We departed at 20:00, and the 230 mile trip to Heysham for our 02:15 ferry began!
After a pitstop to change drivers we arrived at the port a little after 00:00 and were able to board the boat by 01:00. Having had a bad night at home previously we were now pretty run down and were starting to feel the tiredness hitting hard as we struggled to doze in our seats. We decided to get some food, were spotted by the customer services chap as we sat on the floor in the main area, and on seeing Tasha's pregnant state said he had rooms available upstairs if we wanted one. Oh my god, how this changed our day!! We got settled into our cabin and grabbed a few hours kip before arriving in Douglas.
06:00 and we were off the boat and greeted by a glorious Isle Of Man morning.
We had a vague idea where we were headed, and so took a wander around the bay before heading uphill to arrive at the crossroads at St Ninians. From here we turned right and followed our nose until we reached the startline and timing boards - still updated in paint, and not an led in sight!
We had passed our Grandstand - which was in Nobles Park, at the top of the return road - and so made our way behind the main grandstand which we knew would lead to the main activity of the pits, traders and most importantly breakfast! It also took us past the winners enclosure.
This area is connected to Nobles Park so we knew it would just be a short walk to our seat. It was great to wander around the pits just as everything was starting to happen and hadn't had time to become crammed with fans.
And so we arrived at our grandstand nice and early. Seats weren't allocated, and we were the first there and so grabbed the best seats possible.
Tash took a seat and so I went off for 'breakfast dessert' whilst she watched the morning traffic pass along what would soon become a 180+mph section of racetrack. Our grandstand was at 90 degrees to the track and faced back up towards the startline. This was our view back up Glencrutchery Road, you can see the timing boards just in the distance on the left. The area of lighter 'path' where the two pedestrians are at the bottom of the photo is the start of the return road.
Michael Dunlop leading;
Front garden viewing enclosure;
Dunlop shakes a victory fist;
Cam Donald & Guy Martin finish;
Earlier in the week I had said to Tash I wanted to find Cam Donald to congratulate the man on his fine beard. As I wandered about the pits I heard an Aussie accent and there in front of me was my opportunity! I made sure I got a photo to prove to Tash my mission was accomplished.
A few years ago the electric 'TT Zero' bikes were a bit of a laughing stock, but they are developing so fast you can't not take notice. Last year they ran a 100mph lap, and this year came so so close to 110mph! The bikes sure look the part too, and the engineering involved in very impressive.
14:00 was time for the Superstock flag to drop. A fierce battle between Gary Johnson and Michael Dunlop unfolded over the four laps, with Michael only taking the lead on the last lap to make it two out of two on the day (3/3 for the TT that far!) and a new lap record too! When he crossed the line he didn't know who'd won, he was sat by our grandstand asking the crowd ... and pulled a massive burnout when he found out. He was clearly overjoyed! Here's a few photos from the Superstock race.
Josh Brookes (fastest ever newcomer) over the rise;
Michael Dunlop waiting for the final results;
Winner! Moments before destroying his rear tyre;
With the racing done we went for a wander to buy a few souvenirs and then make our way down to the port side.
The Isle of Man is also famous for its Queenie scallops and I'd booked us a 18:00 table at Tanroagan, a fish restaurant down by the water. I was hoping we might be able to celebrate our NZ Visa, but sadly we are still waiting. So we celebrated just having some time to ourselves and enjoyed the most amazing meal! I had a scallop fritter starter, and for main Tash had half a lobster with queenies and I went for a fish gratin loaded with fresh fish and queenies.
Our boat was at 19:30, I think we set sail a little late but by then we'd seen our friendly customer services chap who once again gave us a free cabin! We slept soundly, waking just to watch the TT Highlights, and arrived in Heysham at 00:00. By the time I'd paid the car park is was 00:30 and we made steady progress home accompanied by the Radio 1 Rock Show which just happened to be broadcasting an interview with Black Sabbath and playing a load of tracks from the new album. It was the perfect soundtrack for an early morning drive home ... which saw us arrive home at 04:00 Tuesday.
On reflection, it was amazing. But instead of feeling like i'd scratched that itch its just made me want to go back! I want to view from the bottom of Bray Hill, I want to get up on the mountain section, I want to see them over Ballaugh Bridge ... and so on.
Massive thanks to Tashas parents, as our little trip could never have happened without them keeping an eye on the kids.
And to finish, a little video from the Supersport race. Michael Dunlop leading the rest.