Off to the Manx….

I type this as I sit on the boat at the Albert Docks ready to set off for my first Manx GP experience. As per my previous blog, after finishing a 7 1/2 year stint with Bill Smith Motors, I have moved on to work with my old mate James Powell of Infront Motorcycles. The first couple of weeks have been pretty varied; from giving circuit/suspension advice and some on track one-to-one training, through to servicing/repairing road and race bikes back at HQ in Saltney, Chester. It’s been great to have some variety and I’m really enjoying it. In fact I got great satisfaction from giving Sam Cross some very brief on-track training at Anglesey to then see him take the Class lap record the following day – well done that man! So once again the variety of the job comes in to play and I’m travelling over to the Isle of Man for a good patch of practice week, primarily to give advice/support to as many of the racers who ask for it. I’ll be working from the Infront Motorcycles truck in the top paddock, from which we will be supplying all of the racers with anything they need from tyres/spares to Torq energy drinks/products.

As mentioned in my last blog I’ve also been preparing for my first cycle ride of the year. The Etape Mercia is a closed roads, 70 miles ride starting and finishing at Oulton Park. I’ve been upping my road mileage for the last few weeks to make sure that I don’t have a cardiac arrest. I don’t think James was ready to see me turn up in Lycra for work to be honest. It’s gone really well though my biggest route in has been 38 miles, followed by a day on my feet twirling the spanners and then the direct route (17 miles) home. I reckoned I was ready for the event, even my backside doesn’t seem to be feeling the effects!

Then came Sunday, one week to go to the event. I woke up with some of the worst stomach pains I’d ever experienced. I climbed the walls for an hour eventually deciding that I’d better go to A&E. Jo’s brother Stuart hammered it around to the house travelling from Northwich to Runcorn in ten minutes – without breaking any speed limits obviously officer –  to sit at home as Ted was asleep upstairs.

Jo took me to A&E, where they more or less took one look at me and sent me straight through. So I writhed around in pain while they checked me over, I threw up, losing my dignity in various areas mostly as a result of the hideous underwear I’d picked. At 3 am they gave me some morphine, which was a massive relief as by now I’d been suffering for around 4 hours, and took me to a ward. From some of their tests they suspected that I had gallstones but apparently most candidates for these are overweight women in their forties, last time I checked I didn’t fit this criteria! So after a “night” which was about 2 hours long, listening to the old chap in the bed next door snoring so loudly that I thought he’d sucked the curtains in, I woke up almost pain free. They kept me on the ward all day and did some more tests but other than being tired and feeling like my stomach had been pummelled by Rocky Balboa (Aaadddrrriiiaaannn!) I was on the whole ok. They starved me all day, teasing me by parking the snack trolley at the end of my bed twice during the day, did an ultrasound at 6pm then gave me a sandwich and sent me home at 8.30pm saying that they will contact me regarding the results of the scan.

So not the best preparation for the ride really. I’d planned to get some big miles in during the early part of the week and the “rest” whilst at the Manx. As it happens I had a lay in on Tuesday morning, going into work in the late morning, then carried on with my normal week until catching the ferry on Thursday morning. I’m booked to fly back on Saturday night straight after practice and set off on the ride at my start time 7.04am, then return to the Manx on Monday morning for the majority of practice week.

I’ll let you know how the ride goes with a blog as soon as I can, wish me luck.


Posted: August 15, 2013

Ian Mackman