Once again Dilligaf Racer Steve Moody and the team returned to the Isle of Man to compete in the IMGold Manx Grand Prix 2015 on the world famous TT Mountain Course.
Steve was entered in the Junior MGP (4 lap – 2/9/15) and the blue ribbon Full Factory Winnerswear Senior MPG (4 laps – 4/9/15)
Steve was running number #41 in both races
For the full practice and race schedule, and timings visit http://www.manxgrandprix
On-board laps can be viewed on YouTube on channel Dilligaf Racing
DAY 1 Saturday 22nd August
The team landed early morning, some by sea and some by air and set up Mission Control in Port Erin. While Elaine and the young Mr Moody, Charlie, went to sign up to join the Orange Army and get their marshal’s badges, Steve, Big Hammer AKA Steve Gilkes and the SkyWalker, Damion, plus new team mate Guy Burton set up home in the paddock. The day had started bright and sunny but by the time both riders and technical briefings were over, rain was falling heavily resulting in first practice being cancelled. Team Dilligaf headed back to Mission Control for a tasty homemade Italian supper, unpack and watch TT laps.
Day 2 Sunday 23rd August 2015
The team woke to yet more rain over Dilligaf mission control but as the team set off to Douglas for the day, a strange orange orb appeared in the sky.
On arrival to Douglas, Marshal Elaine and Deputy Charlie trotted off to do a marshalling course with the St. John’s Ambulance, being taught how to attend to a fallen rider. They also had the added treat of going up into the control tower where they met the clerk of the course and told how the control centre operates on race day. They also had a trip to Nobles Hospital where they got to practice loading and unloading the Airmed metal pigeon.
While Elaine and Charlie were playing doctors and nurses, the rest of team went to play bikes. The guys worked hard improving the bike’s aerodynamics by fitting wind deflectors on the front fairing. Afterwards they took the bikes out for a few gentle laps round the track.
After a few last minute tweaks, the bike was all set up and clean ready for first practice tomorrow, Manx weather permitting. The team did once last lap of the course, in the van, with Steve narrating his journey round the 37.73 mile course through towns, villages and over a mountain on a race bike. This lap is available to watch on YouTube on Channel Dilligaf Racing
Finally the team settled down for eve at mission control with a homemade roast chicken dinner and apple pie lovingly prepared by Elaine after a ‘telling off’ for eating eclairs before dinner!!!
Day 3 Monday 24th August 2015
The team woke on day 3 to discover a strange glowing orb in the sky; to their surprise it was the sun!
After spending the morning exploring the local area including visiting the seals at the Calf of Man and having a rather nice slice of carrot cake, the team set off in convoy to the paddock for first practice, with Marshal Elaine on the Kermit the green KLX, following on behind.
Scrutineering started at 3pm but it looked like many had been camping out all night to get to the front of the queue, as bikes and riders lined up all the way back to the bottom paddock. Walker, Gilkes and Burton were busy with last minute cable ties, while Mr Moody, adorned himself with his sexy red and black Scott Leathers ready for first practice.
As the scrutineering bay doors opened, grey clouds came creeping over the paddock; all riders could only pray that the wind would push the rain clouds back out to sea. 100’s Bikes lined up in parc ferme waiting eagerly and impatiently for roads closed like race horses in their holding pens at the start of a race.
Roads closed at 6:00 with the newcomers let loose on their first experience of the TT mountain course at 6:20pm on their speed controlled sighting lap. At 6:48pm the junior, senior, twins and Classic F1/2 competitors set off down Bray Hill, throttles pinned and hearts racing; our marvellous Mr Moody on his trusty Triumph steed with her new heart venturing out on their maiden lap on the 2015 Manx Grand Prix.
Steve and the triumph set off down Bray Hill full throttle over taking the rider that set off 10 seconds in front of him within moments of setting off. Steve loved the power of the new engine built by Guy Burton and T3 Racing, popping a wheelie at Braddan Bridge and passing Elaine and Charlie marshalling at Laurel Bank at speeds of over 100mph.
Sadly a red flag incident at Ramsey meant riders only had one practice lap; we at Dilligaf wish the fallen rider a speedy recovery.
Once roads were opened, the team hot foot it back to mission control for some homemade curry and watch Steve’s first on board lap.
Day 4 Tuesday 25th Aug
Once again the team woke to sunshine and went off exploring taking the coast road from Port Erin to the beautiful seaside town of Peel for an ice cream from the world famous Davison’s Ice Cream Parlour.
As the team headed off to the paddock, the sun was overtaken in a struggle for superiority by the grey rain clouds, and light spots of rain began to fall.
