It was this time 15 years ago that Midhurst’s Mark Parrett was doing his final preparations and heading over to the Isle of Man to compete in his first TT race.
Now, it is still the highlight of his year and he enjoys it as much as he did the first time.
In 2015 the self-employed electrician had a lot of bad luck with the bikes and their set-up and had a very disappointing couple of weeks. This year he is back on the BMW 1000R in the Superbike and Superstock races and on the Yamaha R6 for the Supersport races and is hoping for better results.
The IoM TT races are widely regarded as among the most prestigious motorcycle races in the world, and certainly the most dangerous.
It is also one of the only world-class events where the riders pay to get themselves and their teams there to entertain the thousands who flock from across the world to be part of a spectacle.
Parrett speaks with the event organisers before he enters to discuss ‘start money’ – really very small amount (it does not even cover the cost of the ferry over to the island). All the riders are offered it, excluding the top 15 or 20 who as professional motorcycle racers have factory rides and sponsorship deals.
The start money now is even less than it was three years ago and yet as Parrett says, without the riders there would be no event for the fans to go and see.
Parrett works a lot of overtime throughout the year to ensure he is able to part of the TT. He has two main sponsors this year – Chas Mortimer Ltd and Classic & Custom Ltd, based in Ramsey on the IoM. He would welcome any interest from potential sponsors.
He will be looked after the same loyal mechanics and team that joined him last year: Andrew Hinton, Andy Martin, Alex Moreley and Tom Dickie, and as always his family will support them.
Apart from the BMW and R6 at the TT, Parrett will be racing on classic machines this year. He has already competed in three classic races at the Tandagree 100 in Northern Island in April, where he had a second overall and winner in his class.
He also has taken part in two meetings of the Lansdowne Series, set up to preserve the spirit of Historic GP motorcycle racing. He took part at Cadwell Park and at Pembrey, and finished seventh and eighth out of 30.
Parrett will also take part in the Classic TT races in August. He had planned to take part last year on a 1991 TZ250 but the gearbox seized in Schotten when they were there testing the bike and he came off the machine at around 110mph.
He was not badly hurt but if they had taken it to the Manx races without testing and the accident had happened on the island roads instead of a track in Germany then things could have been much worse. He will be out on the bike, fixed and tested, at the Manx race this year.
Parrett pulls off the start line on Saturday, June 4, to take part in first of the two superbike races.
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