Posted: 28 Oct 2011
The Isle of Man is located in the Irish Sea between Great Britain and Ireland and has around 700 miles of public roads. Riders from all over the world visit the Isle of Man to experience the TT road racing event, which takes place in May/June for two weeks every year. When the TT isn’t running though, bikers still flock to the island to ride the infamous 37.75-mile course of public roads that snake around the island’s perimeter.
“The Isle of Man road circuit must be the most famous road circuit in the world. I have been aware of the 'TT' since I was small but never came to the island. My daughter married a 'TT' racer and moved to the island ten years ago. I visited every year for the next eight years and eventually followed in 2009 to retire.
”I bought a Suzuki TL1000 and my personal best is 45 minutes – although the racers do it in 18!
“I start from Parliament Square in Ramsey where I live, and warm the bike up gently through the town to the 'Hairpin'. From there, there are twisty bends up to the 'Gooseneck', and you can really wind it up. There's no speed restriction over the mountain (yet). The first mile or so is fairly straight – the rest is just biking heaven.
“Long curves left and right go on forever. The views from the 'Veranda' through 'The Bungalow' and up to 'Brandywell' are so spectacular, it's almost tempting to stop and wonder at them. The right hander into 'Windy Corner' is a real knee slider! The steep drops to the left need watching – as does the stunning scenery – but the long sweeping high speed curves keep you focused.
“Down to the famous 'Creg ny Baa' and into Douglas, all is mostly restricted to 30mph until Union Mills where parts open out again. The thought that you are riding the same road the racers that are taking at 150 mph keeps the thrill alive.
“Up through the trees in twisty 'Glen Helen' then flat out along 'Cronk y Voddy' to the village of Kirk Michael. A blast again to Sulby village and from there to Ramsey is a cruise in the 50 mph zone back to Ramsey – 37.5 miles of pure exhilaration.
“Every biker should do this at least once in their life – I do it once a week! The best time to experience the circuit has to be during TT festival week, when the 'Mountain Road' is made one way and the magic can be shared with the thousands of other like-minded bikers.” Jim Dewhirst
“Explaining the Isle of Man road course in one paragraph is impossible! But, why did I choose the Isle of Man as my favourite biking road?
“I first went in 1976, and it has a hold on me, that I find hard to explain. It has a hold on me like no other place in the world.
“The best time is TT fortnight – probably my favourite section to ride would be up through Glen Helen from Ballacrane. Two of many spots to watch from are the bottom of Barregarrow, and a section accessed from across a small stream, as the riders come into Ramsey, around Churchtown near a spot called Kirk Christ. It doesn't matter where you watch from. Try to estimate the speed at which the racers will come through at, and I bet you're way out!” Ian Knight