By the time they arrived at the TT Grandstand, occasional heavy spots of rain had become frequent large dollops of rain. By 4pm rain was falling heavily and the island was covered in grey wet shroud. The team huddled in the trailer while the bike was sheltered by an umbrella. Second practice was looking doubtful, very!
While waiting for an announcement as to whether or not the weather would stop race proceedings, Guy went in search for race oil and Moody prepared his HJC visors with tear offs.
At 16:04pm precisely, beep beep beep, an announcement came over the tannoy that second practice was cancelled due to poor weather conditions. By the time the team made it back to mission control, the rain was relentless and an evening in with TT DVDs and chicken n chips was called for .
Day 5 Wednesday 26th August 2015
Scrutineering started at 3:30pm and once again bikes lined up in their racing pens raring to go out. on this evening, Moody would be out in the first group of riders to get away and could only beseech Helios, the Sun God, for racing sunshine.
Day 7 28th August 2015
Sunshine graced the beautiful Isle of Man as the team woke on day 7. Full of hopes of a sunny dry day and at least one full practice lap, the team trotted off to have coffee and cake with the seals at the Calf of Man.
After a visit from Dilligafers Andy, John and Frank, the team once again headed off to the paddock. Steve went for a massage while Guy polished the bike in anticipation for practice.
Steve was out in the last practice session and would fight with daylight for two clear laps. At 19:36, Steve got a tap on the shoulder and headed off towards Bray Hill with the throttle pinned. Steve did his first overtake of many, at Union Mills. Steve had a good first lap despite lots of traffic, but was running too high gearing for the drive up over the mountain, loosing valuable time over one of the vital sections of the course. Strong head winds added to the difficulty over the mountain. Steve looked smooth as he past Marshal Elaine and Deputy Charlie on duty at Hillberry.
Steve passed the start finish line 11th fastest in the junior class with a speed of 146.4 mph, and an average lap time of 107.895mph, qualifying 35th in the junior and 37th in senior in this his first full lap of practice. The new engine was running as sweet as, thanks Guy!
By the time Steve reached the mountain for the second time, he was suffering with arm pump, and the light and temperature was fading fast; all Steve could do was ease off the throttle and bring the bike home safe.
With two strong qualifying laps finally under his leathers, Steve and the team, tired and hungry, returned to mission control for some rather scrummy sweet chilli chicken and discuss gearing.
Day 8 Saturday 29th August 2015
Once again sunshine ‘rained’ over the island as the team woke but again it would be touch and go if it would hold until practice late this afternoon.
Roads closed at 11am; Marshal Elaine headed off to Hillberry to join the orange army while the team headed off to the paddock to get the bike ready for practice later in the day.
First out today on this the start of the Classic TT, was the classic 350’s and F1/ F2 classics for their final practice session. To follow was the VMCC parade lap where members had their chance to display their classic bikes. Next was the first race of the festival, the 500cc classic TT. The race was dominated by Dean Harrison right from the start who held the lead from lap 1 to the chequered flag. Ian Lougher came in second after occurring a 30 second penalty for speeding in the pit lane for second year running. Lee Johnstone took the final podium place after the mighty Micky D retired at the Bungalow on his final lap.
While all the classic TT race excitement was going on, team Dilligaf changed the gearing on the bike following results from the previous night’s practice, and softened the suspension in preparation for practice. Steve also put a new set of boots on the triumph, trying out the ContiRaceAttack endurance compound tyres. Steve hoped all the changes would produce a faster lap time.
Practice followed the race; all riders were eager to get out as most had not completed sufficient qualifying laps as yet. Steve was in the second batch of riders who set off on the Glencrutchery Road, wheeling off the start line. Steve had a smooth steady first lap, averaging speeds of 109:935 mph and was flying but a string of yellow flags on lap 2 slowed proceedings.
On returning to the paddock, the team noted that for the second year running, Steve had picked up a stone chip in the radiator causing a coolant leak and a plea across the island for a spare rad ready for Monday night’s practice and final qualifying laps.
Day 9 Sunday 30th August 2015
On the 9th day, the team doth fix the radiator and eat roast; many thanks Erica! Followed by a moonlight stroll along the beach at Port Erin.
Day 10 Monday 31st August 2015
The team woke to prefect race weather on the Isle with high hopes that their radiator fix would hold.
Today was to see the classic boys out again, the 350cc classic and prestigious Formula 1 and 2 classic TT. Due to radio technical delays, racing was once again delayed, for hours!
While waiting for racing to start, Mr Gilkes and the young SkyWalker set to work putting the bike back together to see if the repair would hold. Finally after body filler, rad weld and araldite, the hole sealed!
