Text & Photos: George Partsinevelos
Translated by: John Agrafiotis
I remember myself when I was at the elementary school staring at the beauty of the landscape from the back window of a car. I was fascinated by the endless roads and all the things that were revealed in front of my childish eyes! I felt the astonishing feeling, for a child, of discovering the world and I was silently enjoying every route, long or short, trying to observe the world that was being uncovered to me.
Sometime then, the first motorcycles made their appearance overtaking us, sometimes fast and in a hurry, chasing or being chased by, the time and sometimes slowly, lazily, enjoyably…
It was then that I started observing them and feeling an unknown attraction to this mass of plastic and metal that made their riders have a strange glimpse on their eyes every time they took their helmet off.
A bit later, when I was finishing junior high school, the first magazines about motorcycles came out and I got “infected”. I was impatiently waiting every new issue and I started dreaming about the roads that were waiting for me to cross them on my motorcycle. As the years were passing, I realized that I didn’t want to live with the dreams and the clichés created by magazines, so I stopped buying them.
However, the seed had been planted.
I also recall (and how can I forget ?) that I couldn’t wait for the summer issue so as to read about the “ Mecca”, a small island between England and Ireland, where every summer the most dangerous motorcycle race in the whole world took place! I was excited by the danger and the fact that the race was on a public road. On the road, that the next day locals would use to go to their work!
Summers kept passing by and I was dreaming that someday I will go to the small island that has as a symbol on the flag the three legs and it’s known for the cats with the cut tail.
As I was reading and learning about this race (through pictures and whatever kind of text I could get my hands on, before Google), I met riders such as Joey Dunlop, Mike Hailwood, Giacomo Agostini , among others, that didn’t get so much attraction as the “big stars”. Riders from a different era that raced because they liked it and not under the pressure of some sponsor.
As soon as I bought a motorcycle, I started making plans to visit the Isle of Man. Unfortunately the amount of money and the long period of time I needed, held me back. I kept postponing my plans every summer, until I got an offer from my job to get a six-month training in England. My mind got on fire, thinking that finally I would be able to drive on the same road that Joey had left the marks of his tires.
I will stop here this extended introduction because it’s getting tiring (that’s if you haven’t already skipped to the photos).
The weather forecast said that the weather would be bad (December in England…) but I wasn’t afraid, just worried a bit for the ice I could find on the road, but if I stayed home every time I was worried about something I wouldn’t have driven on my most beautiful routes ! So, I closed the helmet windshield, turned on the heated grips and set off with the temperature being -1 o C and -4oC when I arrived at Heysham ! Two hours of driving under rain and the ice was all over my motorcycle and my raincoats!
But if you love something, you just keep on going.
Naturally, the first thing I did upon my arrival at Douglas was to go at the starting point of the race.
Ο πύργος της εκκίνησης[/caption]
And I’m off to go round half the perimeter of the island in perfect weather!
A closer look
Part of the Calf of Man island, where populations of seals can be found. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to see them.
You see these images when you walk in Peel