Sitting in a Subaru WRX STI at the St Ninian’s crossroad, I still wasn’t really prepared for what was coming.
Mark Higgins - who this week has set a new benchmark for a car around the Isle of Man TT course - grins as the stragglers in the first Supersport Race flew past.
Stragglers? Apologies. No such thing. Every one of those 90-odd riders were absolute heroes as they wound their 600cc bikes towards full throttle, threading the needle that would lead them onto Bray Hill.
Bray Hill… Higgy’s nemesis. The place he came closer than ever to stacking a Subaru at 150mph five years ago.
A Subaru not dissimilar to the WRX STI we are sitting in now. The bikes done, the road is ours.
Mentally, I'm still not even in the ballpark. “How quick will we be going?” I ask Higgins.
“We’ll have a go in places, but we’ve got to be sensible…” comes the reply.
I’ve been sensible with Higgy a few times before. When it comes to sensible, he and I are a few pages apart.
“Bray Hill, yeeehaaaa!” We haven’t come across the start-finish straight, it’s too complicated to get the train of Subarus taking guests on a flying lap onto the circuit there.
Instead, we’ve dodged the barriers and road closed signs and turned left at the crossroads of the A2 and Ballanard Road. Better known as St Ninian’s. Even better known as, ‘the top of Bray Hill.’
I’m getting it now; exclamation done, Higgins keeps us pinned through the gears and that compression and super-quick right are upon us in no time.
I’ve stopped trying to think of a smart comment about not dropping it on the exit and I’m now wedging my right leg against the door and left leg against the transmission tunnel.
Waist down, I’ve assumed the brace position. Waist up, I’m determined not to show even the slightest doubt in my three-time British Rally Champion pilot. Higgins ability is beyond question, especially here in his own back yard.