As I arrive on the Island for the 59th anniversary of my first visit in 1947, it seems as though I am suffering from Deja Vu. We are seeing three classes as I did in 1947 but then they were Junior 350cc, Lightweight 250cc and Senior 500cc. However we also had the three Clubmans Races which added to the programme.
This year we are back to three classes plus the two Sidecar races and we have lost the fringe classes (400cc/250cc, and 125cc and other capacity experiments) all which fell out of favour over the last few years.
The main differences between those early days and now are the loss of early morning practice, the unreadable numbers on the bikes (bring back the back numbers, I say !), the dependance on transponders and the significent changes on the course.
I feel that the lap records in the old days were broken by riders on machines that were developed from year to year. I am not saying that the riders of today are suspect but the course was not changed as it is today. This year sees a "Windy Bend" replacing the dog-leg corner so the lap will be quicker on this change alone. Riders used to pass blood in their urine after a scream down Sulby Straight it was SO bumpy and now in comparison it is flat, but not quite a billiard table. Quarry Bends in the 60's were under foliage and since the trees were chopped and the road re-laid, they are so much faster.