It took them umpteen gallons of fuel, several sets of tyres and, in one case a new gearbox, but a pair of long-distance motorcyclists have finally made it to the TT, six months after setting out from Darwin in Australia.
Eddy Corlett, whose family originates in the Isle of Man but now lives in Southampton, and his friend Colm Connolly from Ireland, had both been working in Australia and decided that when they returned home it would be by motorbike.
Since then, their pair of Yamaha Teneres has covered a little over 20,000 miles on dirt track, desert and tarmac, travelling via Indonesia, Thailand, Pakistan and India to the Isle of Man in time for the TT.
‘It might seem like an anti-climax to arrive - but that will only be once the TT is over,’ said Eddy.
‘At the moment we are lapping it up: the weather’s good and the atmosphere’s amazing.
The pair set out last November and hit a setback right at the start when the container holding their bikes was broken into at the dockside, meaning they faced an anxious wait, stranded in Timor until the bikes arrived, fortunately undamaged.
In Laos, a major gearbox failure meant a three week delay while replacement parts were shipped from Belgium, courtesy of Eddy’s father, to the only motorcycle mechanic in the area capable of doing the repair. And poor weather and landslides meant some of the high mountain passes they had planned to ride in Kashmir and Northern Pakistan were inaccessible.
So far he has no immediate plans beyond enjoying the TT and seeing friends and family. Meanwhile his friend Colm Connolly will travel home to Ireland after the TT to take over the family farm.
For Eddy, the thirst for long distance travel is not entirely slaked: ‘I might yet end up riding back to Australia by a different route,’ he said.
‘If I get fed up of the English weather when the autumn comes round. And there’s a few roads we wanted to ride that we weren’t able to - either because of landslips in Pakistan or because it was just a week or two too early in the season and they were blocked by snowfall.’
Eddy is raising money for UNHCR Refugee Fund and Colm for the Irish Cancer Society. They have a Justgiving page set up at Justgiving.org