Mark Parrett from Midhurst set off down Bray Hill from the TT start line in the first of the Superbike races for the 15th year.
Competitors reach speeds of up to 170mph within seconds and begin the first of six laps flying along the roads of Douglas before heading out of the town on the 37.7-mile mountain course.
The TT is the highlight of Parrett’s year and the electrician works 14-hour days, seven days a week in the run-up to the event to raise much needed funds to put towards the huge costs required to get him, his bikes and his support team to the island and get through a very expensive fortnight of racing – and there is nothing he would rather spend his money on.
His team take unpaid time off work to be with him to ensure his bikes are safe and ready for every race and every practice, sometimes working late through the night to fix a mechanical issue. His six-person crew are there again this year to support him.
For his first race this year he travelled to Pembrey over the Easter weekend for the Landsdowne Classic series. He was sixth and all was well until the third lap, when the bike broke down. He had spent hours preparing the 1962 Manx Norton and made the journey to Wales for the long weekend only to be out within the first five minutes.
The second Landsdowne race was more rewarding and he completed two races at the Donnington Park before having to retire in the third race with a broken chain.
Parrett took part in a four-hour Race of Legends, the UK’s first classic endurance race.
For the TT he is back on his Yamaha R6 for the Supersport and Superstock races and again on a BMW S1000RR in the Superbike races – although this year he has a newer model. It needed a lot of changes to be right for road racing. It involves hours of work and preparation, some of it needing to be finished off when he arrived on the island.
In the months to come, he will take part in two or three more meetings in the Landsdowne series at circuits around the UK and in August will go back to the Isle of Man for the Classic TT. He’ll be in Northern Ireland for the Ulster Grand Prix and will be part of a two-man team in the Barry Shene Memorial Race at Goodwood Revival in September.
He really enjoys the Revival and last year had a great finish on what was one of a small handful of original bikes among a starting line-up of mainly replica machines.
Watch out for him this year when he will be speeding round the track in Sussex on his classic Landsdowne machine.
Before the TT Parrett entered the pre-TT classic road races, six laps of the 4.2-mile Billown Circuit in the south of the island. He had a fantastic result and finished fifth overall in the Greystone LLC 500cc senior race – and was awarded the Peter Jarmann trophy for being the first to finish on a single-cylinder machine.
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