Grant and Susan in the Isle of Man

June 11 - Douglas, Isle of Man

Ramsey Gooseneck, TT Races, Isle of Man.

Ramsey Gooseneck, TT Races, Isle of Man

We're on the Isle of Man, where we've been watching the TT (Tourist Trophy) races. The races are good, the race circuit is very fast and very scary. Years ago I wanted to race here, but lack of funds shot down the idea, and am I glad now! It's a very dangerous circuit, and spectacular to watch. The race course is a 37 mile circuit which wanders through the towns and countryside and up into the mountains. It's the only remaining road race on public streets, and has been running continuously, with breaks for the war years only, since about 1903.

Billown Circuit, TT Races, Isle of Man.

Billown Circuit, TT Races, Isle of Man

Imagine narrow, winding English country roads, tiny old towns dating back hundreds of years, then imagine an AVERAGE speed of 130+ mph. All under a pall of rain and fog and cloud - the races were all delayed as much as a day for improved weather - one race had fog so thick the riders couldn't see 20 ft on one of the fastest sections of the course, up in the mountain. Only for the brave or very foolhardy. Absolute memorization of the circuit, all 37 miles and hundreds of corners, is a prerequisite to going fast.

Ballaugh Bridge, TT Races, Isle of Man.

Ballaugh Bridge, TT Races, Isle of Man

For this two week period, 12,000 motorcycles are in town and some 30,000 people (not all on bikes). There is NO speed limit outside the towns - you can imagine what the roads are like with 12,000 sport bike riders thinking they're racers! And half of them from the continent trying to remember which side of the road they're supposed to be driving on! On the Sunday before the actual race starts they close off the circuit to cars and allow anyone on a motorcycle to ride it - it's called Mad Sunday, and invariably there is at least one fatality.

Loch Promenade, Douglas, during TT Races, IOM

There's lots of other stuff happening as well, all sorts of events and bike owners club meetings etc. The streets are lined up six abreast with bikes, and at night when the pubs are going full blast there are heaps of people doing wheelies and burn-outs, generally the types who give motorcyclists a bad name everywhere. I'm sure the locals must lock their daughters up if they can, but obviously the revenue brought into the island from this annual event compensates for a little noise and nuisance.

Many of the spectators are 80+ year old locals, who sit out on their front lawns in lawn chairs and watch the racers go by. We watched a practice race one evening at Governor's Bridge, from the old folks rest home, where the residents were all out in force watching the races.

We ran into a guy I know from Vancouver who I haven't seen since about 1984. Chris and his wife Arlie were cruising England on a canal boat for the last two years, and are now touring around on their bikes. They will be in Europe for a while then back to Canada sometime by the end of the summer.

The weather has been pretty rotten, but it seems to be improving now. When we were in Germany it was cold and rainy, now it's beautiful and 29 degrees C there. Not fair! We seem to be bringing the bad weather with us. At least it's finally improving a bit.

We are packing up for an early start tomorrow, we are supposed to be at the ferry terminal to catch the ferry to England by 6:30 a.m. (for an 8:30 a.m. sailing!) For a pair of night owls, this is painful to contemplate, but the ferry terminal is only 5 minutes away, then once we're loaded, we have 4 hours on the ferry to snooze.

We reckon it's about 3 hours riding tomorrow to Newcastle, then by tomorrow evening we'll be on another ferry to Bergen, Norway, this one is 30 hours. It will give us time to catch up on our trip diary, do a proper letter for the family, and other odds and ends.

Douglas Ferry Dock, Isle of Man.

Douglas Ferry Dock, Isle of Man



Global Rescue, WORLDwide evacuation services for EVERYONE

Global Rescue is the premier provider of medical, security and evacuation services worldwide and is the only company that will come to you, wherever you are, and evacuate you to your home hospital of choice. Additionally, Global Rescue places no restrictions on country of citizenship - all nationalities are eligible to sign-up!

MC Air Shipping, (uncrated) USA / Canada / Europe and other areas. Be sure to say "Horizons Unlimited" to get your $25 discount on Shipping!
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Services and get your HU $15 discount!

 

Member login

Are you an Overland Adventure Traveller?

Does the smell of spices wafting through the air make you think of Zanzibar, a cacophony of honking horns is Cairo, or a swirl of brilliantly patterned clothing Guatemala? Then this is the site for you!
Hosted by Grant and Susan Johnson, RTW 1987-1998

NEW! HU 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar is now available! Get your copy now for some terrific travel inspiration!

HUGE, 11.5 x 16.5 inches, beautifully printed in Germany on top quality stock! Photos are the winning images from over 600 entries in the 9th Annual HU Photo Contest!

Horizons Unlimited 2015 Motorcycle Adventure Travel Calendar.

"The calendar is magnificent!"

"I just wanted to say how much I'm loving the new, larger calendar!"

We share the profit with the winning photographers. YOU could be in the HU Calendar too - enter here!

Next HU Eventscalendar

See all events

 
Latvia to Australia, an inspirational 5 month journey full of unexpected adventures!

contest pic

10th Annual HU Travellers Photo Contest is on now! This is an opportunity for YOU to show us your best photos and win prizes!

Check out the previous contest winners!

Books

amazon

All the best travel books and videos listed and often reviewed on HU's famous Books page. Check it out and get great travel books from all over the world.