Dilligaf Racer Steve Moody successfully competed in the Junior MGP and the Full Factory Senior MGP at the 2014 Manx Grand Prix on his 2012 Triumph 675R.
Steve was no. 72 in the Junior MGP and no. 45 in the Full Factory Winnerswear Senor MGP
Each race was to consist of four laps around the 37.73 mile TT Mountain Course totalling 150 miles on closed public roads through towns, villages and over a mountain where riders can reach an average top speed of 132mph.
A comprehensive list of laps times and race results are available- http://www.manxgrandprix.org/
Team Dilligaf arrived on Isle of Man at 6am on the Steam (costs a) Packet Ferry; first stop, full English at the Caff!
Once fed and watered, the team set off to the paddock area for signing on and briefing sessions, rider and technical. Elaine trotted off to join the ‘Orange Brigade’ to sign up a as marshal; thankfully no one gave her gun but they did award her a badge! Next was scutineering ….the bike passed following some minor changes skilfully carried out world class mechanic Bruce Lewis.
With rider, gear and bike all set to go, roads were closed at 5pm for the racing to begin. Sadly, a delayed ferry meant that many marshals were unable to get there in time, which resulted in the first practice session being cancelled due to a lack of marshals. A very disappointed Team Dilligaf set off to Port Erin to what will be home for the next two weeks.
On the Sabbath, the team did relax and eat cake at the Creg Ny Baa!
The team started the day with a windy walk round Port Erin and bacon and egg butties!
Once fed and wind swept, they headed off to the paddock for the first practice session.
Roads closed at 6pm but a delay to the start meant practice was shortened. First out were the newcomers on their speed controlled lap, followed by Steve and the rest of the junior and senior MGP competitors. Although dry, weather conditions were poor due to high winds and the threat of rain close at hand.
Due to the shortened session, Steve was only able to complete one practice lap with an average speed of 100.163mph.
Competitors were slowed at the Creg Ny Baa due to one of the first riders out spectacularly high-siding over hay bales and fencing, needing the metal pigeon to airlift him to hospital. Rider was fine but suffered a shoulder injury.
Sadly in the final stages of the lap, the triumph suffered a coolant leak as a stone pierced a small hole in the radiator, leaving Steve without a bike to ride. A search for a new radiator started in earnest with help from the mainland from fellow EMRA competitor Jon Skelly Skelson heading the search for a new radiator.
Being interviewed following the session, Steve stated he was adopting the ‘hare and tortoise’ approach!
This day will be remembered in history as ‘Operation Radiator’! Following Steve’s mishap with a flying stone the previous night, the team set about resolving the problem!
At 6am Elaine commenced the search for a new radiator. Numerous calls to and from the mainland and pleas on Facebook resulted in a new radiator being sent from T3 Racing via courier pigeon, plus a loan radiator being sourced from the paddock thanks to newcomer, New Zealander David Lee, who was proudly wearing the number 42 on his Triumph 675R (in Dilligaf red and black colours).
With only minutes to spare, the team were able to fit the loan radiator and get to the paddock for evening practice. Weather conditions were good with dry roads, blue skies and the high winds now a gentler but fresh breeze. Steve managed two smooth laps with a fastest average lap time of 101.632 in a time of 22:16:472. During the practice session, Steve’s screen was broken thanks to another stray stone (lethal little buggers those stones) as Michael Dunlop on his GSXR 1100 passed Steve coming out of the Gooseneck.
Steve was disappointed with his initial laps times but team Dilligaf were proud with his progress with what had been a stressful start to the beginning of the week!
The team woke to blue skies and ideal racing conditions to wait for the new radiator to be delivered.
After spending a quiet morning in Dilligaf Headquarters in Port Erin, the team set off to the paddock in plenty of time for scruntineering and a cup of coffee.
At 6pm sharp roads closed, and at 6.22pm precisely, the first racers set off down Bray Hill for the evening’s practice session; weather conditions described by the Clerk of the Course as ‘perfect’.
Steve was in the first batch of riders off, lining up on the grid next to Maria Castello. After a tap on the back of her bike, Steve tucked in behind her and the pair set off on the 37.73 TT mountain course circuit, in tandem, Maria in front. Thanks to a tow from Maria, Steve reached a fantastic top average speed of 106:646mph passing through the grandstand at 147.07 mph! Once again proving Steve can’t manage with out the help of a woman!
Steve finished 41st in the senior practice and 37th in the junior practice, one place behind fellow Oxfordshire rider Louis O’Regan. Newcomer David Lee on the number 42 bike, managed a very impressive new comer lap speed of 105.066mph.
A very happy Steve team Dilligaf celebrated with Elaine’s home made Manx sausage casserole for tea!
