Olympic torch: Isle of Man motorcycle ride for flame

Olympic torch
Image caption World Enduro champion David Knight carried the torch on a motorcycle

The Olympic flame has been carried on a TT motorcycle as the Isle of Man hosted day 15 of the torch relay.

Three-time World Enduro Champion David Knight, 34, rode pillion with the torch behind fellow Manxman and former TT winner Richard "Milky" Quayle.

The flame also travelled by horse tram, bicycle, train and lifeboat before snowboarder Zoe Gillings carried it.

It then flew to Belfast, where it landed in the late afternoon, ahead of a five-day visit to Northern Ireland.

The flame arrived on the Isle of Man at Ronaldsway Airport on British Airways plane The Firefly from Liverpool.

The first torchbearer of the day, Leanne Harper, set off from the National Sports Centre in Douglas at around 10:30 BST.

She has cystic fibrosis and did a lap of the athletics track at the centre. In 2012 she climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, raising more than £12,000 for CF Research.

Youngest competitor

Paralympic medallist Ian Sharpe, 41, carried the torch through Douglas. The visually impaired athlete has competed for Great Britain since 1984. He was born in the Isle of Man and has won five silver and five bronze Paralympic medals, as well as being four times world champion as a swimmer. He was also a double world and European champion cyclist in 2005.

Gymnast Emily Dale-Beeton , 13, also carried the torch in the capital. She represented the Isle of Man at national events and became the youngest competitor at the 2011 Commonwealth Youth Games.

The flame was carried on a lifeboat in recognition of the fact that the Royal National Lifeboat Institution was founded in 1824 by Sir William Hillary, who lived in Douglas, and in the afternoon by two RNLI employees - Juan Howland, 39, and Simon Mcferran, 40.

Other morning torchbearers included Neil Cain, 33, treasurer and fundraiser for the Tommy Clucas Memorial Fund, set up after his friend died in the 2004 Manx race, and Stuart Lambie MBE, 61, a keen sportsman who has spent 27 years as headteacher of Foxdale Primary School.

The torch was also due to be carried in a TT sidecar by Dave Molyneux, but he decided against the opportunity so he could concentrate on adding to his series of wins in the island's annual races. He is the most successful sidecar racer in TT history with 14 wins.

Just before lunch the flame also boarded the Manx Electric Railway to Laxey. The torch carried by 17-year-old Cai Benyon was lit during the journey.

Second torchbearer after the break was Henry De Silva, 78, from Ramsey, who is president of the Veterans' Fencing Association and won a gold medal during last year's veteran fencing championships in Australia.

Also honoured by being chosen as torchbearers were the Reverend Cyril Rogers, 57, who raises money for charities from sponsored bicycle rides, and Bethany De Legh-Runciman, 40, who became a Manx celebrity by being the only walker to walk non-stop for 170 miles to complete back-to-back Isle Of Man Parish Walks. In six years she has run more than 60 marathons, covering 6,000 miles and raising £15,000 for local charities.

The flame also visited Ballasalla and Castletown, where the penultimate torchbearer was Winter Olympian Zoe Gillings, who hopes to compete at her third consecutive Games in Sochi in two years' time. The 26-year-old came eighth in the snowboard cross in Vancouver in 2010.

The relay then headed back to Ronaldsway Airport for a flight to George Best City Airport, Belfast, boarding The Firefly once more, the plane which was used when it taken from Greece to the UK on 18 May, at around 16:35 BST.

The flame was held in four lanterns fastened into seats 1A and 1B and watched by a fire warden. Special permission was granted from the Civil Aviation Authority for the journey.

It arrived in Belfast at around 17:45 BST ahead of a welcoming ceremony.

Pupils from three east Belfast schools - Victoria Park Primary, St Joseph's Primary and Mitchell House - formed a guard of honour at the terminal building.

"There has been great excitement this week," said Andrea Gorley, principal of Victoria Park.

"It is an incredible honour for the children and an experience they will remember for a very long time to come."

The flame lanterns will be held overnight in Belfast before the torch is lit for the beginning of the relay at around 06:00 BST on Sunday.

A total of 8,000 people will carry the flame on its 8,000 mile, 70-day journey around the UK to the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games on 27 July.

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