TT sidecar rider, Peter Alton, moved to the Isle of Man in 2020 after many years of visiting and taking part in the Isle of Man TT Races.
Peter, who runs a motorcycle and sidecar services and repairs business, also works for the Isle of Man Government’s Department of Infrastructure in their road maintenance team.
From rider to resident
I’ve ridden motorcycles and sidecars my entire adult life and first came to the Isle of Man to watch the TT Races in the early 1990’s – I was immediately hooked. I visited again and again, and in 2002 had the opportunity to take part in the sidecar class. I competed in the sidecar races pretty much every year after that, and with every TT fell more in love with the Island.
Life’s full of twists and turns
The racing is certainly one of the main reasons I moved to the Island but love also played a part. Life is full of twists and turns, and it was through the races that I met my wife Donna, who is Manx born and bred. I lived between the Island and the northwest of England for several years, before moving here permanently in 2020 and to this day, still take part in the racing in some shape or form!
Finding a sense of peace
The Island is a very safe place to live and has given me a sense of security I hadn’t realised I was missing. The Island’s landscape is to die for, and I’ve always said it’s like Wales, Ireland and Scotland all rolled into one! The culture and heritage of the Island is quite staggering, and so different to the UK. It’s well worth investing some time to learn about it, as it’s very interesting, and to this day you can still visit many of the heritage sites.
The Manx people are straight-talkers, but they have a heart of gold and a wicked sense of humour – over the years I’ve made many friends here, it really has been a home from home. One thing I quickly learnt, is that everyone says hello to you in the Isle of Man – even complete strangers!
Biking – it’s in the Manx blood
The passion for biking is truly embedded within the Manx spirit – and there’s really no need for bike clubs on the Island. Whenever you take a ride out and stop anywhere you will meet new friends. The biking community spans the entire Island; charity rides are a regular occurrence, and another great opportunity to meet friends - old and new.
As I’ve raced here for many years, I now find myself riding the TT course at a far steadier pace - it’s much more relaxing and allows me to take in the outstanding beauty of the Island. Of course, riding the mountain section never gets old – on a clear day it is simply magical, and feels like you’ve been reborn!
Island of opportunity
There are many career opportunities in the Isle of Man if you are hungry to move forward. Given my background in motorcycling and sidecar racing, I knew I wanted to work in a job that would allow me to use my experience, skills, and passion for motorsport. I was fortunate enough to find a job pretty quickly, and now work for the Isle of Man Government’s Department of Infrastructure in their road maintenance team.
Since relocating to the Island, my life has changed dramatically. I also manage a business in the UK which specialises in motorcycle and sidecar services and repairs. We also work with bikes being prepped for races. The days can be long, and juggling two work commitments can be challenging, however unlike in the UK, here in the Isle of Man everything is on your doorstep. This gives me the time and space for that much needed down time – whether that’s enjoying a ride out on the bike, going for a long coastal walk or a hike up Snaefell Mountain, heading out for a social pint, or going to a local music gig. There’s always something to do, whatever your interests, age, and background - I certainly never get bored!
Life is too short
Living here has really opened my eyes. I have lived my entire life in the rat race and have found that although life in the Isle of Man is slightly slower, the work will always get done, and life doesn’t have to be a race. It’s given me the opportunity to realise that life is too short – and that living in a place where you can bring up children in a safe environment, where careers, activities, and new friends are a plenty, is really all that matters.