For the first time in all the years I’ve been involved in racing in the Isle of Man, our English weather played absolute havoc with the race schedules.

Torrential rain and mist on the mountain section gave race organisers no choice but to curtail several practice sessions which newcomers to the course badly needed to learn their way round, and for the more experienced riders, time to set up their machines for the rigours of the mountain course.

Nowadays, safety quite rightly is paramount and if there is fog on the mountain sections, the Air Ambulance medics can`t access casualties so racing is postponed.

The Barrow-based Graham Wilcocks Racing team had a TT I`m sure they`d all wish to forget this year.

Their new signing, double Manx Grand prix winner Michael Evans, had had some impressive early season placings and was expecting some good results at the TT.

Unfortunately, a heavy fall at the pre-TT races at Castletown sidelined the Manxman with a broken collarbone.

Rather than withdraw from the event, Graham Wilcocks offered the 600 Honda to Cheshire rider Jonathan Perry.

He put in a reasonable performance despite having very little practice time on it and finished in the lower half of the field.

The 1000cc BMW Superbike that Evans was due to race remained under cover as no suitable rider could be found at that late stage. Never mind lads, it`s ready for next year now.

You had to feel for multiple TT winner John McGuinness. After two years and many operations on the badly damaged leg he injured at the North West 200 races in Ireland, he was hoping for a good result on the Nortons.

Sadly, it was not to be, as he finished outside the top ten with them each time out and was lucky not to be thrown off when an engine bolt came out.

Manx photographer Angie Goody took this amazing image at the Gooseneck just before John retired the machine. He did, however, have a second place in the electric bike race.

Just to show how much they have developed this last few years he went through the Sulby speed trap at an incredible 176.14mph.

He`s made it known he was really disappointed with the Nortons’ performances and now has to make a big decision on his future career.

Still on the racing scene, I`m pleased to report Askam Classic bike racer Geoff Hadwin made the trip down to the Tonfanau circuit in mid-Wales during TT week, netting a win and two second places which now puts him ahead in the 250 Classic Championships, a title he`s held seven times in the last ten years. Well done, Geoff.

*The Barrow and District Motorcycle Club held their annual Henry Trial on and around the old railway line near Torver last Sunday.

Overnight rain had made some sections slippery, resulting in close finishes in all three classes. Ben Thompson (Lowick) and John Duffy (Lancs) tied on nine marks on the Clubmans course, but Thompson having cleaned more sections took the win.

Only one mark separated Kendal`s Tom Hodgson and Matt Barton on the Green route and just three between Grasmere`s Stephen Dixon and Coniston’s James Johnson on the Hard Course.


Hard Course: 1. Stephen Dixon (Scorpa, Grasmere, 19), 2. James Johnson (Scorpa, Coniston, 22) 3. Rob Shuttleworth (Gas Gas, Kendal, 30).

Green Course: 1. Tom Hodgson (Beta, Kendal, 10) 2. Matt Barton (Montesa, Kendal, 11), 3. Simon Brice (Beta, Seascale, 16).

Clubmans Course: 1. Ben Thompson (Gas Gas, Lowick, (most cleans) 9) 2. John Duffy (Sherco, Lancs, 9) 3. Angus Jenkinson (Vertigo, Backbarrow, 13).

*Tomorrow, the Westmorland Motor club are holding their annual Bultaco Nostalgia Trial for the older pre-‘65 and twin shock machines at Holme Farm at Middleton, near Sedburgh, not too far up the road from the popular Devils Bridge bikers meeting place.

1980 World Champion Bernie Schreiber will be showing he`s lost none of his skills on his Bultaco.

If you`d like to see the older BSA, Triumphs, Nortons etc being muscled about too, that’s the place to be on Saturday.

Nearer to home, the Cumbria Motocross Club are holding the next rounds of their 2019 Championships on the Route 44 track at Haverigg tomorrow and Sunday.

Monday is the next bike night at Preston Patrick, near Crooklands just off Junction 36, and on Wedmesday the Hot Tram Roll host their bike night on the Central Car Park in Keswick from 6pm onwards. Safe riding.

*It was disappointing to learn there will be no more motorcycle racing on the 1.5-mile Aintree circuit this year.

Sadly, a rider sustained life changing injuries during a race there last year and his lawyers are now suing the club for alleged negligence.

A track inspection, however, revealed the club did have everything in place, including medics, and held a current certificate from the ACU deeming it fit to race on.

The rider’s lawyers have now turned their attention to the ACU who issued the certificate. In the meantime, racing has been suspended for the foreseeable future.

While I do sympathise with the rider concerned, every competitor is aware of the risks of motorsport and signs a disclaimer to that effect prior to being issued with a licence.

I do hope the issue can be resolved soon, as I know it`s a favourite venue for many Furness competitors and spectators alike.