Given that we’re on a rock in the middle of the Irish Sea, it was inevitable our luck with the weather would run out at some point over the TT fortnight. Unfortunately, Wednesday was that point. The result was that the day’s race schedule saw more shuffling than a Vegas casino with the morning’s Supersport race delayed by two hours.
Although we are at the mercy of the weather here, recent events have brought the importance of safety into sharp focus and these riders are not prepared to take unnecessary risks. I spoke to Maria Costello soon after the revised schedule was announced and she echoed the concern about slippery road surfaces that everyone was feeling in the paddock. (An interesting note is that Costello is the only female riding in this year’s TT since Jenny Tinmouth, the fastest woman ever around the track, couldn’t get funding.)
The Arai Parade Lap was brought forward and entertained the crowds who lined the Grandstand. They watched as MotoGP stars, Nicky Hayden and Cal Crutchlow, 2010 eight-time TT winner Ian Hutchinson, legendary world 500cc champion Mick Doohan and BSB rider Josh Brookes set off for a lap of the Mountain Course. However, drizzle returned once again as they took off past the grandstand and we waited to hear the latest decision.
It was finally announced that the Supersport race would proceed at 12.40pm although controversy surrounded the start. McGuinness, Martin, Anstey and Amor started an unofficial riders’ union, adamant that they wouldn’t ride in the changeable conditions. But these are professional racers with team bosses and sponsors to answer to and they eventually lined up. The exception was McGuinness, who refused to ride until the very last moment, arriving dramatically at the start line only seconds before the race began.
Despite the delayed start, the race was eventually red flagged shortly after the second lap commenced due to the wet weather conditions around the track. By then, two riders had already come off although both were lucky to escape without any serious injury. One was the already-injured Keith Amor, who slid 100 metres on his back as if he was on ice at Union Mills and escaped without a scratch thanks to the incredible durability of good old-fashioned cowhide.
So with the Supersport 2, Sidecar 2 and TT Zero races rescheduled, the riders (not to mention the numerous folk camping around the island) will be hoping the weather gods smile down on TT island on Thursday.