Sunday, August 7, 2011

Two Wheels Members go to IOM TT 2011

4 Members of our club visited the IOM TT this year.

George, Grant, Lawrence and Phil made the journey to visit the 100th anniversary of this great motorcycle event.

We were there for the full two weeks, which includes a week of practice, and a week of racing. It is a wonderful place for motorcyclists, with no speed limits and good quality roads, not just on the track but also on other roads around the island.

A great place for lunch at the south of the Island, where some of the 10,000 motorcyclists ride to and enjoy the warmth and scenery.

Unlike regular motorcycle racing, at the IOM, riders ride around the 37 mile circuit against the clock, and only catch another bike if they are riding much faster than the next rider. All bikes are seeded before the start, and the race number is based on this seeding. So the favorite is Bike No.1, next is No.2 etc.

We were able to watch New Zealander, Bruce Anstey who was on bike No.5 this year. He actually won one of the 600TT's.
And of course, not to forget John McGuiness, who won the Superbikes and main IOMTT events:

The four of us stayed in a B and B in Douglas, which is the capital, and where most people stay on the island. Each day, brought a practice or race to watch, which are generally about 2 hours, and left time to visit other events, wander around the pits or drive around the island. There is plenty to enjoy, and it is a great place to visit.

There are many viewing spots, generally sitting on a bank or fence, just a metre from the road. Some spots are good for corners, some high speed straights and plenty of front wheel lifting as this track has all the dips and bumps of any road, and at 200mph, is a challenge for even the best motorcyclists.

30 minutes before each practice or race, all of the 37 miles of road are closed, and so Lawrence would take us to a good viewing spot before the road closure, and we would watch the event from there. Trying a different spot each day provided a good variety of viewing, and enabled us to enjoy many different aspects, and an appreciation of what a challenge this race is.

If you are thinking of going to this event, consider volunteering for marshaling duties. Marshals have to be stationed at every access road, and at all the viewing places to control crowds, and for rider safety with flags. Also, every marshal point needs to be able to see the next and the previous marshal point. They have a great system with the control room at the top of the hierarchy, then chief marshal, deputy marshals, traveling marshals, experienced marshals and new marshals. You have to do 10 sessions (race counts as 2) as a new marshal, before you are considered an experienced marshal. They welcome volunteers and encourage it, with marshals pack, free program, marshals dinner, as well as the excitement of being involved and getting some of the best viewing positions. If you are as lucky as me, you may actually get to touch one of the competitors bikes. We had to look after Guy Martins bike during one race.

Many thanks to Lawrence for looking after the 3 of us for this holiday.