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25 Jun 2019

Photos by Rodney Hyne-Jones

Essex goes Manx

Each year Geoff Ives of Porsche Club GB organises a visit to the Isle of Man and this year is significant as it is the 20th anniversary.  Of the thirty five cars participating from various parts of the UK, five were from Region 11 Essex

17 – 21 May 2019

Each year Geoff Ives of Porsche Club GB organises a visit to the Isle of Man and this year is significant as it is the 20th anniversary.  Of the thirty five cars participating from various parts of the UK, five were from R11 Essex Division, namely those of Ray with Angela, (981 Cayman GTS), Jamie with Sally (964 Carrera 4), Terry with Brenda (986 Boxster), Alan with Jackie (Macan S Diesel) and Rodney with Gillian (996 C4S).
Ray, Terry and Alan departed on Wednesday 15th May staying overnight in Liverpool before taking the ferry to Douglas the following day. Of course, they had to try to relive their youth by visiting The Cavern Club. 
Rodney drove up on Thursday 16th May and managed to get in on the act before taking the evening ferry. 
Jamie also left on Thursday but stayed overnight in Liverpool then catching the morning ferry on Friday together with many of the other participants from all over the country.
All but Jamie and Sally gathered at breakfast in the hotel, the Mount Murray, on Friday before setting off for sightseeing around the island. In the morning we visited Laxey, home of the world-famous Wheel . This fine example of Victorian engineering and construction was used for pumping water from the mines in the area that produced good quantities of valuable metals such as lead and copper. We had to stop off for refreshments at a little café close by where it was obvious the Met Office had nothing on the local means of weather forecasting! 
The next excursion was a ride on the Snaefell Mountain Railway to the highest point on the island some 620 metres above sea level. From there we were able to get a panoramic view of the whole island plus even being able to see the ferry carrying Jamie and Sally approaching Douglas Harbour
 After some lunch at the café at the top, we descended to the valley through some beautiful countryside.
It was then time for some serious route-planning to ensure the cars were able to be exercised a bit prior to returning to the hotel. 
That evening there was a reception for all the participants when Geoff Ives welcomed everyone and Derek Flint, a retired inspector of the Isle of Man Constabulary and motoring enthusiast, briefed us all on the “Dawn Raids” over the TT Course that were taking place on Saturday and Sunday mornings. It was also an opportunity to meet members from other divisions and renew some aquaintencies from previous PCGB trips.

Following on from that the ten of us from R11 then enjoyed dinner together at the restaurant in the hotel.
Nearly all the men and several of the ladies gathered in the hotel car park at 06:00 on Saturday morning for the first of the Dawn Raids. The quietness was shattered when about 35 Porsches were started, setting off in two groups, the first mainly consisting of models such as GT3’s, 991’s and some enthusiastic 993’s, followed by the rest of us at a slightly slower pace.

Although the Isle of Man has a reputation for having roads with no speed limits, in fact there only a few stretches over the mountains where this is true, the rest being subject to strict limits. The penalties for exceeding these can be quite costly. Our group was fortunate that we were being led by Derek Flint in his 997. It had been raining overnight and, unfortunately, most of the unrestricted sections were in fog so we were not able to “go for it” however it was an interesting run but considered a bit processional by some. After a stop at the famous Creg Ny Baa corner  to recompose, listening to the pinging of cooling metal, we all returned in one piece to the hotel at around 07:15 for a well-earned “full English”. The course was being prepared for the forthcoming TT races and many people were amazed at the thought of the bikes averaging in excess of 130 mph over the 37 miles with little room for error on normal roads with nothing much in the way of crash barriers etc.

After a relaxing morning we all gathered again at Jacksons, the Island’s dealership for Porsche, Bentley, Audi, Mercedes etc., where we were invited to crawl all over the 992 however it appeared some of the ladies were more interested in the latest Bentley Continental or the BMW i8 that were on show! 

In the afternoon the five cars from R11 made their way separately by varying routes to the north of the Island to visit the Isle of Man Motor Museum, the home of the Cunningham Classic Car Collection.

Concentrating on rare and unique models from all over the world, and from all eras, this amazing private collection boasts cars as well as commercial vehicles, on-offs and prototypes, in addition to which there is a large collection of motorcycles of all ages on the mezzanine floor. Even the ladies had to admit they were impressed!!

We then made our own way back to the hotel via some scenic and, at times, quite narrow roads in beautiful sunshine. In the evening we all jumped into a minibus to go to a gin bar and restaurant in Douglas called The Seven Kingdom where we enjoyed some interesting cocktails and excellent food. After a very early start in the morning, everyone was ready for an early night, especially as three of us plus Gillian planned to be up again at the crack of dawn for another run over the TT course.
Jamie, Alan and Rodney (plus Gillian) duly gathered in the car park at 06:00 again on Sunday morning hoping for better weather over the mountain road. We set off again in the second group however it became increasingly obvious that a 997 ahead of Jamie and Rodney appeared not to have listened to the briefing and spent the whole run blocking a string of faster cars, as a result of which we barely reached more than about 80 mph. When we stopped again at Creg Ny Baa, we did have a few words with him (polite of course) and he was full of apologies, with his partner looking somewhat sheepish!! We then proceeded in convoy back to the hotel for “tea and medals”, a euphemism for another “full English”.
The rest of the day was free for more sightseeing, making the most of the good weather and delightful roads. That evening a so-called Gala Dinner was arranged for all participants at the hotel where Jacksons had arranged to have the 992 as a centrepiece in the room  and, once again, we were able to press all the buttons short of starting it up, with Warren Beckwith, the son of the racing driver, Mike Beckwith, and Porsche Brand Manager giving a full explanation.
The following morning, Monday, whilst Jamie and Sally went to visit friends in the north before taking the afternoon ferry back to Liverpool and then on to stay in the Peak District, the eight remaining decided to “let the train take the strain” and so headed off for Port Erin to take the Isle of Man Steam Railway to Douglas and back.
Opened in 1874, it is the oldest of the Island’s surviving railways and the longest narrow-gauge steam line in the British Isles, passing through some beautiful countryside for about an hour each way. It is a real throw-back to a bygone age when life was much less hectic.

After returning to Port Erin, we then drove along some more spectacular country roads up the western coast to Peel. It is the only sizeable town on the west coast and, also the only town on the Island to have a cathedral, thus, technically giving the ancient fishing port the status of a city. The impressive castle, standing on St Patrick’s Isle and connected to the mainland by a causeway, was originally built by the Vikings in the 11th century on the site of a Celtic monastery. In beautiful sunshine we took a walk around the fishing harbour and up into the town where there are several narrow streets with various little shops plus a rare sight of a Manx cat. Once again, the weather was ideal.

That evening Rodney and Gillian went to have dinner with an ex-colleague in Port St Mary whilst the remaining six went into Douglas to sample one of the fish restaurants.
On Tuesday morning Rodney and Gillian took the early morning ferry to Liverpool then returning to Essex whilst the others went right up north to a Victorian Tea Room  before Terry and Brenda together with Ray and Angela took the afternoon ferry to Liverpool and then on to stay overnight in the Peak District leaving just Alan and Jackie to remain until the Wednesday.
All in all, it was a really interesting and enjoyable trip to an unusual destination few of us had visited before. There will be greater interest in following the TT races this year. Thanks must go to Geoff Ives, Derek Flint and Julian Chappell (R30 RO) for all the work they put in to make The 20th Manx Tour a success.

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