Classic TT 2018 | Where, When, How….(A BikeSocial Guide)

Rachael Clegg
By Rachael Clegg
CleggRachael Creator of crazy art-nude historic motorsport books and calendars, journalist and artist.

 

The Classic TT is upon us. Within a matter of days thousands of fans will flock to the Isle of Man to catch the heady scent of Castrol R, the scream of a classic two stroke and - last but not least - lots of nail-biting action on track.

And to enhance the event, BikeSocial has put together a guide for Classic TT fans on, and off, the island.

 

Spectating around the TT course

There are hundreds of fantastic viewing spots around the TT course, some more accessible than others. Here’s our top ten:

 

 

Isle of Man TT spectators guide
All you need to know if you're visiting the Isle of Man TT

 

GRANDSTAND 

It’s worth being around the Grandstand for at least one race during the Classic TT. Here you can soak up the atmosphere, witness the buzz and the tension as riders prepare to conquer the Isle of Man TT course on some of the most exotic machines on the planet.

There are also pop-up exhibitions at the Grandstand, opportunities to meet riders and a pop-up cinema on the Friday night.

Facilities: Good - the Grandstand is the hub of action at the Classic TT with dozens of retail stalls, food stalls, a bar and toilets.

Parking: Good

Access: Good, even when the roads are closed

Racing: Fast on the flying lap through the Grandstand and exciting during pit stops but not nail-biting

Atmosphere - Second to none.

 

The Classic TT: Where, When, How….(A BikeSocial Guide)

 

BRAY HILL

We’ve all seen the videos and yes, it really is that exciting in person. If the Classic TT is on your bucket list, then Bray Hill should be at the top of that list while at the event. Speeds are staggering and spots towards the bottom of the hill offer views of both the nail-biting dip and the long descent from the top of the hill. Amazing. Unmissable. 

Facilities: Visit the loo beforehand and take provisions, unless you’re lucky enough to be invited into a garden.

Parking: Good - various side roads

Access: Good

Racing: Staggeringly sensational

Atmosphere: Very good

 

The Classic TT: Where, When, How….(A BikeSocial Guide)

 

UNION MILLS

Union Mills is a fast right-hander on a bumpy road. It’s a technical section so interesting to watch how different riders tackle the corner. The church opens up its garden for the public, providing a super vantage point.

Facilities: Excellent when the Church is open as its cakes are reasonably-priced and ludicrously delicious. There are toilets too.

Parking: There is parking along the side roads but better to get there early.

Access: Possible by back roads but requires local knowledge or an Ordnance Survey map.

Racing: Good

Atmosphere: Good - very pleasant.

 

The Classic TT: Where, When, How….(A BikeSocial Guide)

 

GORSE LEA

This is one of the Isle of Man TT course’s worst kept secrets. This former market garden has been opened up to serious race fans for years and offers some of the most hair-raising spectating on the island. Garden guests are friendly and polite and this adds to the camaraderie.

Facilities: Good. Tea and coffee, lovely home-baked cakes and home-made sandwiches and a toilet.

Parking: Good

Access: Good, accessible via Strand even when the roads are closed but requires local knowledge of back roads or an ordnance survey map

Racing: Amazing.

Atmosphere: Exciting and friendly.

 

The Classic TT: Where, When, How….(A BikeSocial Guide)

 

RHENCULLEN

A tricky bend that follows the super-fast progression through Kirk Michael, Rhencullen is a favourite of engineering genius and talented racer Peter Williams (the brains behind the disc brake and Mag wheel) and one can see why: it’s deeply exciting to watch here, let alone race. This is a much-recommended spot and it has a grandstand.

Facilities: Portable toilet (TBC), grandstand and nearby shops but better to take provisions.

Parking: Good

Access: Tricky but possible via back roads

Racing: Amazing.

Atmosphere: Exciting and friendly.

 

 

SULBY GLEN HOTEL

Sulby Straight is the fastest stretch of the Isle of Man TT course, making it a staggering place to see some serious speed.

Facilities: Good - it’s a pub, win-win.

Parking: Good

Access: Yes but via Timbuktu to Douglas

Racing: Fast but straight

Atmosphere: Good, jovial

 

The Classic TT: Where, When, How….(A BikeSocial Guide)

 

PARLIAMENT SQUARE

Parliament Square is a super slow section but fantastic for getting up-close-and-personal to the riders and their machines as they race past.

