The Isle of Man has a motorbike racing history dating back to 1904 with the Gordon Bennet car trials and following on from 1905-1922 with the Royal Automobile Club Tourist Trophy. Races were held on the Isle of Man due to speed restrictions placed on roads in mainland Britain and Ireland. Picking up in 1949 and continuing on to 1976, the FIM Morotcycle Grand Prix World Championship was held on the Island. These were held in Britain from 1977 onward by FIM and renamed the British Grand Prix. The world-famous TT (Tourist Trophy) races have been held by the Island as part of the TT Formula 1 Championship from 1977-present (becoming an official festival event backed by the IOM Tourism Department in 1989).
The course of the TT has changed over the years but the challenging Mountain Course starts and finishes between Bray Hill and The Nook, covering the length of the island and passing through such well-known spots as Parliament Square, Sulby Crossroads, Kirk Michael and Ballacraine. The course is not only challenging but daring and safety for the riders and spectators is always of the utmost concern as participants circuit nearly 200 bends. It has not been unheard of for a rider to end up in someone’s flower garden before the end of the race, as the course runs quite literally through the island.
The nature of the TT races is fast-paced, world-class racing with riders expertly reaching up to 130mph. The side-car races can only be described as insane good fun full of great skill and surprise with riders nearly hanging from their vehicles by a thread around corners. The Mad Sunday event in which anyone can ride on the course between Ramsey and Douglas brings out some very creative riders of all ages and place of origin and is great, great fun to watch. As a world-class racing event, the TT has seen such great names in racing as Joey Dunlop, Milky Quayle, John McGuinness and Ian Hutchinson.
Every year DVDs and videos can be purchased with highlights of what you may have missed and the official site iomtt.com is a wealth of online video clips but nothing beats taking a trip to the island to see it in person! Races are held yearly in late spring/early summer. For fans who want some of the excitement of racing without the travel, Manx TT Superbike by Sega for PC can usually be found on ebay, the life-sized ride-on version is found in Dave & Buster’s across America and the PS2 TT Superbikes can be had from Amazon.