Newcomers' weekend March 2018

Newcomers

Aspiring Manx Grand Prix Newcomers visited the island last weekend.

The visit was the first of two to help new competitors get acquainted with the Mountain Course.

A large part of the visit for this week's 18 participants was completing laps by car with experienced competitors, who were able to talk them through the finer  points of competing on  the Mountain Course.

Among the international visitors were 28-year-old John Pilloud from Switzerland and 42-year-old Somson Herve from France.

'The course is wonderful, but there's a lot to remember,' said John, who came to a Newcomer's session last year but was unable to race.

Last year both Somson and John raced in the International Road Racing Championship which had rounds in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, and the Czech Republic.

Michael Nagle, a 34-year-old army officer from Wexford in Southern Ireland, has competed for the last two years on the Irish roads circuit.

'I've been over to watch the TT and I came over a month ago to do some laps,' he said.

'I think I left none the wiser, but today I am starting to put the jigsaw together. It's exciting but daunting at the same time.'

After some years' short circuit racing, James Field from York started competing on the roads last year and has so far raced at the Southern 100, Scarborough and, in Ireland, Armoy and Dundrod.

'It's going to be difficult to learn. I even came over in January to do some laps,' he said.

'But I'm looking forward to riding on a closed road, particularly Glen Helen and Quarry Bends.'

Among the locals was 19-year-old apprentice mechanic Nathan Harrison, from Onchan.

'The appeal lies in racing on the roads  that we drive on every day. I did a parade lap last year so I see that as a sneaky practice lap,' he said.

He's plenty of experience to draw on as his father, Dean Harrison, was a travelling marshal.

Ground worker, 25-year-old David Murphy from Preston has already done about 30 laps of the course.'

'This is my third trip over and I hope to have completed at least 80 laps by the time of the Manx,' he said.

Manx Motor Cycle Club chairman, Peter Maddocks, welcomed the visitors, telling them to enjoy the experience and benefit from the guidance being offered.

Referring to the cold and blustery conditions, he added: 'It's dry and clear and at least you can see where you are going.'

The second of the weekends, which are sponsored by the Hailwood Foundation, takes place on March 23 to 25.

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