What to see and where to go during TT race fortnight
It’s an experience like no other - for a fortnight every summer, the peaceful Isle of Man is transformed into the venue for one of the world’s longest-running and most-loved motor sport events – the TT motorbike races.
Each year, up to 40,000 spectators and 12,000 bikes flock to watch the finest road racers on earth tackle the 37¾ miles of public roads that become the legendary course.
Confused.com finds out what to see and where to go during TT fortnight.
TT race history
The first TT (Tourist Trophy) began as an event for cars in 1904, after the Isle of Man government changed the law to allow roads to be closed for racing (which was illegal in the UK).
Three years later, in 1907, motorbikes got a race of their own.
Today, the venue is world famous. The bikes may be faster and the lap times shorter – but the battle to be the best remains. Both bike and rider race against the clock, and the fastest in each class wins.
The Grandstand in Douglas, the Isle of Man capital, is where the TT starts and ends. In between lie suburban main roads, countryside lanes, villages, bends, a humpback bridge and the world famous Mountain Course.
The tourist board lists 39 official places to watch, from grandstands to farmers’ fields – each with different levels of facilities!
Isle of Man TT 2009
Practice week starts on May 30. This is followed by racing in five different classes: Superstock, Superbike, Sidecar, Supersport Junior and the Senior TT on Friday June 12.
There will also be 125cc Ultra-Lightweight and 250cc Lightweight TT races, running on the Billown Circuit in the south of the Isle of Man.
This year includes:
- 2 World Champions
- 2 European Champions
- 13 former TT winners
- 22 National champions from nine countries
Two legendary Italian riders return to the track this year. Valentino Rossi, eight-time World Motorcycle Grand Prix champion, and Giacomo Agostini, 10 times TT winner between 1966 and 1972, will ride a demonstration lap of the course.
The man to beat is Lancashire lad John McGuinness. He’s won the TT 14 times so far and holds the outright lap record of 17 mins 21.99 seconds – an average speed of 130.354mph!
Saturday June 6: Superbike TT Race
Sidecar TT Race 1
Monday June 8: Superstock TT Race
Supersport Junior TT Race 1
Wednesday June 10: Supersport Junior TT Race 2
Sidecar TT Race 2
Friday June 12: Senior TT Race
Saturday June 13: Lightweight TT Race
Ultra Lightweight TT Race
Other TT racing attractions
The green race: The 2009 TT also sees a world first with the ground-breaking clean emissions Grand Prix race run by TTXGP.
The return of the great: After a 16-year absence, the famous name of Norton Motorcycles makes its long-awaited return. Michael Dunlop, the 21-year-old son of the late motorcycle great Robert Dunlop, and nephew of the legendary Joey Dunlop, will ride the Norton NRV 588 on its TT Senior Race debut.
Off the course
The Isle of Man TT is a two-week party – Red Arrow displays, free motorbike shows and a rock concert headed by Whitesnake add to the festivities.
It’s the official name for Sunday June 7. One section of the TT course over the Mountain from Ramsey Hairpin to Creg-ny-Baa becomes one-way and open to the public. A fantastic, exhilarating ride, but you’ll need to keep your wits about you (read our safe riding guide, Be leader of the pack with Confused.com’s Motorcycle Safety Tips).
Confused.com at the TT
Look out for Confused.com at the Isle of Man TT. You can find us at the Grandstand during the event, and there’s a competition to win a brand new Kawasaki ZX10.