For a long time, the Isle of Man’s Tourist Trophy (TT) was the most prestigious motorcycle race in the world. The historic race traces its roots to 1907, and held its centennial in 2007. Although it is no longer the number one motorcycle race in the world, it remains a contender for the top spot and attracts top international racing talent every year.
The race uses the Snaefell Mountain Course. This course was abandoned in 1925 and then re-adopted in 1960, making it the oldest course still in use today. All the roads used in the route are ordinary public roads, which are closed for the race and its preceding practice sessions. It begins in the south eastern coastal town of Douglas, swings out to the northwest before heading to the north eastern town of Ramsey, and then loops back to the starting point. Each lap covers 37.75 miles. The route has over 200 separate bends, and climbs from sea level to above 1,300 feet, making it a very difficult route.
Its quality, prestige, and antiquity make it a focus for motorcycle racing’s best. The 2009 installment attracted Valentino Rossi to the visit the Isle of Mann race for the first time. The winner of 100 Grand Prix race trophies, Rossi is easily the most famous name in motorcycle racing today. Rossi was joined by fellow Italian and racing legend Giacomo Agostini, and was not a competitor in the event. However, he tried the course out himself, and gave its demands considerable praise: “I have huge respect for the racers who ride this circuit flat out on a Superbike as it requires massive courage and concentration. It is dangerous and unbelievably fast and entirely different from the kind of track I am used to racing on. It's a great spectacle but difficult to learn in one lap so I would like to do five or six the next time I come over, not to race though!"
Visitors to the Isle of Man will find it well-equipped for fans of its famed racing event. The TT Grandstand is something of an icon itself, and nearby is the A.R.E. motorcycle collection of 70 classic Triumphs and other vintage British-made machines, manufactured between the 1920s and 1960s. The Motorcycle Academy also holds periodic advanced training workshops on the island, using stretches of the TT course for the purpose. The latter is a must for fans of the race who also ride and daydream about racing themselves.
Visitors looking for a good base for the races will most likely need to stay in Douglas itself, which is home to the start and finish line. There are four hotels in the two and three star category there, plus three more in the four star range. The only other option for accommodations is Port Erin in the south, which is not very well-placed for racing fans.
Although the Isle of Man TT is the most venerable of motorcycle road races, it still stands as a major event and carries its age well. As the event attracts even famed riders like Rossi to the stands, it clearly has golden days ahead of it. The Isle of Mann puts a lot of effort into making fans of its major sporting event feel welcome, and as a result the event always lives up to the dream of every motorcycle racing enthusiast., including Rossi !!
Will Guy Martin win his 1st TT in 2010? I've got everything crossed for him. Follow Guy's year HERE