Fox me! Fox me!

From Cyril's memoirs dated 17 July 2007

Glencrutchery this and Cronk-y-Voddy that has brought back vivid and frankly unsettling memories of the TT.

In 1998 I was there with Yamaha, meeting others from the industry for an annual pow-wow. A friend of mine, Paul Carlton, was racing a FireBlade in the Production TT as a privateer, so one morning after the first early practice of the week I went over to the paddock to see how he’d got on.

Well, poor old Paul was in a bit of a state. His mechanic, the only other member of his two-man team, had gone down with something tropical involving worms and orifices after an adventure holiday in Belize and would have to rest his spectacularly enlarged scrotum on a soft pillow for at least two weeks. I promised Paul I’d put the word out to see what could be done. That, as it turned out, was my mistake.

Steve ‘Deadly’ Davies came recommended via a friend of a colleague’s brother and warning bells should have rung when I sought him out at the campsite in Peel. His tent was draped with an army camouflage net and a crudely home-made flag fluttered above it bearing the barely legible words scrawled in marker pen, “Swift and Bald”. It later transpired that it was actually “Swift and Bold”, not his favourite two washing powders but the motto of the Royal Green Jackets, of which he claimed to be a former member. I tapped on the ridge pole and out stumbled a ginger-haired man dressed in a tartan dressing gown and huge slippers shaped like penguins. He clearly had no shame, something that would become apparent as the week wore on.

I left him to get dressed and when I returned to ride together to Douglas so Steve could meet Paul, he was dressed in garish full leathers made up of a patchwork of colours, making him look like a cross between a jester and a bean bag. But next to him stood a beautiful and elegant woman who, inexplicably, turned out to be his wife, Sacha (affectionately known as Basha, for reasons unrepeatable here). I was with my own lovely young wife, Francesca. We’d been married for just nine months and were virtually inseparable (literally so at one point, but that was a rare spasm and eventually solved with a squirt of Swarfega and a lollipop stick) and it was soon obvious that Sacha and Francesca got on like a house on fire. If only I’d found Steve ‘Deadly’ Davies as likeable. I recall sitting on our Yamaha R1 watching Steve go through a bizarre, tai-chi-style stretching routine, complete with muted squawks, before getting on his 600 Bandit. ‘He’s very keen on Jackie Chan,’ Sacha said, rolling her eyes.

As weird as Steve was, Paul was desperate for a spannerman and Steve talked the talk, so the problem seemed solved. However, I called by a couple of days later and things weren’t going well.

‘Cyril,’ said Paul, pink-rimmed eyes struggling to focus with sheer fatigue, ‘the bloke’s a nutter. For a start, he precedes everything he does with ridiculous martial arts moves, complete with sound effects, so everything takes forever, and this is despite constantly saying, ‘crack on’, which is something I’ve yet to see him actually do. When he does get to work he’s not bad, but the bloke’s living in a dream world. He whispered to me yesterday that he’s actually on the Island on secret army manoeuvres and might get called away at any moment. It’s patently bollocks, Cyril. I mean, this is the man who claims with all sincerity that his red hair is down to a Welsh ancestor having been raped by a fox. He hates the things with a passion.’

Things came to a head on race Thursday when Steve was caught in the paddock toilets sodomising a Basil Brush soft toy, insomuch as that's possible at all. As the police led him away in cuffs he pleaded that he was actually a copper himself (that did turn out to be true) and that he’d been ‘teaching that bastard fox a lesson’, a defence which later failed to convince the magistrates.

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