Due to transmitter, radio and Tarmac issues, racing didn’t get underway until 2pm with the 350cc Classic TT being shortened to a 3 lap race.
Michael Rutter, took the lead early on but Dan Cooper was close behind with less than 2 seconds between the pair. By the end of lap 2, the younger Cooperman had taken the lead but mechanical failure on third and final caused early retirement giving the chequered flag to the Rutter. Second across the start/ finish line, was Philip McGurk and third was Doug Snow.
The Formula 1/2 race was dominated by Michael Dunlop who took the lead from the start and crossed the finish line with a healthy minute lead. Anstey finished second and Farquhar third.
Due to so many delays throughout the day, Steve’s practice session was shortened once again, to just one lap. Once again riders in the junior and senior race lined up on the Glencrutchery Road along with Newcomer A competitors. Once again Steve kept it pinned as headed off down Bray Hill. The full lap can be seen on the YouTube on the Dilligaf Racing Channel. Steve overtook several newcomers and then tucked in behind fellow competitors Tommasso Totti and Justin Collins as the clutch on the triumph got stuck; Steve could only gear up and struggled to go down the gears.
Despite clutch problems and the sun very low in the sky, Steve managed a solid 108:745 average mph lap. The team, tired after another long day, returned to Mission Control; they would need to get an early start tomorrow to replace the radiator kindly flown in by son Harry during the day and now also replace the clutch all by 10am and scrutineering.
Day 11 Tuesday 1st September 2015
Despite sunshine in Port Erin, rain over Douglas and fog over the mountain once again caused a delay to racing.
The team set off to the paddock early to fit a new radiator, kindly flown in by son Harry, and change the clutch, robbed off the spare engine; for once delays would work in their favour as it would give them time to bike ready for practice. Mr Gilkes and the young SkyWalker worked tirelessly all day to get the bike fixed and got the bike through scrutineering with seconds to spare. Amazing job guys!
Tuesday was the turn of the Newcomers, split into 3 classes A, B and C. Racing started at 2pm as planed but was shortened to 3 laps. Newcomers A was won by local man Peter Wilkinson with an average speed of 111.552 mph who also had the fastest lap of the race, 113:578 mph. B class was won by another local man Gary Vines and C class by Elwyn Fryer. Congratulations to all.
At last on their final practice session, the guys in the senior, junior and lightweight classes finally got a clear run; like a pack of wild dogs on the hunt, they were hungry to get out. Our marvellous Mr Moody was flying reaching Glen Helen in 5:04:138s and Ballaugh 8:48:672s. He was on for a personal best lap, when BANG went the piston right through the top of the engine at Brandywell, the same place the engine gave out last year in the senior race.
A very disappointed oily Steve returned to the pits with a broken bike and shattered dreams. With light fading, no proper paddock space, only a few tools, there was no time to replace the engine ready for the race at 10:30am the next day.
The team would like to send a massive thanks to the marshals at Brandywell who not only radio’d down to Barregarrow to let Elaine, who was marshalling there, know Steve was safe, but also brought bike and rider back safely to the paddock.
Steve returned to mission control on the back on Kermit the Klx 125 with Elaine at the helm to have dinner with mum Moody, who greeted him with ‘what you doing breaking your bike again boy!’, like Mums do! Steve drowned his sorrows in yummy homemade chocolate pudding with chocolate sauce and chocolate ice cream, thank you Erica.
At day break, the team would return to the paddock and set to work on changing the engine. The team would also like to thank Tom and Steve Weedon for their help all fortnight with so many difficulties the team have faced with weather and mechanical issues, many thanks to you both and wish Tom every success.
Day 12 Wednesday 2nd September
Wednesday should have seen our marvellous Mr Moody set off down Bray Hill in the Junior Manx Grand Prix but sadly catastrophic engine failure in last night’s practice meant there would be no racing for Steve today.
The team set off despondently to the paddock, not to race, but to hopefully to change the engine. Rain on the north of the island delayed the start of the race and for some time it was touch and go as to whether or not any racing would in fact take place at all. The team worked tirelessly all day with the help of Pete Dalgleish, here on his holidays supporting Steve, taking one engine out and replacing it with a spare. Massive thanks to you who helped.
Finally after more lengthy delays the Junior MPG set off albeit shortened to just 3 laps. The lead swapped hands throughout the race between local lad and last year’s newcomer winner Billy Redmaine, the number 1 rider this year Rob Hodson and Malichi Mitchell Thomas. At the finish line, Redmaine managed to take the win from Malichi by less than 2 seconds who had the fastest lap time of over 120mph average speed. Hodson took 3rd.