Facilities: Cafes, pubs, toilets - the lot

Parking: Excellent - lots of places to park

Access: Douglas is accessible even when the racing on via the coast road

Racing: Technical, interesting but slow

Atmosphere: Very good - slightly rowdier towards the end of the day

 

The Classic TT: Where, When, How….(A BikeSocial Guide)

 

BRANDYWELL

As far as vantage points go, Brandywell takes some beating: it is, after all, the highest part of the TT course. It’s also among the fastest sections and thus makes for phenomenal spectating, with epic views. But it is not the faint-hearted spectator…

Facilities: Take butties, fluids, sun tan cream, a brolly and very warm clothes. Lord knows what the weather will do up there.

Parking: Sparse.

Access: None while the racing is on.

Racing: Amazing. Fast and interesting watching riders open-up on the vast expanse of mountain road.

Atmosphere: Good, bordering on a Blitz spirit.

 

The Classic TT: Where, When, How….(A BikeSocial Guide)

 

CREG-NY-BAA

This is one of the best-known spots on the TT course, immortalised the famous shot of Hailwood as he rode to his Comeback victory in 1978. And it’s not hard to sew why this spot is so popular: it’s fast, with fantastic views of Kate’s Cottage, right down to Cronk-ny-Mona.

Facilities: Excellent - the Creg-ny-Baa has everything to offer in terms of food and drink and facilities, along with grandstands at either side of the pub. But pack a jumper - it can be chilly up there.

Parking: Two car parks.

Access: Via Onchan during the racing

Racing: Fast and sweeping with great views.

Atmosphere: Good, bordering on a Blitz spirit.

 

The Classic TT: Where, When, How….(A BikeSocial Guide)

 

HILLBERRY

In 2007 the Brandish section of the TT course - which is at the end of the mountain descent - was widened. It’s widening contributed to John McGuinness shaving his lap time and thus smashing the 130mph record in 2007. But it also had another effect: it made the following section, Hillberry, even hairier, and that makes for fantastic spectating. This fast section sees riders taking the sweeping right-hander at phenomenal speed. What’s more, there’s a grandstand, with views of unto one mile up the mountain to Kate’s Cottage.

Parking: Yes, though limited

Access: Yes, via Onchan

Racing: Super: fast and technical

Atmosphere: Good but less of the DIY spirit on a grandstand

Facilities: Portable toilet (TBC)

 

The Classic TT: Where, When, How….(A BikeSocial Guide)

 

Classic TT Radio Listings

The TT course is 37 and three quarter miles long, so the best way to keep abreast of the action during a race - whether on or off the island - is to tune into Manx Radio - at  AM 1368

Friday August 24

07.30 – 08.00 Bikers Breakfast
08.00 – 09.00 Classic TT Chat Show
09.00 – 09.30 Manx Radio TT Hits
09.30 – 13.00 Full Throttle
13.00 – 16.00 Burn Out
16.00 – 18.00 Practice Build Up Show
18.00 – 20.00 Practice Coverage
20.00 – 22.00 Afterburner

Saturday August 25

07.30 – 08.00 Bikers Breakfast
08.00 – 09.00 Classic TT Chat Show
09.00 – 10.00 Manx Radio TT Hits
10.00 – 16.00 Race Coverage
16.00 – 18.00 Afterburner

Sunday August 26

07.30 – 10.00 Bikers Breakfast
10.00 – 11.00 Festival Chat Show - Live from Jurby
11.00 – 14.00 Jurby Festival Coverage
14.00 – 18.00 Afterburner

Monday August 27

07.30 – 08.00 Bikers Breakfast
08.00 – 09.00 Classic TT Chat Show
09.00 – 10.00 Manx Radio TT Hits
10.00 – 16.00 Race Coverage
16.00 – 18.00 Afterburner

Live internet timings

For up-to-the-second updates on the action, visit http://ttlive.iomtt.com/ and sign up for the live timing updates. Here you can track each rider throughout the course’s various sectors.

Classic TT TV Schedule

Greenlight Television is producing two very special hour-long programmes with TT presenting stalwarts Steve Plater and Steve Parrish and gold-medallist Winter Olympics Gold medallist Amy Williams MBE.

The programmes will be aired on ITV4 at 9pm on Wednesday August 29th and Thursday August 30th.

 

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