Having finally all arrived at the TT Festival – although still minus one bag – we were prepped and ready for our first day’s racing action. Unfortunately, mother nature had other ideas for the day.
Rain on one part of the course put an end to any potential for racing, despite us being bathed in sunshine the unique microclimates of the Isle of Man meant that there was no way racing would be happening for safety reasons.
Give the marshalls their credit, they did consistently monitor the situation, sending out revised schedules in order to keep everyone informed. it can’t be an easy job knowing that so many people have made the trip here to see some racing.
The Upside Of Rain at the TT Festival
Whilst disappointed we would not be able to see the racing we were expecting, we did have an unexpected perk – a whole day with John McGuinness and his family to get cracking with our documentary.
One thing I will say up front is that they are one of the nicest groups of people I have ever met. When you consider that this is the target John has been aiming for ever since sustaining his injury and factor in the constant delays due to the rain, I was expecting it to have affected him slightly.
This was not the case.
He is just a normal guy, sure he is keen to get back to doing what he loves and zoom around the 37.75 mile course but until it is possible he is happy to mill around with his family.
It is an insight I expected but it was nice to see just how important his family are to him in person. The support he receives from them has helped him through his injury and brought him back here, but more so seeing just how enjoyable these trips are for the family as a whole.
I will tell you that the entire McGuinness family are very welcoming and have made this process a fun one and seem less like work.
The Guided Tour
John took us around his paddocks – he is riding for a couple of teams in different class races – introducing us to the engineers who were hard at work ensuring that when the time came he and bike would be ready.
There is something about the Norton bike he will be riding this year that is oddly hypnotic. It might have something to do with the sleek silver colour scheme. Really nicely offset by John’s McPint logo on the windshield.
Hearing a legend like John talk about the specifics of his bike really brought home just how much this means to him. Add in his smile and it really did feel like watching a kid in a sweet shop.
Most of what he was saying went over my head mind you but the obligatory head nod to indicate I knew what he was telling me helped me to blend in with the quickly gathering crowd outside the tent.
another thing that helped me to understand not only what the festival means to people from all across the globe but just how much they have missed john while he has been away from the sport recovering from injury.
The Man At Ease
We then headed back to the McGuinness base camp and, thankfully for what my feet and injured knee were crying out for, we were able to just sit and talk to the family. I really needed that sit down.
Whilst we were there it was nice to see the family just interact as if they were at home; I’ll be honest I haven’t laughed like that for a while. My personal highlight was the fight for the good chairs, including full recline action. I was just happy to have a chair so sat back and watched as the situation unfolded.
Just a normal family enjoying their TT Festival trip and making the most of what has been one of the most weather affected TT’s ever.
But despite all the racing being lost, there are still many demands of the riders.
John invited us along to a photoshoot for his TT Zero for Mugen Racing. I expected this to be like those I have experienced in previous jobs, a closed set with limited access.
But John invited us in to keep the cameras rolling whilst he got changed into his leathers so that he could talk us through the technology in them.
To see someone so at ease with the requirements that it didn’t affect his routine was quite impressive and then once we had arrived at the venue my eyes opened even further.
No specialised areas. Just in the pitlane. Fans gathered all around taking their own versions of the same photos.
I loved it.