personal friend of top flight riders, not least the greatly missed Steve Hislop whose death in a helicopter accident affected me terribly.”
“I have seen many changes, some good but some bad, and yet the TT soldiers on and each year I rebook the ferry, call out see ‘you next year’ and there I am, first in the queue on the Pier Head in Liverpool.”
MY FIRST CONTACT WITH A TT MACHINE - THE 1947 NORTON