Above : Rhys Jones , Mike Hailwood , and Graeme Crosby , Isle of Man 1980 . Below : Kenny Roberts preparing to ride an XS1100
The Isle of Man TT races resumed in June , following an interruption caused by Covid , which is about the only event apart from the two World Wars to interrupt the annual race meeting . My mind drifted back forty-four years to when I first went to the TT . Mike Hailwood was living in New Zealand at the time and was due to make what turned out to be a sensational return to the island .
RIDING MIKE HAILWOOD ’ S BIKE I followed Mike to the TT , and during a discussion about the awe-inspiring nature of the 37-mile circuit , he asked me if I would like to do a lap . I said of course , but I didn ’ t have a bike or riding gear . He said , “ Take my gear , and there ’ s a bike downstairs in the hotel carpark ”. That bike was the recently launched Yamaha XS1100 , lent to Mike to relearn the circuit . And what an effective way to promote a new model than to have Mike Hailwood riding it around the Isle of Man all week before racing started . Once kitted out , off I went on my Isle of Man adventure . The first thing that struck me as I plunged down Bray Hill was the familiarity with names that I remembered from childhood , Braddan