Steve watched heart broken as riders passed the start finish line, desperately disappointed he too wasn’t racing but as the race ended, the fantastic pit crew sent a message, ‘the bike is alive’. A now very excited Steve ran back to the paddock to once again adorn his leathers and get the bike out on the final practice session of this festival.
Steve had a belly full of pent up frustration inside him and shot off the Glencrutchery Road like a missile! Despite only running on a stock engine, Steve was 4th quickest at Glen Helen, Ballaugh and Ramsey with times only slightly down on what Steve had achieved on the full race tuned engine. But sadly Steve once again had to retire due to mechanical issues, this time sprouting an oil leak at Ramsey. A £2 part had failed in the stock engine causing a minor leak, but here at the Isle of Man, bike and rider are tested to their maximum performance; imperfections are not tolerated by this the TT mountain course.
Steve was disappointed he did complete a full lap but glad the imperfection had been discovered in practice and not on race day. By 7pm the team, Mr Gilkes, the young SkyWalker and engineer extraordinaire Guy Burton, had fixed the problem, robbing one of the last remaining working parts off the race engine , the oil sensor switch, and had the troublesome triumph running smoothly once again, ready for Steve to race. Dilligaf Racing was going to be on the start line for blue ribbon Senior Manx Grand Prix on Friday!
Day 13 Thursday 3rd September
No racing no practice, a day of rest for all but team Dilligaf still had work to do the triumph to ensure she was race ready for Friday’s senior MGP.
As always Mr Gilkes was up early, and began to check the bike over following the minor repairs last night. Once checked, the bike was dressed with her black and red fairings. With no practice session, the guys would need to test her on the road; the mountain section was the perfect place to test the bike was no longer leaking oil. A few runs over the beautiful and fast mountain road, revealed no oil seepage so the boys trotted off to Peel for ice cream to celebrate while Marshal Elaine and Mum Moody, who had come from Across to over see proceedings, had a leisurely day on the train network of the island.
The team had received numerous good wishes and help, time and financial, over the two weeks to help with all the difficulties they had faced. Thank you everyone for your support and kindness. Friday, Mr Moody was to show the world how fast a Triumph 675R with a stock engine could go over the TT mountain course, flat out! Keep it pinned and keep it safe Moody.
Day 14 Friday 4th September 2015
The blue ribbon Senior Manx Grand Prix.
The team and supporters woke hopeful despite all the trials and tribulations they had faced this past fortnight; what could go wrong had gone wrong! Poor weather, lack of practice, radiator leak (twice), engine blew up (catastrophic failure), oil leak (big and small), seized clutch…..the list goes on!!
As the race engine had met with a timely demise, Steve would be running with his old faithful stock engine, pulling only a mere 115 bhp, a drop of over 20 bhp on its race spec counterpart. Steve would have to make the bike work harder than it had ever done before, and would have to keep the throttle pinned in places he had never done before to ensure a replica against such a strong field of riders, all eager to break their own personal best lap records.
For the first time for the whole fortnight, race proceedings got underway on time. At 10:15am, riders in the Supertwin and lightweight race lined up on Glen Crutcherly ready for the off. Rob Hodson, proudly wearing the number 1 plate, was first to get a tap on the shoulder and head off down Bray Hill, throttle pinned. Rob took an early lead which he held to right to the end despite problems with his clutch, taking the chequered flag with a clear victory of almost a minute. His closet rival, Andy Farrell had to retire after his lap 2 pitstop due to his fuel filler cap flying off! Andy’s disasters would not end there as he would crash out in the senior race at the Creg later in the day. Local man Andrew Dudgeon came in second and Nick Jefferies showed the youngsters how it’s done, taking the third podium position, 40 years after his first visit to the island and the TT course. Newcomer Mark Purslow took the chequered flag for the lightweights.
Riders in the senior MGP were called to their grid positions at 1pm; the Glen Crutcherly Road was a hive of activity as race teams lined up on the start line. Riders looked pensive as they waited for the race to start. At 1:15pm the first riders set off towards Bray Hill. Our marvellous Mr Moody set off mid pack, number 41, black numbers on a yellow number board. The team and supporters including son Harry and Mum Moody, watched with breath held as their saw Steve vanish in the distance; it would be another 20 minutes before they would see their rider again.
The race in Steve’s words
Due to all the problems we faced during the fortnight, I was all het up and even more nervous than normal before the start of the race. I had needed to make changes to the bikes set up, gearing and front suspension settings, but because of the lack of practice and engine problems, there had been no time to check out these last minute modifications and so had to take a gamble that they would in fact work.
