Blog 10 June 18The curtain on this year’s 2018 Isle of Man TT Festival has finally come down on this year’s event, and what an event!

I am sure that everyone will have their own personal favourite moments.

The weather throughout the TT fortnight has been fantastic and I know visitors and locals alike have taken full advantage of getting out and about across our island over the past couple of weeks.

It has definitely been a brilliant TT Festival with records smashed in almost every race, but unfortunately there was sadness and lows with the loss of two young riders, Dan Kneen and Adam Lyon.

I spent a few hours just reading some of the many messages of condolence over the week, especially relating to local rider Dan Kneen, who was also an Onchan resident.

The DfE motorsport team work very closely with all the riders, and I am extremely proud of their professionalism to remain focused and to keep the event on course throughout the fortnight.

One of my fondest memories of this year’s festival was Dan Kneen’s brother, Ryan, returning to the mountain course for a practice lap, wearing his brother’s helmet.

The lap was very emotional and Ryan Kneen received a respectful round of applause across the entire TT course.

I am proud that the 2018 PokerStars Spirit of the TT Award was awarded to Ryan Kneen and to the Kneen family on Friday, such a fitting tribute….

Watching Richard and Ryan lead the Simon Andrews tribute lap at the Grandstand last Sunday with 8,000 plus riders was also something very, very special.

In the midst of the tragedy, there was some amazing racing.

The three main Beer tents (Bushy’s, Hooded Ram and Grandstand) were also very popular and busy throughout the TT fortnight.

As for my week, starting with last Saturday I spent most of the day at the Grandstand escorting His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor.

Just to give an insight into my typical TT race day, I arrive at the Grandstand for around 9am and I then take the opportunity to speak to as many people as possible, in order to gain insight and feedback from this year’s event.

Once in the VIP tent I grab some breakfast (a sausage bap) before making my way onto the course for 11.30am, in order to formally welcome His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor.

From there we walk along the track and speak to the Scouts before standing for the British and Manx National Anthems. Depending on the time, we then walk around the Parc Ferme, Grid and the Startline for the race.

His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor loves the TT, so the role is relatively straightforward and I don’t normally try to overcrowd him but just allow the day to unfold.

The RST Superbike race last Saturday was won by Tyco BMW and Michael Dunlop, which was a very fitting win for Tyco BMW who had lost their teammate Dan Kneen earlier on in the week, with local rider Conor Cummins second and James Hillier taking third place.

Unfortunately, the original Locate.im Sidecar TT Race 1 was red flagged and the re-run was delayed until 19.00, but the race was eventually won by the Birchall Brothers who smashed the current record in the process with a new outright lap record of 118.694mph.

On Sunday we went to the Grandstand to watch the Simon Andrews tribute lap, which was amazing to watch as they left the start line.

We also then went South to Cregneash and the Sound Cafe, which was packed full of bikers and visitors.

On Monday I was back on formal duty at the Grandstand. My day started at around 7am by catching up with any emails etc.

After a quick shower and changing into a suit, which isn’t much fun especially with the high temperatures this week, I headed out to the Grandstand for 9am.

Unfortunately, there was further sad news to this year’s festival when Newcomer Adam Lyon, from Helensburgh in Scotland was killed during the Supersport Race 1.

The Supersport TT Race 1, which is sponsored by Monster Energy was won by Michael Dunlop who secured his 17th TT win.

In the first Superstock race, Peter Hickman took his maiden TT win.

I managed to get home for around 16.30 on Monday and after a quick shower, I needed to catch up with emails and correspondence, along with a couple of missed calls.

Like most people I certainly have caught the sun this week, so I spent most of Tuesday at home trying to avoid the sun as much as possible.

I also spent the day catching up with a few personal items and reading a couple of reports ahead of the Tynwald sitting later on in the month.

On Wednesday we said goodbye to Stewart and Eve who travelled back to Sheffield. Stewart caught the 7.30am sailing to Heysham on his bike and Eve flew back to Manchester.

After dropping Eve at the Airport, I managed to drop Ellen off at work at 8.45am before returning home to change into a suit and head over to the Grandstand.

I was introduced to some of the Red Arrows Pilots that were looking around the Paddock before leaving the island after a wonderful display in Douglas Bay the night before.

I then walked up to the startline to meet His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor with the Chief Minister and DfE Minister and to watch the start of the second Supersport Race, which was won by Dean Harrison who secured his second TT victory.

Peter Hickman was second and James Hillier third.

At 11.30am the Chief Minister, DfE Minister, Laurence Skelly, Tim Crookall, MLC and I lined up to welcome Prince William, Duke of Cambridge who was on island to watch some of the TT races and to attend several other functions.

Definitely one of those very special moments, especially as I was able to share a few words regarding the TT Festival and how the fortnight has unfolded so far.

The Duke had certainly been following all of the results, events and news to date.

I listened to the second race from home and spent the rest of the afternoon just catching up with some emails and messages.

The second race was the Lightweight race for Supertwins, which was won by Michael Dunlop who completed a hat-trick of victories at this year’s TT.

Dunlop produced a stunning record final lap of 122.750mph.

I went back into the office for 8.10am on Thursday to catch up with a few things. Just after 9am I drove up to Manx Radio to do an interview on the TT fortnight.

From there I headed down to the Sea Terminal to meet up with the Cruise Welcome team as I was invited on board the “Seven Seas Explorer” Cruise Ship, which visited the Isle of Man on Thursday.

It was a truly beautiful Cruise Ship with just 750 passengers onboard and I definitely enjoyed my tour.

After the tour I headed into Onchan for a couple of quick meetings with Constituents before heading home, where again I spent time taking things easy and reading through some Tynwald reports.

On bank holiday Friday I headed up to the Grandstand for 8.40 for the final day of the 2018 TT Festival.

Everything went to plan and we had cracking day of racing.

After meeting His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor at 9.32am we prepared ourselves for the first race, which was the TT Sidecar Race 2, sponsored by Locate.im.

The Birchalls were again in top form, winning the race and recording the first ever sub-19 minute lap around the Mountain Course by a sidecar.

Straight after the sidecar race, I attended the 2018 PokerStars Spirit of the TT Award.

This is a public vote and the overwhelming winner was Ryan Kneen for his tribute lap to his brother, Dan Kneen who was killed during practice.

In fact the award was collected by the Kneen family – such a fitting tribute to an amazing family.

I was also able to share a few words with Richard Kneen (Dan’s Father), in order to pass on my condolences and to thank him for his support over the past week in such difficult circumstances.

The final race of the festival was the PokerStars Senior TT, which was won by Peter Hickman in one of the best races ever seen around the TT course.

Hickman was around 4 seconds behind Dean Harrison leaving Ramsey and absolutely shattered the outright record on the final lap.

His sixth and final lap averaged a speed of 135.452 miles per hour.

Dean Harrison finished second and Manxman Conor Cummins took third place.

Managed to get home for 16.30 and replied to a few emails before taking the evening off.

The weekend should be busy catching up and preparing for the House of Keys sitting on Tuesday and Tynwald the following week.