Author: Bike Social Sports Reporter Posted: 29 May 2014
The Isle of Man TT is the true Mecca of motorcycle race fans. 200 brake horsepower motorcycles flying down public roads at speeds edging towards 200mph. What’s not to love about it? We guarantee a trip to the Isle of Man during TT fortnight is a trip you won’t forget in a hurry.
If you’re heading over for race week, here’s a quick guide on what you need to do and see while you’re there. There are also a few tips for getting around the island and of course, tips on where you should watch that all important race action, it’s the reason you’re there after all!
Not lucky enough to be heading over to the Isle of Man this year? Not to worry, we’ve also put together a guide on how to make the most of the TT experience from wherever you are, stuck at work, on the sofa or even on the other side of the world!
THE BIKESOCIAL GUIDE TO THE ISLE OF MAN TT
Part One - for the lucky sods who are there!
The Isle of Man TT is on many a biker’s bucket list. “I’ll have to do it once” you say. Five years later, you’ve been five times and you’ve already got the ferry booked for next year. The Isle of Man TT is addictive, such a thrill from a brilliant experience. If you really are only going once (which you probably aren’t), make sure you make the most of it.
WHERE TO WATCH
With the Isle of Man TT course being made up of 37.73 miles of public road, you get the lot – long, bumpy straights, winding country roads as smooth as a race circuit, tricky, twisty village sections, jumps, hairpin bends, fast flowing corners – everything. That’s why the TT is the ultimate test for both man and machine. How do you set a bike up to withstand all of that?! You’ve got to see it to believe it. One of the biggest mistakes a IOMTT tourist can make is not spectating from numerous vantage points. With a course forty miles long, there are tonnes of places you can watch; some sat back comfortable in a grandstand and others standing roadside on a grass bank or in someone’s front garden literally metres away from the passing bikes.
The famous Grandstand on Glencrutchery Road, home of the Start/Finish line and pits, is a fantastic place to watch, as such it is one of the only places on the course you’ll have to pay to view from but it’s sure worth it. Not only do you get the view of the bikes flying down Glencrutchery road and onto Bray Hill at 170mph (yes, there's even a speed trap display above the results board), you get a clear view right above the pits which will be full of action during the races.
Do note that certain areas of the course are prohibited and this is for both your and the riders safety, so let’s not be silly, keep safe and avoid these areas. Full details of prohibited sections of the course can be found here.
If you want to make sure you can watch from decent places, take a look at the Isle of Man Government’s ‘Fanzones’. For all info and Grandstand tickets check out here.
Wherever you are, make sure you take a radio so you can keep up with the commentary!
EXPERIENCE IT FOR YOURSELF
If you’re one of the lucky few to have bagged a ferry spot for your bike, a lap of the course is a must for your stay on the island. The roads are only closed for race and practice sessions and are open at all other times for public use. The one thing to note is that the mountain road is restricted to one-way traffic during the TT. The best way to truly experience the IOMTT course is to go around it yourself, but please remember – you aren’t John McGuinness or Michael Dunlop. Dangerous riding causes accidents in non-race hours every year at the TT. Just think what the TT can do to the most experienced road racers, you won’t stand a chance if you’re riding like a muppet!
If you aren’t taking your own vehicle, it’s worth checking out transport on the island before heading over. There are of course taxis, but constantly using those can get expensive!
The Isle of Man has an extensive public transport system which continues to run throughout the TT festival. The bus service goes around the TT course from Douglas to Ramsey when the roads are open but 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 Electric trams are not affected by the TT course being closed. You can use the Snaefel Mountain railway from Laxey to access the mountain section of the course.
With a packed schedule of nine races, there’s so much to watch at this year’s event. You can view the full schedule here.
Nightlife in Douglas is vibrant during TT week and there are a number of clubs and bars to enjoy an evening out in and who knows who you might bump into, especially on that final Friday night! A late night bus service runs on Friday and Saturday nights and this is increased during TT race week. Check out what’s going on down the Douglas promenade, it’s always a laugh! Honda Racing have a couple of special events scheduled for this year with big named DJs. Danny Howard opens the event for them on Friday 30th May with the legendary Carl Cox closing the show on Friday 6th June. More info available here.
Mobile coverage on the Isle of Man is provided by Manx Telecom, and in order for your mobile phone to receive these services on the island, an appropriate mobile agreement will need to have been set-up between Manx Telecom and your own mobile operator.
For pay monthly mobiles, roaming agreements already exist with the major UK operators, including 02, Vodafone, T-Mobile and Orange so if you are with one of these operators, you will be able to use your mobile on the Isle of Man. For visitors with pay-as-you-go mobiles, Manx Telecom can offer roaming facilities to customers of O2, T-Mobile, Hutchison 3G UK and Orange.
Regardless of the mobile phone you have, you should be wary of the roaming charges you will be subject to if making calls from the Isle of Man. Check with your mobile operator for more information.
THE BIKE SOCIAL GUIDE TO THE ISLE OF MAN TT
Part two - for those not lucky enough to be there!
So OK, you’re probably a bit gutted that you aren’t at this year’s TT for whatever reason but modern technology is your friend!
The best way to follow the TT live is through the wonderful chaps at Manx Radio. Full live audio coverage of the TT available all over the world. Manx Radio TT is live, 24 hours a day for the full two-week period including live commentary of all the races plus great features with the racers to make it seem like you’re really there. See their schedule and listen live here, or via their mobile app!
The TT website and mobile app hosts a fantastic live timing service for you to be able to track the riders wherever they are at any point of the circuit. You can track your favourites, watch race progression live and see exactly what speeds riders are doing in certain sectors! Catch it all here.
Don’t forget you can watch TV highlights of all the TT races on ITV4. It might be delayed coverage but it’s absolutely brilliant. Throughout the two week TT festival there’s something on every night, including some fascinating build up shows. Craig Doyle, Steve Parrish, Jamie Whitham and Steve Plater are the regular hosts and commentary team and they know what they're talking about. Catch the full TV schedule here.
Don’t forget though, our Isle of Man TT News, Views & Results section will have all the latest news, gossip and results from the 2014 event. Our reporters live on the island will feed back the latest stories on a daily basis, so keep checking back and give us a follow on social media @bennetts_bike and www.facebook.com/bennettsbike