The Isle of Man TT RacesThe Isle of Man is home to the greatest motorcycle event in the world.
Every May, over 45,000 motorcycle racing enthusiasts from around the world make the pilgrimage to the Isle of Man. They line their favourite spots on the Island's hedgerows to secure the best vantage points to watch history being made before their eyes.
There really is nothing on Earth quite like the Isle of Man TT Races and visitors come back to the Isle of Man year after year for this mind-blowing event. No other motorcycle race is held on such a challenging track as the 37.73 mile Mountain Course with its seemingly never-ending series of bends. During the two week festival, the Isle of Man is electric with a mix of incredible road racing and world-class entertainment.
The Isle of Man TT has a rich, vibrant history. The first road race of the Tourist Trophy was held in 1907 after Sir Julian Orde, then Secretary of the Automobile Club of Great Britain and Ireland, ventured to the island to find a place where vehicles could race on public roads unencumbered by speed limitations.
He found it.
The TT race has changed a lot since the early years. Courses have been perfected, new race categories have been added, but the sentiment remains the same. The Road TT Races have, since its inception, been a race of wills and passion with a true spirit of pride, competitiveness, and sheer respect- both for the riders and the sport.
The TT races take place over two weeks. The first week is the practice runs, second are races. The Sunday betwixt is ‘Mad Sunday’… and it lives up to the name. Practice is done and races start tomorrow, so on Sunday everyone takes to the streets to try their hand at the perilous mountain course.
Thousands upon thousands of amateur bikers will ride the steep mountain and ride the same course as the professionals. The hairpin turns and steep cliffs make no match for the brave. The mountain becomes one-way and riders weave in and out of the slow moving (130mph) cars.
For the more cautious visitors, there is plenty to do in town- Stunt shows, music, entertainment, fun fairs- and plenty to drink! Mad Sunday is a day to enjoy, indulge and get into the spirit!
Top Tips for TT-ing like a local
Islanders have been enjoying the TT for over 100 years, so we know a thing or two about living in the fast lane. Here are some insider tips to TT-ing like a local:
Head to the Promenade!
It's a local tradition to head to Douglas promenade during the fortnight of the TT Festival. You’ll enjoy fairground rides, entertainment and oh-so-many beer tents! Stuntmen race down the street in a spectacle of delights with each year’s show outdoing the last. It’s not uncommon to see riders popping wheelies outside of the tents at night and parties that stretch well into the morning!
Best places to watch...
Sitting in one of the Grandstands is a once in a lifetime experience that you won’t regret. The chance to see your favourite riders whiz by in a dizzying blur of guts and glory is magical. You do need tickets to the grandstand and they tend to sell out quickly.
Of course you can trek out along the course and find your own free viewing spot. Many locals will just venture out to their favourite park (or hedge) along the mountain course. Parliament Square, Ballacraine, and Barregarrow offer great views of exciting bends and turns in the course. Crosby Village and Sulby Crossroads are especially great stretches for witnessing the true speed these riders get up to.
Of course if you fancy being near a pub for some ‘hydration’ between races, Quarterbridge, Union Mills and Noble’s Park might be more your taste.
There are literally no bad places to watch the road race from and you can mix up your vantage point over the course of the week.
Learn the names of the twists and bends.
The mountain course is notorious for sharp turns and winding paths, but did you know each of these turns have a name? There are 73 named parts on the course and most riders would be able to recite them in order.
One particularly sharp bend is named Ballagarey Corner. Riders have since dubbed the corner as ‘balla-scary’. The Quarry Bends are a series of road bends formed by the 1879 Manx Northern Railway serving Clark’s Stone Quarry.
Then there’s Ballacrye Corner at mile 17.84. The road here drops causing most motorcycles to jump into the air. It is the fastest and most dangerous jump on the course. Spectators are not allowed past the jump- but are allowed before it (and makes for great photos).
There are quite a few corners that pay honour and/or memorandum to those who have dedicated their lives to the sport: Doran's Bend, Molyneux's, Drinkwater's Bend, McGuinness's, Birkin's Bend, Joey's, Hailwood's Rise, Caley’s, Dukes, and Brandish Corner.
Get out for Senior Race Day.
The Friday of race week (Senior Race Day) is a Bank Holiday on the Isle of Man meaning all the locals head to the TT course to enjoy the last day of the races and a well-deserved pint. Senior Race Day is the last day of the TT and EVERYONE will be out enjoying the festivities!
The Isle of Man TT Race is the most well-known road race in the world. The island is electric with excitement and honour for the titans who ride. The air smells of cotton floss and petrol as everyone- locals and visitors alike- take in the breath taking action.
One day, you will experience the passion, honour, and exhilaration of the Isle of Man TT.
Make your one day, today.