A Porsche, Lamborghini and an Isle of Man initiation – evo Archive
Could anything be faster along the derestricted roads of the Isle of Man than Porsche and Lamborghini’s latest supercars? Well, yes…
It’s 2008 and you’re in a new Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 on a derestricted piece of road, trying to keep up with John Barker in a new Porsche 911 GT2. And it’s properly derestricted, because you’re on the Isle of Man, so as long as you’re not doing anything stupid, you don’t need to worry about the speedometer. Consequently this would usually mean that you don’t have to worry too much about your mirrors. After all, you’re in a 552bhp Lamborghini. Not much is faster than you. But this is the Isle of Man.
Left round the Ramsey Hairpin, right round the Gooseneck and then up onto the Mountain proper. John is not hanging around and I’m using all of the V10’s revs to keep up. Past the low, white walls of Guthrie’s and then onto the Mountain Mile. This is where I seem to remember noticing something in the mirror. A glint in the soft evening glow.
Now there was always the chance when Kenny P was the photographer on a shoot (as he was on this one for issue 122) that you could be made to look very silly by a slightly baggy blue Mondeo loaded to the gunwales and being driven with the commitment of a disgruntled Nigel Mansell. But on this occasion it isn’t Kenny; there was just a single headlight, travelling fast.
A couple more corners and then it’s on me. I don’t even have a chance to think about letting him through because he’s past and into the gap between the slanted nose of the Lambo and the fat, gilled rump of the Porsche. I back off a touch to give him a bit more room through the next bend but I’m still close enough to have everything framed perfectly in the widescreen windscreen of the Gallardo. Still at speed, howling revs hovering as I wait for my own chance to accelerate, I watch the 911 squat down and then see the angled rear tyre of the bike paint a thin black line on the tarmac as its rider shifts his weight and lines up his next victim.
John and the big 325-section Pilot Sport Cups of the GT2 do just enough through the four, linked corners of the Verandah but the bike’s alongside down the next straight and then sweeps through the following open left, leaving another dark tattoo on the tarmac as though signing off with a flourish on the whole brief event. Two supercars left feeling powerless.
John and I stop just up the road at Creg-ny-Baa, where we’re meeting Kenny.
‘That kid was on it,’ says John, to the ticking accompaniment of cooling metal.
Our egos agree that he must be one of the riders practising for the Manx GP in a couple of weeks’ time.
The next day, we’re queuing for the ferry and a chap wanders over.
‘Old bloke I work with said he saw you on the Mountain last night. He was on his way home from work and said there were these two white supercars tramping on a bit.’
‘What was he driving?’ John asks, but we already know what’s coming.
‘Well, he’s got a company car but he goes everywhere on his bike. Loves it. Said he overtook the Lambo on the way up and then nipped past the Porsche out of the Verrandah.’
Bloody commuter traffic.