The figures are staggering. Motorbikes of 200 brake horse power hitting close to 200mph (320kph) whilst lapping a highly challenging 37 mile course. What can be more exciting than that?
I defy you to watch the video above on full screen without your hair standing on end!
Also read “What Makes it the Greatest Motorcycle Race Ever!” for a broader view of the event.
The IOM is synonymous with the world famous TT races that occur every year in early June. It is probably the most famous motorcycle race in the world with a history that runs for more than one hundred years. The first TT race was held in 1907 with the only breaks occurring during the two world wars.
The course has changed over the years but the current course is 37.7miles long and very challenging. It is run on what are, normally, public roads and features an apparently never ending series of bumps, jumps, bends, and stone walls. Given all this, it is staggering to think that the best riders have lapped the course at an average of over 130mph. Incidentally, I had the pleasure of meeting the first ever man to complete a lap at an average of over 100mph. Malcolm Uphill was, in later life, a glider pilot at the same club as me in South Wales. Like many great people, he was very unassuming and I would never have known of his achievements if another club member had not pointed it out to me
The huge influx of visitors, the population doubles during the TT, results in a real festival atmosphere that make this a must-do item for all keen motorcyclists and fans. The huge numbers attending means there is also much more going on than the races themselves. There are events on all non race days and a very lively atmosphere at night.
I have put together a brief guide to what happens in the IOM during TT race week by summarising key information and providing links to other good sources.
The 2016 Race Schedule provides an example of what to expect:
|Saturday 4th June|
|11.00 – RST Superbike TT Race (6 laps)|
|14.00 – Sure Sidecar TT Race 1 (3 laps)|
|15.30 – Superstock/ Supersport/ Lightweight practice (2 laps)|
|Monday 6th June|
|10.45 – Monster Energy Supersport TT Race 1 (4 laps)|
|12.25 – Sidecar qualifying (2 laps)|
|14.15 – RL360 Superstock TT Race (4 laps)|
|16.05 – Lightweight qualifying (1 lap)|
|16.25 – TT Zero qualifying (l lap)|
|Wednesday 8th June|
|10.45 – Monster Energy Supersport TT Race 2 (4 laps)|
|12.25 – Sidecar qualifying (1 lap)|
|14.00 – Bennetts Lightweight TT Race (4 laps)|
|15.45 – Senior TT qualifying (1 lap)|
|16.20 – TT Zero Race (1 lap)|
|Friday 10th June|
|10.15 – Sure Sidecar TT Race 2 (3 laps)|
|12.30 – PokerStars Senior TT Race (6 laps)|
Non Race days:
Sunday 5th June: “Mad Sunday” – Members of the public do laps of the famous course (hence the name). Normal traffic is on the roads so bikers are supposed to keep to speed limits but clearly many do not. Care is needed around the roads on this day.
Tuesday 7th June: Ramsay sprints – a day of sprint races along the promenade in Ramsey, here you can see some wacky and crazy machines! The Ramsey Sprint is a drag sprint over an 1/8th mile strip. Anyone who is willing to pay the entry fee can compete. Motorcycles from all over the world enter and some bikes have special modifications, which makes things very interesting. This is an all day event with food, exhibits and entertainment.
Thursday 9th June: Laxey Bike Show – a chance for a wide range of exhibitors to show off their bikes. It is essentially a motorcycle show run by bikers, for bikers, and of course those interested in the diverse nature of motorcycling on the Isle of Man. The organisers have gone to great lengths to ensure that the show is not just a pass through event and have organised a ‘live music’ event on the green, and this has been complimented by a local Laxey Heritage Trust display.
The 2016 entertainment calendar has not been published yet but to give you an idea of what to expect look at the 2015 Entertainment Schedule . I will republish this write up with a link to the new guide when it is available.
Entertainment includes such things as Bushy’s beer tent and a funfair both in Loch Promenade Douglas, numerous motorcycle related exhibits and further action in the form of Stock Car racing in Onchan and, usually, the TT mayhem touring stunt show. There is live music on most evenings and air displays on several days. Your best bet is to review the entertainment calendar to get the full picture.
There are also various tours available here during TT fortnight and these range from a VIP package which includes a closed road lap of the course, in a course car, through to a coach tour with a previous champion. It is worth booking ahead if you want to do any of these.
Where to Watch:
There is no charge for watching the TT races as you are free to watch from any safe location, however, to get the best views, in safety, it is best to view from a paid for location. These vary from residents and charities providing spectator spots through to the official viewing points. Here is a guide on where to watch. iomttbreaks Guide
There are a number of fanzones which have to be paid for but provide grandstand seating and have toilet facilities.
There is a very good public transport network on the IOM with, both, train and bus services.
Buses: The Isle of Man has an extensive bus network – Bus Vannin – which serves the whole of the Island on a regular basis including Ronaldsway Airport and the Sea Terminal in Douglas.
Useful TT Information – The bus service goes around the TT course from Douglas to Ramsey when the road are open, there is no access once roads are closed. No bus service travels on the mountain section from Ramsey to Douglas, but this can be accessed via the mountain railway.
The tour above includes a 4 day tour of Scotland on hired bikes. We can reduce the tour to just include the IOM TT if you wish.