It seemed like an eternity just getting to the start line. As I waited for my tap on the shoulder, the world seemed to go into mute, not a sound, it was as though everything including time had stood still; I couldn’t even hear the roar of my own bike beneath me but everything sprung back into motion as I got ‘the tap’ and headed off towards St. Ninian’s crossroads, throttle pinned.
At the bottom of Bray Hill, the bike bottomed out badly making me think I may have made the wrong changes to the bike but as I headed into Quarter Bridge on the first lap, I put my confidence in the bike’s new boots, it’s ContiRaceAttack Comp tyres, put my head behind my triple bubble Skidmarx screen and went for it.
On the first lap I just pushed as hard as I could and was really pleased when I started to pass riders that had started ahead of me. The gearing choice seemed to be a good one, and the harder I pushed, the better the suspension was. I caught French rider Morgan Govignon and battled with him on the roads for the remainder of the lap, swapping places with each other several times.
Probably due to being over tense, I struggled with severe arm pump and was trying too hard. While we were involved in our battle, we ended up holding each other up, but on lap 2 Morgan went in front and tapped the back of his bike, so I tucked in behind and began to relax.
I was relieved to pull in for the short 44 second pit stop at the end of lap 2. No different to the previous days, the boys did not let me down and performed a faultless pit stop; thanks Steve, Damion and Guy. The only problem was, the bike did not fire back up immediately, which also occurred the previous year. I set off down pit lane with the angelic tones of Steve Gilkes, AKA Big Hammer, ringing in my ear saying ‘don’t speed down pit lane’.
I was once again passed by Morgan and knowing I was 10 seconds up on him, I was happy with the pace and sat behind him again but unfortunately made a few mistakes and lost the tow on lap 3. Going into lap 4, determined to make up the lost time, I reverted back to over trying setting off the arm pump again.
At Greeba Bridge, I went in faster than I had before and tried to get on the power earlier than I had done before, and as I crossed the white lines, I had a back end moment resulting in backside off the seat, feet off the pegs and adopting the flying W position. This ‘moment’ made me recall the fortnight we had just had and sense prevailed, I needed to bring the bike home. With that, I again relaxed, became smoother and quicker to pass the chequered flag in 1 hour 21 minutes 31.650 seconds with an average lap speed of 111.069 mph while waving a Mary Rose at the bus stop.
It was a delight to see the beaming smiles of my son Harry and my Mum as I returned to the paddock along with the team, Steve Gilkes, Damion Walker and Guy Burton, and supporters who made the pilgrimage to Isle of Man. I would like thank my eldest son Charlie for being so supportive in practice week who not only marshalled but also did some great video editing for Youtube. There are so many people to thank that I cannot name everyone and worried I may forget someone, but thank you all, friends, family, supporters, sponsors, marshals and my Elaine for all your support and faith in me, thank you.
Steve completed his first 37.73 mile lap in a time of 20 minutes and 6 seconds with an average speed of 112.618 mph, the quickest he had ever completed the TT mountain course. Lap 2 was even faster at 112.756 mph. Moody and his troublesome triumph were flying. At the end of lap 2 Steve made his pit stop to refuel, and was off again to complete another 112 mph + flying lap, passing the grandstand at 148 mph. Steve completed the 4 lap 150 mile Senior MGP through villages, towns and over a mountain, with an average lap time of 111.069 mph (including pit stop), crossing the line in 25th, while popping a slight wheelie and waving at Mary Rose at the bus stop, to gain himself a replica trophy for his and the team’s efforts! Not bad for an ageing privateer on a 3 year old stock bike.
Malachi Mitchell Thomas won the race with a new lap record of 122.221 mph lap. Rob Hodson took second despite loosing his screen on lap 1, and Andrew Dudgeon gained his second trophy of the day finishing third.
Steve and the team, Steve ‘Big Hammer’ Gilkes, Damion ‘Sky’Walker, Guy Burton of Burton Engineering and she who must be obeyed Elaine, Mum Moody and son Harry with supporters Mimi Carter Jonas, Pete Dalgliesh who helped replace the engine and Richard Hartland all attended the awards ceremony wearing their Dilligaf team shirts with pride to collect the well earned silver replica trophy.
Steve and the team would like to thank all those who supported them, at home and on the island. They would also like to thank the hundreds of members of the Orange Army who waited patiently at their posts despite numerous delays. Team Dilligaf would also like to send their condolences to the families of Dennis Hoffer and David Taylor who lost their lives living their dream. Many thanks also to all the medics and officials who also made the racing possible. See you all next year!