"it's not really fair, is it? You live there!" I was speaking to a gentleman who had just said that he "went to the Isle of Man every year". I said "please next time you go, can you drag me and my brother Jonathan with you!" Simon said "okay. August." I sort of missed a beat. "wait- really?"

Everyone knows about the ISLE OF MAN TT. But just in case, here's the short version; On a lone island out in the middle of the Irish Sea, is the fiercest most dangerous, and yet incredible hair-raising motorcycle road race anywhere in the world. It takes place on a real road; a twisting two lane, 38 miles long, where you are racing against ghosts. Ghosts, because you and all your competitors start one at a time, against the clock. Just to be there AT ALL is to be on hallowed ground.

Initially I knew Simon Reilly only as a name, among many to whom I was sending Vintage Motocross shirts. But I eventually met him wandering through the pits at Farleigh Castle. After a drink & a three minute conversation about the music scene in London in the 70s, we were best friends. He is one of those riders with feet in both camps- equally at home in dirt or on tarmac. I always appreciate this; many in one tribe or the other shake their heads and back away when you ask do you also....? But that's an aside. ANYWAY He said yeah, I might even be able to bring a bike for you. I said DUDE if you bring a bike for me I will lose my mind. I don't care what it is. It could be your wife's pink scooter. If it has two wheels I'll be golden. Just to be on the island!

Well... It wasn't the a pink scooter. It was a 1949 Ariel 500. Needless to say I was astonished. Jonathan & I got to tag along with a gang of like minded Brits, and were free to ride whichever bike, most any day which was a tremendously rich experience. Simon brought the '59 Norton Dominator- a 600cc parallel twin. Both pistons go up and down at the same time- felt like a big single. Then the '49 Ariel Red Hunter, a 500 single with remarkably long legs. Woody, Simon's Manchester neighbor and riding pal was bringing his 61 Triton. Triumph engine/Norton frame, originally a 650, now punched out to 750. (the fastest bike of any of the gang's Vintage Bikes) And a BSA 250 Starfire.

Meet two of the Best Gentlemen anywhere on earth: Simon Reilly & John Wood.

Quick spin out to Dovestone Reservoir on the 1959 Norton Dominator 1949 Ariel RH500 1938 New Imperial because we could.

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