Thousands turn out to honour Simon Andrews

Bikers gather at the TT Grandstand ahead of the Simon Andrews memorial ride

Bikers gather at the TT Grandstand ahead of the Simon Andrews memorial ride

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Around 5,000 riders are estimated to have taken part in the Simon Andrews memorial lap on Sunday.

At one point the convoy was said to be 16 miles long and other reports said riders were still passing through Ballacraine as the leaders were reaching Ramsey.

Spectators lined the route both at popular TT viewing points like Gooseneck as well as on Bray Hill and through Kirk Michael, Ballaugh and Ramsey, to mention a few.

Our group joined the queue by the bottom of First Avenue and by 3pm when the convoy set off the whole of Glencrutchery Road as far forward and as far back as the eye could see was packed with motorbikes and anyone approaching from the St Ninian’s end of the road had to ride along the pavement to reach the back of the queue, which I suspect was in Onchan.

The Grandstand was packed with spectators, as was the pit lane and the walkway in front of the scoreboard, not to mention roadsides and gardens around the course. Organisers have estimated there were about 15,000 of them.

By Ballacraine, most participants were perhaps feeling a rare sympathy for the royal family as they battled wrist fatigue from waving. Small children reached out to do 30mph high fives with the passing riders.

Somewhere on the way into Kirk Michael we heard loud rock music and a BMW K1200 came past like a mobile juke box - the stereo on full volume.

Sheltering beneath the Jubilee oak by the Joey Dunlop House and waving at the passing bikes was David Hailwood with a Honda racing bike.

Progress was initially slow even with police stopping traffic to allow us through each junction - though third gear was possible by the far end of Union Mills.

‘I feel sorry for any poor sod who’s just nipping out for a pint of milk and a paper,’ said a friend, looking at the queues waiting in side roads and the odd Toyota Carina caught up and swept along like driftwood in the convoy.

The idea came about after a campaign on the social media website Facebook and the initial target was 1,000 riders. On the same site after the event, organisers thanked everyone who had supported, helped with and participated in it, describing it as ‘an awesome effort and a great tribute to Simon’.

Simon was a supporter of the Joey Dunlop Foundation charity and stayed at Braddan Bridge House after being injured.

The charity is asking for donations for a memorial bench in its grounds. To donate log on to Money raised from memorial lap teeshirts is to be donated to a charity chosen by Simon Andrews’ family.

The TT racer, from Gloucestershire, died last month following an accident at the North West 200 road races in Northern Ireland.

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