Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Keep Sunday Special - not Christian

There’s a fascinating rumour to the effect that the backlog of TT races is down to Christians who think the island stops and starts when they feel like it.
The first races should have begun last Saturday, but were postponed due to slightly damp weather in the morning. Plan B was to run a couple on Mad Sunday – so named because it’s traditionally when visitors have their own flat-out spin around the course with key sections kept one way by helpful coppers.
This is where the rumour starts. It’s known one favourite is in a team which won’t race on Sundays ‘on religious grounds’. So did they, along with local biblebashers who have form for complaining that punters at churches on the course are inconvenienced by speeding bikers, strike a deal with organisers who, frankly, seem to have lost all interest in our only internationally known attraction?
Whatever the truth, the effect is that the backlog is so bad that racing has been going on all day today to catch up on the schedule. In turn that’s caused a traffic logjam since mid-afternoon which isn’t expected to clear until maybe 10 PM. The island workforce (yes, we exist) were asked to either go home early or travel by public transport.
What public transport? On the Isle of Man we have an inadequate bus service and antique trams and trains run (very slowly and unsteadily) for tourists only at prices that average over £1 a mile at peak times.
If we get through today it will be due to the generally good nature of thousands of visiting bikers, plus local commuting drivers. Without widespread good will, you could be stuck at any one of the island’s junctions if no-one lets you in. The colour of traffic lights is irrelelevant too. You just follow the vehicle in front in a 5 MPH crawl, stopping every 10 metres as folk ahead wait for a space at road ends or turn-offs.
That we do cope, and folk do help each other through this, has nothing to do with religious morality. If anything, it demonstrates what a lie that is, and one we should bury fast.
So, while biblebashing professional racers see not racing on the very day when most semi-pro bike-racing happens as some new sort of ‘Christian witness’, can we trust them to behave responsibly the rest of the week?
I suspect not. I am reliably informed that one, having had a minor prang late last week, decided to take his bike out on an open public road to test it out after minor repairs. This godbotherer was clocked at 120 by one of those flashing speed warning thingies placed close to a built up area to warn you to slow down.
That’s 120, less than 100 metres from a 30 MPH sign, probably close to a school. Not on the closed TT circuit but on an ordinary road where any car pulling out of a side-road, any pedestrian wandering across to a house or the pub on the other side of the road, would stand no chance.
That deluded spookchaser may well believe the Lord is with him, but even his imaginary friend couldn’t stop a race bike that quickly.

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