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Return To The Southern 100 in 2000.

Me, Paul, Dad (Roy) and Joanne (Paul's niece) all set off for our return to the Southern100 and so the story goes.

The first port of call was Oulton Park for a round of the MRO Championship. Paul and I were not entered for this race meeting so our outfit was safely tucked up in the van awaiting touch down onto Isle of Man soil. We left Oulton Park for Heysham and arrived there with about 3 hours to spare. We decided to go and get a bite to eat at a pub we had passed a few hundred yards up the road. Of course it was tipping down with rain and of course a few hundred yards was actually more like 1.5 miles. We feed our faces then went back (in the pouring rain of course) and caught the boat. We immediately booked a cabin and when we woke up we were docking in the Isle of Man.

We arrived at the campsite at about 6.00am set up the trusty caravan and unloaded the bikes. Most of the day was spent working on the bikes, well that was to say most of Paul's and Dads day was spent doing this. Jo and me were put in charge of washing the fairing, which was the better half of the deal I think. At 7.00pm we made our way down to the Stadium to sign on and most importantly get our free tea vouchers. We didn't get very far last year as you would realise if you have read my previous article on here and also in the Summer 2000 TT Supporters Club Magazine, so we were still classed as Newcomers and therefore had to be taken round the track by Des Evans.


we got up at 8.00am Joanne was most confused as the race wasn't till 7.23pm(to be precise) and she wondered why we were all getting up so early. I explained that the Café where we get our Exploding Egg sandwich and free tea from was only open till 10.00am and it was part of the S100 ritual to go there every morning. After replenishing ourselves we went and got on with our chores, which today was cleaning the leathers. I was feeling a bit nervous and told Jo to try my leathers on to see if they would fit her. I had a cunning plan, but when I realised Jo could hardly move in them this went down the drain. At 6.00pm we all started to put our leathers on. We got the outfits scrutineered at approx 6.30pm and then we were ready and waiting in the assembly area at 7.19pm, again I do not know how they worked these times out but they seemed to work and everybody was ready to go by 7.23pm. Flash backs of strawbales at Balabeg hairpin went through my mind. We set off on a steady lap just to remind ourselves of the track. As we approached Ballabeg for the first time I had my left leg firmly placed on the chair wheelarch while getting ready to dive over for the right round the hairpin. Well all I know was that we got round in one piece so that was a bonus. We did 5 laps then went back out for a second practice at 9.11pm for another 4 laps. By now I was starting to settle in and feel more confident. When we got back, we changed and went to a building just up the road that had tables and chairs and oh yes alcohol. The Pub I think it was called.

On The Gas Through Church Bends


While dad and Paul worked on the outfits, Jo and me went shopping as this was something we do well. When we arrived back at the campsite my dad was discussing with Paul whether we should risk going out in today's practice as last year it didn't go all that well. The decision was to go out do 3 to 4 laps then come in. This, I'm happy to say was what we did and this time the outfit came back in the same shape as it had gone out in. Joanne suggested we go and celebrate the fact that we had got further than we did the previous year. As you can see she was a bad influence on us all and we only went along to the pub to be sociable for her sake.


Race day or should I say race night. At 7.40pm we got the outfit scrutineered and at 8.45pm we were lined up on the Castletown Bypass ready for the off. Jo stood in the assembly area with the lapboard; her job was to show my dad and Paul what lap they were on. The lights turned to green and we were off. After what felt like about 5 laps I looked up hopefully to see the last lap flag, I didn't so my next option was to see what was on the board that Jo was holding out, to my horror it said 4. My mind had gone blank I couldn't work out whether we had 4 laps left or whether we'd done 4 laps. I took the decision not to look again as I had enough on my mind.

I knew when we had finished as Paul tapped me on the helmet and as I looked up I saw the chequered flag. As we pulled into the assembly area my dad and Dave Wells were on the Winners Rostrum they had finished 2nd, Ian Bell and Neil Carpenter had won and Geoff Bell and Craig Hallam finished 3rd, we had finished 14th and to say I had a smile on my face was an understatement. Of course that night we went and had the obligatory drink to celebrate our finish and winning best Newcomers.

You Wont Catch Us !


This time the race was at a more reasonable hour, but there were more laps to contend with. We took our positions on the grid the lights changed to green and we were off. Hold on no we weren't we were still sitting on the start line while everybody came thundering passed us. The bike had jumped out of gear so by the time we got going we were about 2nd from the back. We had some catching up to do or should I say Paul had some catching up to do. It took us about 6 laps to catch and pass the people in sight, which I must say made the laps fly by. We were having a battle for position with William Quayle and Gareth Lacy, nearly every corner we came to they would out break us then we would out break them at the next. While all this was going on my dad and Geoff Bell came flying past us, one each side through the Bomb Hole of all places. They were obviously having their own battle. As we had been lapped we had one less lap to do which is always welcoming to me, but not so much for Paul. We were on the last lap and William Quayle had got in front of us at Castletown Corner on the previous lap so we were on a mission. We managed to pass him back going towards Iron Gates, but I knew he was there waiting to pounce. Going towards Stadium I could hear his bike right up with us and as we went into Castletown Corner we were side by side. My heart was in my mouth and I took leave of my senses and started shouting and hitting Paul on the back as if he were a Racehorse. We managed to get over the line .02 of a second in front. I was so happy I could have cried.

We arrived back at the assembly area and yet again there was my dad and Dave on the Winners Rostrum. This time they had finished 3rd and Geoff Bell finished 2nd with Ian Bell in 1st. We returned to the paddock jubilant at our result, we'd finished 10th and won Best Newcomer again.

That night was the presentation, so we all tarted ourselves up, by that I mean we all had a wash.

The presentation was in Castletown Square. We were called up to receive our awards and struggled back off the stage with 8 trophies. This was 3 times more trophies than we had won in our 3 years of racing. Once the presentation was over we took in some liquid refreshment and had curry and chip (yes chip), well that's what the man in the Chinese said when I ordered.

Best Newcomers at The Southern in 2000


Time to pack up. The outfits were loaded in the van, this time in the same shape as they had arrived in. The caravan was packed and we said goodbye to the Southern 100 for another year.

I have already booked my holiday for this years Southern 100. Not that I'm keen or anything you understand.

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