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Isle of man TT June 2018

Discussion in 'Travel' started by CaliSean, Sep 3, 2017.

  1. CaliSean

    CaliSean New Member

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    I am looking to take my dad over to the 2018 races (June 1-4) as he has been wanting to go for a long time. I would love to get some collective wisdom of the best trip possible here.

    Some things I have been trying to figure out:
    1. Are the package trips really worth it? Example (
    2. Is getting in the grandstands in Douglas fun and worth the time?
    3. Is it reasonable to go to the Isle without a car or bike? Trying to travel light as we want to go on to the continent after the races?
    4. Have any of you ever use some of the glamping service providers out there? Example:,
    5. Any specific must see/do things at the TT that make it a special event for you?
    I really appreciate the collective experiences from the group here and look forward to your input.
    ray2 likes this.
  2. Bunter

    Bunter Active Member

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    Start with 3. If you want a bike or car on the island that means a ferry crossing and it's highly unlikely you will be able to book anything for 2018 now direct with the operators. That means a re-seller, package trip or eBay tickets closer to the time which carries risk which you might not want to have with such a trip. I've been twice but both times took a bike. The island bus service is popular and I've used it occasionally in the evenings so I think it works quite well but I've no direct experience of moving around the circuit on race/practice days. Having been with a bike for two years and knowing the circuit a little better because of that I would consider going without a bike.

    2. How physically able is your Dad? The grandstands in Douglas are OK but for me the real joy of the TT is finding great places to watch outside the grandstand - in places you are so close to the track you are close enough to touch the riders. You will be really surprised at how much accessible viewing is available but some does depend on being up for a hike or sitting in awkward positions for long periods of time, sometimes in places without a loo or food/water. I'm currently blessed with a bladder & stomach than can go all day without outputs/inputs :) so I love finding a spot early on and getting fixed there, chatting to other fans and waiting for the helo to come into view signalling approaching riders - the distant dopplered whine of a bike on full throttle approaching for the first time set the hair on the back of my neck going. Of course there are spots outside of the grandstand which have great viewing and toilets/chairs/food laid on and those can be really fun too. For me the grandstands, meh not so much but it depends what you want and what your Dad is able to do.

    4 & 5. Not done glamping, and it will always be a special event for me without any other thing to see or do. The island is famed for changeable weather and you have to be flexible to go to the TT. Race days get cancelled, race and practice days can run together and that all means being flexible. It also can impact on to where you decide to watch the race. If there are delays to the racing (frequent) and you pick somewhere where you are trapped it might take the gloss of things. For me riding the circuit was important mainly to scope out viewing spots but also because I've followed the TT for years.

    If you have any more questions I'd be delighted to help out, I have a ferry booking for 2018 but have not decided whether to go yet.


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  3. Andy Griffiths

    Andy Griffiths Well-Known Member

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    The package trips will get round the questions you are posing here by providing you with a set itinerary and fixed travel arrangements. It may well be the best way to do this trip to make it easy . My wife booked a 4 day trip for us a few years ago that included a hire car and it worked fine. The hire car made a big difference as without transport you are restricted as to where you can get to/from. I agree with Bunter in that getting into the country or up the Mountain is a fantastic experience. I prefer to find a spot with toilets and a refreshment wagon ( maybe my bladder is not as good as his). There are loads of grr spots.
    Also, if you are not going for the whole festival a car allows you to move during the race day so you an experience different things. For example, watching 200bhp Superbikes through the bottom of Bray Hill is amazing so you could do that in the morning and then move to the Gooseneck which is a slow hairpin above Ramsay for the second race. The former is really difficult to take pictures and the latter excellent.
    I am booked to be there and will happily buy you a drink and watch somewhere with you. Thats all part of the fun. I spent 2 hours at Black Dub last week taking to a guy from CA who had flown in and rented a bike locally. He was having a ball.
    Now, if its you Dad - maybe you should think about the Classic ? See my thread . I took my father in law and he loved it - already pestering me to go again.
    Happy to assist with any more questions.

    Oh, have a look at the IOM Homestay website - great way to stay with local families
    CaliSean, ray2 and Bunter like this.
  4. Graham Lewis

    Graham Lewis Active Member Contributor

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    I am also going next year on the bike and have been a few times, met people over there who found public transport ok and were able to get around fine. I met some Aussies in 2014 who flew to England and hired bikes from there then took the ferry over. Not certain if your Dad is a biker. the ferry tickets not bought up are re-released sometime early in 2018 I think but this may be too late to book other things. I have camped (only 4 days) then moved to homestay which was excellent and last time and this time in an apartment. Like Andy I need a loo fairly close as my bladder is showing signs of age.
    there are many great places to watch and if you want a grandstand then I would suggest Creg ne Bar and if you cannot get on the grandstand then there is many places to watch from take some portable seats with you.