First job of the day was fit the new radiator and collect the new screen, couriered over on the back of supporter Neil Hobbs motorbike. Once the work was completed, the team went out for a rather nice fish and chip lunch at the seaside with Mr Cooper and his good lady.
As the team set off, to Douglas and the paddock, the heavens opened, and although it had stopped well before practice was due to start, it was decided the session would be untimed due to wet patches around the circuit.
Many riders decided not to go out due to poor track conditions but our fearless Mr Moody went out for two practice laps, untimed. On the final lap over the final stages over the mountain, the heavens opened once again as the cloud came down over the mountain road soaking poor Mr Moody in his posh Scott Leathers race suit. Luckily his HJC helmet kept his hair (what he has left) dry.
Marshals at the Gooseneck described Steve as he passed by as ‘mmmm smooth’.
By the end of the day, Steve was much happier with the bike and his riding, and felt confident about improving his laps times over the remaining practice sessions.
Friday was bike service day; the team change the brakes, tyres, oil etc ready for the bikes next few laps round the TT Mountain Circuit.
Friday was also 80’s day in the paddock with music and fancy dress from the era. The Purple Helmets made an appearance with special guest star Bruce Anstey. Following their display was ‘Space Hopper Relay’ with no rules. Michael Dunlop dressed as an 80’s pop star was captain of team A, and John McGuinness dressed in drag, captain of team B. Teams were made up of racing stars in fancy dress. Despite being ‘bashed’ by John McGuinness with his space hopper several times and having his space hopper kicked from underneath him, Michael Dunlop’s team won the race!
Roads once again closed at 6pm sharp and practice at 6:20pm. First out were the Classic TT 350/500 class with Michael Dunlop first off the starting line; a very excited Elaine was lucky enough to stand in pit lane as the mighty Micky D set off on the Norton towards Bray Hill, an experience she will never forget.
Steve was out in the second practice session. In what could only be described as ‘perfect’ race conditions, Steve completed two good laps with a fastest average lap speed of 107:192mph in his first and flying lap in a time of 21:07:146, followed by another steady 106;281 mph second lap, finishing 43rd in the senior session and 37th in the junior. Pleased with his times, Steve and the team celebrated with good old fashioned Cottage pie cooked by Iceland’s fair hands!
The team woke early as supporters flocked in their masses from ‘across’ in their Dilligaf shirts. Today was also the start of the Classic TT with riders of today ridding machines of yesterday. Roads closed at 9:30pm.
First race of the festival, the Bennetts 500cc Classic TT Race (4 laps), was delayed by rain. Ian Lougher won the race despite a 30 second penalty for speeding in pit lane! Many top riders retired from the race as the aging bikes couldn’t keep up with their more youthful riders pace! Steve’s new best mate, Maria Castello, finished a very impressive 5th on the Paton.
Steve’s practice session followed at 4:15pm with supporters at Bray Hill ready with camcorders to film the marvellous Mr Moody as he flew past. Steve completed a lap with an average speed of 107:545mph in a time of 21:02:982 finishing 37th in both the senior and junior classes with speeds of 140.10 mph at the Sulby speed trap. Further practice sessions were cancelled due to an oil leak at Ballaugh Bridge.
The Joey Dunlop Road Racing Legend – The Rivals Parade lap as previous winners rode the legends 26 TT winning bikes round the circuit, rounded up the day.
With all supporters, except Grandpa Ted, now on the island, they joined Mr Moody and the team for a small drinkie at the local in Dilligaf capital of the world, Port Erin, to celebrate the week’s success; Mr Moody was on the hard stuff, J2o!
Once again on the Sabbath Day the team did rest and join friends for laps round the circuit and a wonderful roast pork supper (thanks Mimi).
August Bank Holiday Monday and racing and practice was cancelled for 24 hours due to rain, so team Dilligaf bundled into the van and went sighting seeing! They visited Douglas sea front and the Manx TT shirt shop for this year’s MGP T shirts and Laxey for high tea and freshly baked fresh cream scones! Mr Moody also signed up to be Marshal Moody for the following days racing following a plea from the Marshals Association for marshals for the re-scheduled race day (Tuesday).
After another wonderful roast pork supper cooked by Tori’s fair hands, the team went for drinks with Mr Faulkner at the Sefton Hotel in their Dilligaf team shirts!
Today saw the end of the Classic TT and the start of the Manx Grand Prix.
With no racing or practice today for Mr Moody, he joined Team Orange and to become Marshal Moody for the day. Steve was positioned in sector 12 at the Nook with Dilligaf supporters Mimi, Pete and Aussie Ron at Governor’s, and Elaine at Duke’s on the start/finish straight. Marshal virgin Andy was posted at Guthries and Ken, now a veteran marshal, was stationed at Joey’s.
