TUESDAY’S Ramsey Sprint had a romantic twist, when all-time course record holder Phil Wood got on one knee on the start line to ask his girlfriend to marry him.
The North Wales couple have been together eight years, but met through racing in the Isle of Man, and Phil, 46, decided to pop the question at the place they both feel at most at home.
‘I hatched the plan in February. The island is a very special place for myself and Sarah, it holds a special place in our hearts, it’s where we met,’ explained Phil, who away from racing works in a power station.
‘We’re both involved in straightline and drag racing, and that’s how we got close. The Ramsey Sprint is the most nostalgic to us, it’s full of history and it’s somewhere we love to be. If we weren’t racing twice a month in the UK we would really look in to living here.’
Sarah Quigley, aged 44, is a hospital microbiologist, and Phil believes her reaction showed the proposal was a total surprise to her.
‘It was a total shock to to Sarah, she had no idea whatsoever. Ramsey Sprint organiser Trevor Duckworth and his wife Barbara were the only two people on the island that knew what was going on!’ he said.
‘I led her to believe Trevor was riding my bike on a sprint, that was the only way we could get her to the start line without her getting suspicious.’
Phil had been racing all morning, the plan being to pull off the proposal in the afternoon.
‘On the track, you’ve got to concentrate on what you are doing, but when it was getting towards 12pm I was thinking “crikey this is real isn’t it, I’m frightened to death!”, so I was a bit nervous leading up to it.’
On the start line, Trevor addressed the big crowd over the PA system, with history of the races, before handing the microphone over to introduce the course record holder Phil.
Phil in turn introduced the administration team, including Sarah, announcing he would like to ask her a ‘very serious question’.
‘It wasn’t until I dropped to one knee her jaw dropped and she realised what was going on!’
Sarah accepted the proposal to the applause of the crowd, and the happy couple spent the rest of the afternoon among friends and hundreds of well-wishing bike fans.
With a number of TT-themed weddings happening this year, is it something Phil and Sarah will consider?
‘We have so many family and friends to consider, we’ll probably get married in England,’ said Phil. ‘But we might stage something over here for a bit of a giggle after the official wedding!’