    Happy to meet up with fellow RS forums for a drink be good to organise something
    CaliSean, ray2 and Bunter like this.
  5. Aussie Import

    Aussie Import Well-Known Member

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    I did a package trip with my eldest son in 2013. I was happy with it. It was good to have a hotel room. The alternative accommodation in the converted shipping containers was woeful. Tents? Nope. Too old and I can afford the tariff.
    Grandstands at Douglas - sure, if only to see it - but there are better places. I thought Craig Ne Ba was good, but there are really many spectator areas and moving around with a tour bus and grandstand tickets at various places is the best way to see it. The Douglas grandstands are in front of the pits; and you should really take the time to walk around the pits.
    I was fine without a car or a bike (couldn't fit either into my luggage). With your own vehicle it would be even better, but for the first time, buses are fine. (we had a guided tour with Cam Donald).
    Glamping? No. Hotel room? Yes. Beer on tap? Tables and chairs and hot meals? Yes. Showers? Yes. Nice beds? Yes.
    We met up with one of Australia's (we can claim him now) best riders in the GP circus in the 60's, Barry Smith, in Douglas , and had a really nice dinner at one of the many small hotel dining rooms as they are spread around Douglas. It was a great evening.
    The hospitality of the locals was wonderful. My son and I watched one of the races down Bray Hill. For those that don't know it, the bikes start off at the grandstands (just opposite the cemetery, and then cross an intersection that normally has traffic lights, and it heads down Bray Hill. The road is a two lane, not particularly wide. There are footpaths about a yard wide, and then there are front fences.
    We were walking down the hill and a local home owner invited us into his front yard to watch. He had set up benches and there was a "safety rope" between his land and the foothpath.
    The top 12 or so bike thundered through so fast, so loud, so vital, that it left my insides jiggling with their speed. "Gone in a flash" is pretty well it. I had a journalist's pass when the bikes ran at Bathurst, and was at the speed trap at the top of Conrod Straight when the unlimited sidecars raced decades ago. They were ripping past at 160 mph. I was a bit further away than on Bray Hill, but not much, and I couldn't even recognise outfits that I knew well. The speed on Bray Hill was higher. I was never able to focus either my still camera or my video camera to catch them. At the bottom of Bray Hill is a kink to the left and then to the right and they are gone. At the bottom there is another set of lights from memory.
    On the last Sunday in 2013, I think it was the Unlimited, but it was the last race, a rider lost the bike on Bray Hill. He was ok, but the bike cannoned into a make-shift grandstand in what may be a parking lot for a convenience store at the bottom the hill, and the impact injured 6 spectators. The race was delayed for 3 hours because they had to be ferried to the hospital, leaving the ambulances "off circuit" for that time.
    Is it worth the money? Yes, every penny.
    Are there motorcycle related things to do on the Island? Yes. Lots.
    Is the food good? Mostly - but then, again, it is still in the UK....
    Loved it. Period.
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  6. Vtbob

    Vtbob Well-Known Member

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    My wife and I went a couple of years ago. Bruges, Belgium part of the trip for my wife and Race for me. This was more of a Tourist visit vs a dedicated Race visit (which I would have preferred)... We got a room in down town Douglas...well worth it. You can walk to the pits/ grandstands/start/finish and a couple of the good corners,Quarterbridge, Governor's and Bray Hill.
    I was disappointed that I could not find a way to rent a motorcycle or evan scooter to do a lap of the track while my wife shopped. Car rentals where sold out too! I was fortunate enough to have a friend of a friend who lived on the Isle who was extreme gracious (felt pity) and spent a better part of a day driving us around the course, stopping and many spots with a running dialogue on race history. YOU MUST FINE A WAY TO TOUR THE TRACK. Until you see it all you have little appreciation of the difficulty, concentration needed to race the Isle!
    There is local transport via the Steam Train (nice to see in itself) which goes to the south of the Isle. Great history , wonderful Norman Castle, food, etc. The the north is the electric train that goes all the way to Ramsey. It has an spir at Laxey that will take you to the top of Snaefell (i.e. crosses the mountain course part of the track). Well worth it.
    The practices are as good as the race itself, just not as many riders on the track at the sometime. Practice goes on several days before the race...but like an earlier post said rain, weather etc makes the timing of these highly variable so you can go with the flow. The is a radio you can buy that broadcasts what is going on during the race..practices etc. well worth it. Maybe it is on cell/internet now...but cell service was spotty when we were there.
    Get the tourism brochure from the Isle. BOOK you room NOW if you can.
    Do it!

    ps If you take the electric train north there are private motor cycle museums of the race at 2 stops. there is also a race museum in Douglas. Food bad (greasy) to great...just like anywhere.
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2017

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