First race of the day was the 350 Classic TT followed by the parade lap. The afternoon’s entertainment was headlined by the Formula 1 Classic TT; Bruce Anstey was first past the chequered flag. Steve needed to put his newly gained marshalling skills to the test as an incident at the Hook sent a bike and its rider flying in the direction of the orange bibs! Rider was fine, more concerned with his bike than himself; ‘Is my bike OK?’ was his first words. Stuart Rayner, on the newly numbered 56 Ducati 888 Emily, was proud to complete his first F1 Classic TT years after last racing on the circuit when he suffered injuries following a crash.
After a short ‘roads open’ break, the day’s racing drew to a grand finale with the Newcomers A,B & C Race, now shortened to 3 laps due to time restraints. Newcomers A was won by local Manxman Billy Redmayne with a very impressive average lap speed of 115.950mph. Newcomer New Zealander David Lee on the number 42 bike in Dilligaf colours, passed the chequered flag in 22nd place.
After a busy day in orange, the team and supporters had an early night ready for the Steve’s first race in the morning, the Junior MPG.
Junior Manx Grand Prix day! The team woke early with nerves and excitement! Scrutineering was at 8:30am and then all they could do was wait for the start of the race at 10:15am.
10am, bikes began to line up on the grid ready for the start of the race. Steve was number 72 on the red and black Triumph Daytona 675R in his red and black Scott leathers with his white and red HJC lid, looking every part a racer on his lean mean racing machine, the Moody Mobile!
10:15am, a tap on the shoulder from the starter, sent the first riders off down Bray Hill, throttle pinned open and flat out by the time they reached the bottom of the hill. Steve set off at 10:30am, vanishing off into the distance with Moody across the bottom of his leathers in bright yellow letters , the last thing to be seen!
Steve’s narrative of the race
The morning of the race I was really nervous; even after a week of practice, there were still certain parts of the track I was unsure of.
I tried my best to relax but the constant trips to the toilet meant there was no rest; all of a sudden it became real, race day was here.
As the bikes lined up on the Glencrutchery Road, I was relieved to see that everyone else was feeling exactly the same. One of the great things about the MGP, is the mutual respect between riders; a shake of the hand, a nod or a wink to each other before each got on their bikes ready for the off.
Wheeling the bike to the start line, everything seemed to slow down and go quiet; all I could hear was my heart pounding.
A tap on the shoulder from the starter, and I headed off towards Bray Hill, telling myself to keep it pinned, adrenalin rushing through every nerve cell in my body. By Ballacraine , I had already caught up with the two riders who had set off directly before me, passing them both through Glen Helen.
It wasn’t long before I relaxed and settled into a rhythm, allowing the speeds to flow, aware of the huge silly grin inside my crash helmet.
The heart stopping moment of the race, was on lap one, at the end of the mountain mile. Three stone walls mark the end of this section, where the top boys don’t shut off until the third wall. All through practice, I was shutting off, changing down a gear, at the first wall. Coming towards this section, I kept telling myself ‘keep it pinned, keep it pinned.’ I took a deep breath and went for it, when a gust of wind took me and the bike to the white line edge of track, far too close for comfort. A close call but instantly my mind was back on the job and concentrated on what was coming next.
Over the next two laps, I was able to overtake more riders and only one came past me, so I knew I was going well.
At the end of lap 2, I pulled into the pits for the fuel stop; it’s amazing how hard it is to ride 60 kph after you have been riding flat out over the mountain. The boys in pits did an amazing job; after all the laughs and giggles we had rehearsing for this moment, they were focused, calm and professional. Once fuelled, it was back to full throttle down Bray Hill again.
As I powered over the mountain for the last time on the final lap, a huge grin filled my helmet as the realisation that I was going to finish the race and eighteen months of hard work had paid off; I was about to complete my ambition, and at that moment, regardless of position , I would be a ‘finisher’. As I passed the Creg Ny Baa for the last time where I knew friends where watching from the balcony, I gave a wave which the Misses told me off about when she found out; don’t understand why but she said I should have had both hands on the handlebars!
Crossing the finish line I was so relieved and had an enormous sense of achievement. After my initial feelings of relief, thoughts turned to lap times and if I had gone quick enough to win a replica trophy. Pride and complete sense of accomplishment filled me as Elaine screamed across the paddock ‘You’ve won a replica!’ I had a Silver Lady, the dream was complete.
Steve’s laps speeds (average in MPH) :
Lap 1: 109:615
Lap 3: 104:913 (including a very smooth pit stop by the ‘Pit Stop Boys’ – Mechanic Bruce Lewis, fuel man Des Morgan and brow wiper and ‘Paddock-stand Man’ Steve Gilkes)
Lap 4: 110.105
Sulby Straight: 153.57 mph (lap 2)
Grandstand: 148.01 mph (lap 1)
Steve completed the 4 lap 150 mile race through towns, villages and over a mountain, in 1 hour 23 minutes and 39 seconds with an average overall lap speed (including pit stop) of 108:236mph to finish 40th overall out of 90 riders off the grid, gaining himself a prized silver replica trophy and achieving his ambition.
