In my "learning" period, when exams reared their ugly heads I was unable to go to the TT for the full fortnight so I had to find other ways to get to the Island. My parents always went for the full period while on one hand I looked after the house then flew over for race week from Newcastle Airport...Dad would meet me at Ronaldsway and while driving to Douglas, fill me in with all the news and give me the giveaways he had accumulated in the first week. The other option was for me to attend the practice week, return home then come back for the Senior race on the final Friday......In this way I kept up my desire to make footfall on the Island annually and keep up the unique sequence.

Getting back on the Friday depended upon the Motor Club Trip run by the local dealer or club or the weekly motorcycle magazines. They were supplemented by club funds and we filled three coaches.


We left work on Thursday evening and made the short journey to the dealers shop (Walrons of Gateshead) where we would climb aboard and journey to Scotch Corner then across to Liverpool, arriving there after a very cramped ride with a lot of snoring men who had been on the pop even before we set off. We stopped for bladder evacuation at fairly regular intervals with us all lining up in lay-byes watering the vegetation.


In Liverpool, we left the buses to walk down to the pier head and the ferry which was to take us over..It was always called the "Midnight Boat" but was only allowed to set sail a few minutes after midnight so it was classed as a one day return. We cruised over very slowly sometimes when the sea was like a millpond and sometimes when the boat appeared to stand on each end and there was that awful smell of vomit everywhere......If we were there early we had to hang out in the bay until we were allowed to dock and then we found the nearest bus shelter to kip until we could go to a cafe for breakfast.

However I was extremely fortunate to have spent practice week in a hotel so they left the keys under the mat outside the front door so I could get in and sleep in the lounge until I could go for a shower etc and then have a super breakfast. Then for the following years the hotel allowed me to bring in friends as well so it was funny to see the other residents in the hotel wondering from whence had this extra bunch of unshaven fans come.

A lot of bus trippers actually missed the racing since they slept in the bus shelters after a bellyful of beer and.......missing the racing...

We saw the racing and then went back down to catch the ferry..We caught up sleep on the boat going back, got on our buses in Liverpool and slept again as we chugged home, arriving in Gateshead as the dawn was breaking. When I moved south I found similar bus trips were organised down here and by now we had the M4, M5 and M6 so it was much easier to get to Liverpool.

Then I had a car and it was much easier to go and I started doing a full two weeks again..