Images and text drawn from MCM of August 1971
When you cross the Fairy Bridge on the way in to Douglas from Castletown, Isle of Man, it is a brave fellah who scorns the fairies! The locals swear that if you have the "little people" on your side then good luck will go with you as you cross the bridge. After our second place in the Thruxton 500-Miler. we were extra polite to the "little people" as we made our way to Douglas for the Production TT of 1971.
Practice went like a dream with Martyn Ashwood putting in an 85 mph lap to qualify, and the hope that after he'd learned the 370-mile circuit a little better, he'd add another two or three mph to his lap speed. Britax accessories, real name Britax (London) Ltd, were impressed with our performance at Thruxton and are now backing the MM Racing Show Team for the rest of the 1971 season. They, of course. manufacture handle- bars, rearset footrests, safety belts and many other useful two-and three-wheeler accessories at their Proctor Works in Byfleet. Surrey. Anyway, we are digressing. After a quick check-over to make sure ignition timing, oil levels, tyre pressures, chain tension, etc., were all OK, the Suzuki had the old spark plugs changed for new NGK8s and we were ready to race!
The fuel tank was topped up with Shell 98 octane and the oil tank filled with Shell 2T twostroke oil at weigh-in or scrutineering and then the bike was passed by the scrutineers without trouble and wheeled into the parque ferme. On Wednesday afternoon, June 9, the bikes were rolled out into the warming-up area and the Suzuki started second kick. Within half an hour, riders and machines were parading up on to the Glencrutchery Road and our hearts began to beat faster.
Four laps of the Mountain Circuit and it would a11 be over and as Martyn dashed across the road at the Le Mans start, we held our breath for a first kick start. His foot slipped on the start lever first time, but with another prod he was away in about eighth place down Bray Hill. There was no refuelling as the six-gallon tank was enough for the 31 mpg average of the T500 to last the four-lap race. All we could do was bite our nails and wait. People around the circuit remarked about the Motorcycle Mechanics Racing and Sporting Show advertisements on Manx Radio, especially the SUZAKI which Martyn was supposed to be riding according to the American commentator. Anyway, thanks to the fairies and Emie "Rebel" Hall the bike went like a train and Martyn's times improved every lap until his fastest lap of 87 + mph took him on to the leader board in sixth place. This earned Martyn his first ever TT Silver Replica and for us on Motorcycle Mechanics a great deal of satisfaction. The Barcelona 24-Hour Race at Montjuich Park is our next production machine event and Mick Chatterton will be co-riding with Martyn once more, with Emie Hall and Chas Deane in the pits. Let's hope we do as well there as we did at Thruxton and meanwhile, to the "little people" on the Isle of Man we say: "Thank you, fairies! We hope to be in the Isle of Man again next year!"
Copyright reserved: M Barnard 1997 and MCM 1971 in this case!
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