There was a distinctly international flavour to the latest crop of Manx Grand Prix newcomers who visited the island at the weekend.
The first batch of potential new competitors included two Dutch riders and one from France, as well as others from the UK, Ireland and the Isle of Man itself.
The Hailwood Foundation charity offers a subsidy for riders travelling across to the island, where they get some valuable sighting laps of the Mountain Course in a minibus with experienced riders on hand to offer commentaries, explanations and answer questions.
Back at Noble’s Park, Manx Motor Cycle Club chairman Harvey Garton, MGP clerk of the course Phil Taubman, Dr David Stevens along with representatives from the marshals and scrutineers took part in a question and answer session.
Adrian Earnshaw of the Hailwood Foundation told the visitors they had been supporting the club by organising the visits for some years.
‘This year there are more than ever of you and newcomers are the life blood of the event,’ he said.
‘This is what we want: people to come over, see the course and take note of the safety aspects. It’s a fabulous 37 and three quarter miles to enjoy,so we hope to see you in August and in years to come.’
Kevin Van Der Gulik, 26, and Olaf Romijin, 41, both made the trip across from Holland.
Kevin has been racing for eight years and competed at both Oliver’s Mount in Scarborough and Billown for the S100 last year. He plans to ride Suzukis – a GSXR600 and an SV650.
‘People have been really helpful and we’ve had some excellent information,’ he said.
Olaf has also been to the Isle of Man before to take part in the S100 on a borrowed CBR600.
‘After that I said there was no way I was ever going to compete on the Mountain Course,’ he revealed.
‘My wife says that if I want to do it then I should go ahead – but she’s not going to push the wheelchair.’
Olaf is currently building a Supertwin machine with parts sourced from internet auction website eBay. Both agreed Barregarroo and Bray Hill looked the most frightening parts of the course.
Newcomer Lancelot Unissart, 22, hails from near Paris but his trip to the island was easier because he is an engineering student currently on placement in Coventry.
He, too, has visited the island before when his step-father raced in the MGP classic races in 2011.
‘I’m looking forward to racing on the Mountain Road because it’s fast and flowing with good panoramic views of the road,’ he said.
A trio of newcomers resident in the Isle of Man also attended – they were Stephen Nathan from Ballaugh, Jack Hunter from Glen Vine and Ali Foster from Foxdale.