It’s TT time again, although only two Furness riders will be representing Furness this year at the world-famous races at the Isle of Man.

This evening, classic racer Nick Penny from Ulverston will be racing round the 4.25-mile Billown Circuit near Castletown on his home-built 250cc BSA-based GMS special, hoping to qualify for the pre-TT Classic races, which take place there on Monday.

The pre-TT races are exclusively for the older classic machines and has always been the curtain raiser for the main TT festival that immediately follows. Nick is no stranger to the demanding Billown course, having raced there for several years.

Former Manx Grand Prix winner Alistair Howarth from Silecroft is contesting the Lightweight and Senior Superbike events on a FZ 600 Kawasaki and an 0W01 Yamaha.

Alistair too is no newcomer to Castletown, having gained rostrum finishes there in the Southern 100 races which are held on the same circuit in July every year.

The other Furness connection is Manxman ‘Mikey’ Evans, the former Manx Grand Prix winner who’s been provided with a Kawasaki for the same event.

He’ll be easy to pick out, as his machine will be carrying the No.1 plate.

Mikey has been seeded number16 for the TT races on a 600 Honda provided by his Barrow Sponsor Graham Wilcock for the TT Superstock and Graham has also provided him with a 1000cc BMW for the Superbike and Senior races.

Mike Bibby from MBR Racing here in Barrow will be looking after the machines again.

There are three notable absentees at Castletown this time in Barrow’s Mike Walker, who gained a rostrum position there a couple of years ago. Mike is now concentrating on Classic Motocross racing on a 197cc DOT Scrambler.

Flookburgh’s Bill Butler has decided to give it a miss too for health reasons and your truly won’t be racing in the Isle for just the second time in 56 years either due to personal and similar reasons.

I will be around, though, supporting our local riders, carrying out scrutineering and marshalling duties etc.

If you are on the island on Bank Holiday Monday, pop down to Castletown and support our local competitors.

There’s no admission charges and you can access the paddock, chat to the riders, look at some of the most iconic raceware in the world, and of course witness some exciting racing.

Sidecar crews take to the circuit a couple of times in the programme and they guarantee plenty of action.

The first event is scheduled for around 9.30am and racing continues throughout the day until late afternoon, something for everyone.

*If you are one of the unfortunate few who can`t get across to the Isle of Man for this year’s TT Festival, ITV4 are providing some excellent coverage with some first class documentaries starting on Monday with the documentary ‘Breaking the Barrier.’

The following night, they screen a documentary on one of the greatest races ever witnessed on the TT course: the epic battle between the late Steve Hislop and Carl Fogarty.

All programmes start at 9pm..enjoy. Monday: Breaking the Barrier, Tuesday: Hislop v Foggy, Wednesday: The Winning Formula, Thursday: TT Preview, Friday: Qualifying highlights, June 1: Superbike race, June 2: Sidecar race one, June 3: Supersport race one, June 4: Superstock race, June 5: Supersport race two, June 6: Lightweight and Electric bike races, June 7: Senior TT, June 8: Sidecar race two.

*Taylor Smith, the Barrow teenager who has a rare life-limiting illness, celebrated his 14th birthday at the Kill One Club on Duke Street last Sunday afternoon.

It was great to see him reach this milestone and surrounded by his family.

Being a big motorcycle fan, his mum had asked if any local motorcyclists could turn up around 4pm at the Kill One on their motorcycles to make his day.

As usual, the local motorcycling community did not let him down, as over 50 motorcyclists turned up on their machines. They varied from a 250cc MV Agusta to large capacity Harley Davidsons, a trike, Classic Suzukis, a 500 Velocette from the Mark Newsome collection, Taylor Roberts Motocross machine, one of the Blood Bikes and many others.

Taylor wasted no time in trying some for size, ably assisted by his helpers.

*Neil McDougall, who hosts the popular bike nights at Pennington has organised a Retro Car and Motorcycle show at the Clarkes Arms in Rampside this coming Bank Holiday Monday.

He held a similar gathering there last year, which proved so popular he`s organised another.

It gives local car and motorcycle enthusiasts the opportunity to show off their pride and joys without having to travel too far afield.

If you haven`t already been in touch with Neil and do have a classic car or motorcycle you`d like to show (the older the better), get in touch with him now on 07917 728431.

There`s not the usual awards for ‘Best in Show’ etc, just a good day out with like-minded enthusiasts.

Gates open at 10am, admission is free, and any donations will to the Air Ambulance or Blood Bike services.

*If you missed the last one, the next Pennington Bike Night is this next Tuesday from 5pm onwards.