Name: Isle of Nan TT
Destination: Isle of Man
Distance: 60 kms (37.7 miles)
Vehicle: Mobility Scooters
Are you lot Extreme Trifle?
Us: “Can we order some puddings please”
Waitress: “Yes of course, but first the Police are waiting for you in the bar”
Manx Copper: “Are you lot Extreme Trifle? Actually don’t answer that. I’m pretty sure you match the description we were given”.
It was hard to claim a case of mistaken identity. Only a coach party of ageing transvestites would have provided us with some cover. We fessed up.
“It’s alright, you’re not in trouble. We just need a contact number in case… you know.”
It was a surreal moment. To his credit, the copper managed to maintain a professional demeanour. Oz provided his name and felt the need to confirm it was “Mister”, acutely aware of the fact he was dressed like a pantomime dame. There was also a comedy bellend drawn on his forehead in lipstick. It was a moment that pretty much summed up the entire event.
Stewards refuse formation lap
The day before we were cruising across the Irish Sea with a spazzle of 15 mobility scooters parked on the car deck. The crossing was spent indulging in a frantic game of Bingo and unsuccessful attempts to obtain Senior Citizen discount on the food. With the Steam Packet ferry reaching a speed of 19 knots, it turned out to be the fastest part of the weekend.
For our first night we were kindly hosted by the Joey Dunlop Foundation at Braddan Bridge House. After a quick change into comfortable evening slippers and gowns we nipped up the road to the Quarterbridge Pub for the pre-race briefing. Our Clerk of the Course, Bernie Ecclescake, notified the competitors that they would not be required to do a formation lap on the grounds that this would add three days to the schedule.
The next day we awoke feeling spritely which was surprising given the number of nightcaps we’d indulged in. After porridge we were fired up and ready to roll, but there were ominous signs. Black clouds and rain were looming and there was a traffic police car parked in the layby across the road. Were our plans about to be scuppered before we’d even let rip down Union Mills?
We decided to delay the start in the hope the Police might get bored and move on.
Since Yorkshire Tea had kindly posted us 5,000 tea bags we banged the kettle on and tucked in to our stash of almond slices. He really does make exceedingly good cakes. Unfortunately the The Police hadn’t budged, presumably not believing their luck when they were handed the morning rota. “Stake out possible rogue OAPs”.
In the end we could delay no more since we had ambitious plans to do 17.5 miles to the Sulby Glen Hotel where supper and a bed for the night was waiting for us. We pootled out of Braddan Bridge House safe in the knowledge that whatever the Police were going to tug us for, it wouldn’t be speeding.
With one eye on the road ahead and another nervous eye in our wing mirrors we waited for the inevitable. Sure enough, the Police pulled alongside us and on went the blue lights. For a bum clenching moment it looked like the Tena Lady pants might be put to the test. Fortunately the Police just gave us a wave, tried to keep a straight face and disappeared off into the distance leaving us to potter on our way.
The disadvantage of being the slowest thing on the road is that you have to drive in the gutter. It meant that all the stuff that usually doesn’t matter to the average road user like a slightly collapsed storm drain or protruding flora and fauna suddenly becomes your enemy. One minute we were admiring the countryside and the next trying to untangle some errant foliage from a hairnet. Some of the riders with curlers had a particularly bad time of it.
There was a really hairy moment where due to heavy traffic we had no choice but to all drive over a dead rabbit nearly causing multiple highsides. When your an inch off the ground with no suspension it’s hard to ignore the fact you’ve just mown over one of Thumper’s cousins.
Having been overtaken by cars, lorries, tractors and a kid on a BMX there was a small moment of triumph when we eventually overtook something with wheels. Admittedly it was a pram and the pusher was gazing into an estate agents window at the time but it was still an overtake, without the aid of a slipstream or DRS (Doctor’s Rectal Syringe).
100mph. A speed only achievable in freefall
We pressed on, and after a pit stop at The Raven to recharge our batteries (as in actually recharge our batteries), we continued to push on. Our dream to crack the 100mph lap, a speed which our vehicles could only achieve in freefall, seemed to be fading.
Eventually we rolled into the Sulby Glen Hotel. The Island’s legendary landlady that is Rosie Christian welcomed us all, valet parked our scooters in the marquee, and set about lining us up a few well deserved pints before din dins. Result.
The next day we had a tough 17 mile stretch with no access to charging points. Instead of worrying we instead lived for the moment with a pipe and a Bailey’s. Beautiful sunshine and a monster cooked breakfast greeted us in the morning.
We thanked Rosie and set off down Sulby Straight where some riders achieved speeds in excess of 7 mph. After the particularly bumpy section down to Ramsey we decided to stop for scones and jam to reapply our make up and warm our pop socks before tackling our nemesis. The Mountain.