TT wheel­chair chal­lenge

Classic Racer - - PADDOCK GOSSIP -

The son of an Isle of Man TT racer is bidding to make his mark on the leg­endary Moun­tain course, by push­ing a spe­ciallyadapted wheel­chair. Graham Inch­ley, from An­dover, in­tends to cover the equiv­a­lent dis­tance of the TT course, 37.73 miles, within eight hours on July 22, to raise money for the Joey Dun­lop Foun­da­tion. The Isle of Man Steam Packet Com­pany is sup­port­ing his chal­lenge by cov­er­ing the cost of travel for Graham, his sup­port team and his equip­ment. Graham’s planned route will see him depart from the TT Grand­stand and head down Bray Hill, be­fore turn­ing off at Quar­ter­bridge to­wards Castle­town. There he will com­plete a lap of the Bil­lown cir­cuit, where both his fa­ther and Joey were race win­ners. The chal­lenge will then head north to cover sev­eral sec­tions of the TT Moun­tain course, fin­ish­ing at the Grand­stand at around 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 ahead as in 2014 he set a world record for push­ing an oc­cu­pied wheel­chair, com­plet­ing a dis­tance of 100.41 miles in 24 hours. The idea for the Isle of Man marathon came af­ter Graham vis­ited the Is­land last year to take part in the Classic Racer Lap of Hon­our dur­ing the Fes­ti­val of Mo­tor­cy­cling. Graham rode the Vil­liers Star­maker Spe­cial that his fa­ther Peter had raced to a podium fin­ish in the 1966 TT. Af­ter a re­mark­able ride, Peter fin­ished be­hind the works Hon­das of Mike Hail­wood and Stu­art Graham in the 250cc race at an av­er­age race speed of more than 91mph. Sadly Graham’s ride on the same bike, 50 years later, wasn’t quite as suc­cess­ful. “Un­for­tu­nately, the ig­ni­tion packed up be­tween Quar­ter­bridge and Brad­dan Bridge”, Graham ex­plained. “This was ter­ri­bly dis­ap­point­ing, but I 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 ac­ces­si­ble hol­i­day ac­com­mo­da­tion on the Is­land, at Brad­dan Bridge House, to peo­ple of all ages with spe­cial re­quire­ments. De­mand for the spe­cialised ac­com­mo­da­tion has led to ad­di­tional apart­ments be­ing built, which have just been com­pleted. Graham con­tin­ued: “The fa­cil­ity the Foun­da­tion pro­vides is ex­cel­lent and is a cause which de­serves sup­port. The oc­cu­pied en­durance wheel­chair push, around the Isle of Man, which will cover the equiv­a­lent dis­tance of a full lap of the TT course, should raise aware­ness of the Foun­da­tion and money to sup­port its im­por­tant work.” Fundrais­ing is al­ready well un­der way and you can sup­port Graham by do­nat­ing at www. justgiv­ing.com/fundrais­ing/ Graham-inch­ley-joey-dun­lopFoun­da­tion-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, a cause we have sup­ported for many years, and we are pleased to be able to help by cov­er­ing travel costs.”

Graham Inch­ley and daugh­ter Isla with the en­durance wheel­chair he will use in his TT course bid.

Graham’s fa­ther Peter dur­ing TT prac­tice in 1966.

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