Travel report Isle of Man

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Travel report Isle of Man

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Travel report Isle of Man

Travel report Isle of Man
Isle of Man: The motorcycle island

It is impossible to report about the Tourist Trophy without mentioning the island. Because the races on the Isle of Man are only part of the 100-year history. The island itself and its people are at least as important.

Stefan Kaschel


If the magic grabs you, it seldom lets go. Once TT, always TT – that’s how many who have been with us for years describe it. It doesn’t matter whether you come as a driver or as a spectator. Even the time-consuming journey with two ferry trips cannot be a deterrent, nor the high costs on site. The Isle of Man is addicting.
Anyone who has never been there will not understand. Shakes his head at dead racing drivers and would-be racers who risk their heads and necks on “Mad Sunday”. These are the things that make the headlines. Quiet avenues, cozy pubs, fabulous people and wonderful landscapes rarely appear there. And it is even more difficult to grasp this very special tension that grips the audience when high-bred racers are driven through narrow village streets at a ludicrous pace, centimeter apart. In this situation, one probably cannot even imagine the tension of the drivers.
That is why it is worth every attempt to describe the very special, tightly woven atmosphere of the TT. For the 100th birthday anyway, because there is hardly a place in the world where the motorcycle can be experienced as intensely as on this small island in the middle of the Irish Sea.

The Tourist Trophy without the Isle of Man – that’s at least as impossible as the Nordschleife without the Eifel. Because this 588 square kilometer piece of earth is not just a scene. The man is the main actor. Your country roads give the racetrack, sheep pastures the gravel beds and the slate walls airfences. The start-finish straight is a thoroughfare before and after the race, and from the Gooseneck, the infamous right-hand bend on the way into the mountains, you can usually enjoy the wonderful view of the sea in peace.
It’s an exciting combination. Because the craziest, most dangerous motorcycle race in the world is framed by the most serene, relaxed, serene atmosphere you can imagine. “Traa-dy-liooar” say the Manxmen in Manx Gaelic, with the English new citizens, who are now in the majority and are referred to by the Manx as “Come over” or “Stop over”, they say “take your time”. You have all the time in the world on the man. It seems all the more absurd when the voice of main course spokesman Charley Lamberts cracks with enthusiasm because TT hero John McGuiness cracks the magical 130s cut at the senior TT for his 100th birthday. In miles, mind you, which is exactly 205.8 kilometers per hour. Driven out on sometimes really bad country roads, with nasty bends and at least three thoroughfares to be taken seriously.

That is the one, loud, adventurous side of this island. The other is often less than two minutes from the route. Where the lush green of the trees turns small streets into enchanted avenues that lead to picturesque places where time seems to stand still. Or where the fishing boats sit on dry land because of the huge tide and wait quietly for the next high tide. And of course also where thousands of lambs romped playfully behind their mother animals in huge pastures. That’s the quiet side. How on earth did the Tourist Trophy come from here, it springs to mind. And how did a motorcycle race survive 100 years in this idyll? The first question is answered quickly. In all of England in 1907 there was a general speed limit of 20 miles (30 km / h). Not on the Isle of Man (and there is still none outside the towns today).
With the second it becomes more difficult. It is probably the combination of English respect for the sports team, which, together with the Anglophile predilection for records and openness to challenges of all kinds, ensured that the Tourist Trophy continues to this day. Because it is precisely this daring, the breathtaking aspect of the undertaking that compulsively drives not only the guests but also the locals to the route. The »Manx« love their »TT«. Even after 100 years.
Therefore the TT time is an exceptional time for them too.

Especially, of course, for everyone who works in the catering trade. And especially on the 100th birthday. Around 20,000 motorcycles and around 50,000 visitors came to the anniversary, roughly double the usual number. And there could have been many more if the ferry capacities had been larger. Already at the turn of the year there was practically no ferry place available. Despite this onslaught, however, which sometimes hopelessly overcrowded the TT course and allowed mountain course foxes to avoid the very early morning, one thing is quite remarkable: the serenity and friendliness of the marshals and police officers, the wait staff and the cashier staff. Which is another reason people love to travel to the Isle of Man. Helpful with this friendly way of dealing with people: the discipline with which even the biggest bully joins the queue of people waiting for beer and burgers. A virtue that one always wishes anew that the continent would take over.

In view of so much beauty, friendliness and serenity that greets you on this island, in view of the serenity during the races and the cheerful party atmosphere in the evening, the question of where the bad reputation comes from remains to be clarified. The answer to this is obvious. People die every year during the TT. During the race, often before and afterwards on the track that is open to everyone. Ultimately, everyone has to decide for themselves how to deal with it. That does not change anything about the fact that the fascination of »motorcycles« can be experienced so closely, so tingly and also as cultivated as nowhere else during the TT on this island.

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