I put a note to the last column that there would not be a column this week, but circumstances have changed!
The reason for not writing one was two fold: 1) I was planning to be in the Isle of Man for the first weekend of the TT and thought I would not have access to a keyboard and 2) because Andy to whom I always send my column for downloading would not be available this weekend. As it happens I have access to a keyboard but I'm not sure about Andy's situation. So let's hope that one way or another this gets onto Trials Central.
Even though I would have liked a week off as it were, what has happened, here on the Isle of Man, has prompted me to find a computer to write these thoughts. I travelled over here bright and early on Friday morning (5am ferry from Liverpool at great expense) and then did the enjoyable but usual time wasting exercise of chewing the cud with pals, and visiting Peel village for a very late lunch (superb!) prior to setting out for Friday evening practice. That went well, we got to a great spot and saw plenty – all the solos and most of the sidecar practice.
There's also a big buzz on the Island for Cameron Donald set a new and unofficial (because it was not done in a race) lap record for the 37 ¾ mile TT course of over 131 mph. So all was set for a great pair of races on Saturday, the Superbike race and the first sidecar race.
But being a regular Island visitor, it seemed prudent to check the weather forecast and unfortunately the forecast for Saturday was poor but for Sunday it was good. So when it was announced that the racing for Saturday was to be postponed until Sunday, no problem.
Sure enough, come Saturday morning and it's throwing it down so the postponement was well and truly justified. But then, mid-morning on Saturday we learn that there will be no racing on Sunday which was to be put back until Monday, with Monday's racing put back until Tuesday.
Now, I'm just a normal visitor with no influence, but with a weather forecast for Sunday that's good, why on earth postpone the racing to Monday? Traditionally, racing has always been on the first available fine day if there has been a postponement, and racing on the first Sunday has happened many times in the past.
Niggled by this report, we then found out that it was “because there were so many other events taking place, and it would upset their scheduling”. Now forgive me if I'm wrong, but for the vast majority of the visitors to the Island (many thousands), they all travel over for the racing, not The Honda Owners Club jamboree, the Ramsey Sprint, the Ballaugh Enduro or even the historic photograph display at Laxey - some of which exist and some of which are a figment of my imagination. But you get the point, we are all here, it's Sunday, the weather is glorious and we are twiddling our thumbs waiting for racing that is not going to happen.
I fully realise any negative comment on this minor trials website that is read by so few people can make no material difference, especially when the whole TT extravaganza is controlled by a Tourist Board, but though these words may appear immaterial, I'm reflecting a significant number of views gathered from folks on this island who are aggrieved at the situation.
Intrigued by the reasoning for such an inappropriate delay, especially when the normally very reliable weather forecast gave a good day for Sunday, I made some phone calls to those I considered would be in the know. Now, nobody would say it outright, but it seems the postponement was likely due to a certain Valentino Rossi and Giacomo Agostini and their Dainese sponsors. Rossi had been scheduled to make his first appearance on the Island for a conducted lap of the course for Saturday, but with the weather forecast bad, that was put back to Monday. Now Dainese sponsor the Superbike race which was due to have been run on Saturday, and the hot rumour was that sponsor pressure got it moved back to Monday so that Rossi/Dainese and his guest Giacomo Agostini could all benefit from being in attendance when the Superbike race was run i.e. on Monday and not Sunday.
Further, I also understand that many Islanders were not happy because Saturday (or Sunday) racing is the only time they get to see any action; Monday is a normal work day so they're not out watching. I could go on, but I hope you get my point. Sponsor pressure got the delay and never mind the tens of thousands of visitors who spent all Sunday killing time on a fine sunny day when they could have been watching racing.
And I also realise that this week's column is totally irrelevant to the trials scene, so I'll conclude by saying that I caught the last few minutes of Steve Colley's show – he certainly knows how to entertain and good luck to him for finding a financially beneficial way of employing his undoubted talents.