The son of an Isle of Man TT racer is bidding to make his own mark on the legendary Mountain course – while pushing a specially-adapted wheelchair!
Graham Inchley, from Andover, plans to cover the equivalent distance of the TT course – 37.73 miles - within eight hours on 2nd July, raising money for the Joey Dunlop Foundation as he goes.
The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is supporting the fundraising challenge by covering the cost of travel to and from the Island for Graham, his support team and his equipment.
The route will see Graham depart the TT Grandstand at 10am and head south along the TT course before turning off at Quarterbridge to head for Castletown, where he’ll complete a lap of the Billown circuit– where both his dad and Joey were race winners. The challenge will then head north again to cover several more sections of the TT Mountain course, finishing at the Grandstand by 6pm.
Volunteers will take to the special endurance wheelchair during the journey, with Graham pushing all the way. He already has experience of the challenges which lie ahead – in 2014 he set a World Record for pushing an occupied wheelchair, completing a distance of 100.41 miles in 24 hours.
The TT course idea came after Graham visited the Isle of Man last year. He had been invited to take part in the Lap of Honour held during the Festival of Motorcycling, riding the Villiers Starmaker Special his dad Peter had raced to a podium finish in 1966.
In a remarkable achievement, Peter finished behind the works Hondas of Mike Hailwood and Stuart Graham in the 250cc TT at an average race speed of more than 91mph. Graham’s day on the same English-built machine 50 years later wasn’t quite as successful.
He explained: ‘Unfortunately, the ignition packed up between Quarterbridge and Braddan Bridge. This was terribly disappointing at the time but was made more comfortable by the fantastic people from the Joey Dunlop Foundation whose building is just behind the marshal post. They offered me a beer and good company during the last race of the day which I watched from the balcony. It was soon obvious to me that breaking down here had happened for a reason.’
The Joey Dunlop Foundation, formed in 2001 to honour 26-times TT winner Joey, offers people of all ages with special requirements who are visiting the Island accessible holiday accommodation at Braddan Bridge House. Demand for the specialised accommodation has led to additional apartments being built, with completion expected in time for this year’s TT.
Graham continued: ‘I believe the facility the Foundation provides for disabled riders and non-riders alike is excellent and is a cause which deserves support. The plan is to be sponsored to push the occupied endurance wheelchair around the Isle of Man, covering the equivalent distance of a full lap of the TT course, on 2nd July –the anniversary of Joey’s tragic death – raising awareness of the Foundation and money to support its important work.
‘The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’s support, covering the cost of the team’s travel, has helped make this challenge possible and I’d like to thank the company for its help.’
Fundraising is already under way and you can support Graham by donating at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Graham-Inchley-Joey-Dunlop-Foundation-Wheelchair-Push
Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘Graham is taking on a considerable challenge to raise money for the Joey Dunlop Foundation, which is a cause we have supported for many years.
‘We’re pleased to be able to help by covering travel costs and wish Graham all the best with his fundraising and his ambitious TT course challenge.’
Photograph: Graham Inchley and daughter Isla with the endurance wheelchair he will use in his TT course bid