Steve returned to the paddock to cheers from his supporters and even louder cheers from his partner (the self appointed team manager), the noisy but loveable Elaine.
The team celebrated with a wonderful meal at the Creg Ny Baa followed by drinks with friends in Dilligaf capital of the world, Port Erin, at the local, the Station Hotel.
No racing or practice so the team rested; they visited Castletown ate ice cream at Peel.
Final day of Manx Grand Prix 2014 and the Full Factory Winnerswear Senior Grand Prix.
Heavy overnights rains caused a delay to the start of the race. The race was due to start after the parade lap but with the threat of rain coming in again in the afternoon, officials decided to change the programme and run the race first. After more delays due to high winds, the race finally got underway at 12:30.
Steve was now riding with the number 45 having been moved up the grid by officials. At exactly 12:37 and 40 seconds, Steve got a tap on the shoulder and headed off down Bray Hill, full throttle!
Steve completed an impressive first lap with an average speed of 108:311 mph. Supporters and the team could only sit back and wait nervously for Steve to return on lap 2 for his pit stop. Steve was due back in at 13:18 (approx.) 13:18 came and went. 13:19, no Steve. 13.20, no Steve. 13.21, still no Steve. 13:22, Elaine went for news. Steve had retired at Brandywell due to mechanical failure. A very relieved Elaine went back to supporters in the Grandstand, and shouted, ‘Its Ok, he’s just blown his engine up!’ which was greeted with loud cheers as though he had just won the race!
Shortly after, the race was red flagged due to two incidents at the 11th milestone and Alpine.
Soon after a very oily Steve returned to the paddock thanks to the wonderful Richard Hartland (Frog), who when he heard over the radio that Steve had retired, went to rescue him off the mountain and bring him safely back to the paddock pilly on his ER6, to a very relieved Elaine and team. Needless to say Mr Moody, living up to his name, was moody and very disappointed with his retirement. The bike had lost pressure at the Bungalow and ‘chucked its guts out’ at Brandywell, with a mixture of water and oil showering Steve.
Steve said, ‘All was going really well. I felt much smoother than in the Junior race and was taking sections flat out that previously I had shut off in. I felt like I was on a flying lap and sure my speeds were up on the previous race. I had to rev the bike much harder than before due to the very winds over the mountain. Coming out of Ramsey on lap 2, the fuel light came on and I could only hope there was enough to get me back to the pits. As I powered out of the Bungalow the bike seemed to loose power. At first I thought the bike was struggling due to the windy conditions and so dropped down a gear. Still the bike seemed lifeless so I dropped another gear. My first thoughts were that I had run out of fuel but as I looked down a shower of water and oil covered me. All I could do was drop the clutch, hit the kill switch and pull over. I was gutted, completely.’
Needless to say all were disappointed but relieved Steve was Ok. A full diagnosis of the engine malfunction is currently underway.
As the race was red flagged, it was declared a result on the first 2 laps.
During the race there was an incident, our prayers and thoughts are with the family. Two other riders lost their lives in practice week. Team Dilligaf would like to send their condolences to their families and friends.
That evening the award ceremony was held at the Villa Marina where racers were congratulated for their outstanding achievements, and those who lost their lives remembered.
A very tired Team Dilligaf returned home after Mr Moody had a more sedate ride on another number 45, a horse drawn tram along the promenade at Douglas.
Team Dilligaf would like to thank all their friends and supporters who came over to the Isle of Man to support Steve. We would also like to thanks all the Marshalls for their hard work over the two weeks and making the team feel so very welcome. Special thanks to Marshals Mary Rose Trainor and Ronald who supported Elaine on the Glencrutchery Road on race days.
Huge Thanks also go to our sponsors KC Autocolours, Scott Leathers, Continental, Venhill, Skidmarx, Clive and Ann Latham and the Royal British Legion Riders, Oxford Products and HJC Helmets, Knox Armour, B R Racing and supporters Dan Sager and The Fabulous Biker Boys and The Honda Owner Club.
The team would also like to thanks all those who sponsored Steve via the Dilligaf 100 Club, Elaine Heckford, Steve Gilkes, Pat Moody, Damion Walker, Marty and Sandra Taylor, Erica and Gerald Gassor, Ted German, Ken(& Elaine) T.J., Claire Robins, Clive and Ann Latham, May Heckford and Debbie Reynolds.
The team are already making plans for next year and hope two bring home two silver ladies to add the collection.
Many thanks for your continued support, Steve and Elaine