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With over 60km of road making up a lap of the Isle of Man TT course, spectators are able to see the action from literally hundreds of vantage points. From watching on the grandstands to peering through a hole in a hedge, each spot has its own appeal. With a bit of input from famed TT rider, Cam Donald, here are our top 6 spots:
While it’s not always easy to secure one of the 1000 seats in the main grandstand, it has a brilliant view of the TT start line, and the 170mph-plus stretch that sees racers complete one circuit and blast towards Bray Hill. Once the race is in motion, you’ve got a bird’s eye view of ‘pit lane’, where the riders stop every two laps to re-fuel and fit fresh tires. The re-fuelling hoppers are far from high tech, in fact they are just simple gravity fed drums. This is the same system that has been used for most of the TT’s history and is the same for each competitor. You can also watch the local scouts hand paint the positions and lap speeds as the race progresses. This is a tradition which they have been following for nearly 100 years!
The Isle of Man TT Grandstand is next to the paddock, where you can watch the teams at work and meet some of the competitors. The Grandstand is also home to the scrutineering area. Here you can watch the machines being inspected, and see the press center, where the top riders are grilled after each race. Behind the TT Grandstand you will find an assortment of shops offering refreshments, merchandise and more, as well as the loos!
BOTTOM OF BRAY HILL
One of the most popular vantage points, you must get in early to find a spot but this really is a ‘must see’ to truly appreciate how steep the gradient is as it approaches the Bray Hill dip. Bikes actually leave scrape marks here as they touch the tarmac at around 280kph! If you can’t get a spot down the bottom, then Lancaster road and Malvern road offer some opportunities to catch a glimpse of the action.
The narrow main street through the sleepy village seems almost too tight for a two lane road. The race bikes look like they are trying to thread a needle as they pass through this section at 280kph. There’s plenty of great spots to watch the racing from – with a pint in hand – throughout the village. You can usually find a small crowd at Whitehorse Park, while some side roads offer limited spectating.
ST NINIAN'S CROSSROADS
Competitors speed down Glencrutchery Road from the grandstand, and attack the first crossroad on the course. A crest in the road will see fresh air under the tires as the race bikes literally ‘fly’ through here. You can actually see the grandstand from here, but viewing is best from St Andrew’s Churchyard or St Ninian’s High School playing fields.
As the course now heads up the mountain, it gets a little more remote and tricky to define specific vantage points. It’s worth the effort though, to make your way up to the ‘Gooseneck’ that signals the start of the ‘Mountain’. From the tight right hand bend, you will see riders given messages providing their race position via boards on the roadside. Look back towards Ramsay on a clear day and you will see the coast of Scotland in the distance.
The Famous Creg-ny-baa is steeped in history as one of the most spectacular landmarks on the World Famous Mountain Course. The iconic pub is the ideal spot to watch the bikes appear from Kate’s Cottage, and leap over the jump as they speed towards the grandstand on one of the fastest sections of the course. Our packages include a Creg-Ny-Baa Grandstand ticket, which offers unrivalled views, public conveniences, live commentary and food and drink available to purchase. You can even upgrade and join the TT VIP Club, which caters to every need a die-hard Isle of Man TT fan can possibly have!
CAM DONALD'S SPOT - HILLBERRY
This is my personal favourite spot to spectate from as the bikes take this super-fast right hand turn through a dip at breakneck speed. Not always easy to find space on the hedge but well worth the effort to get a spot. A small 200 seat grandstand gives you the optimum vantage point here, but there may be a small charge. You can also plonk down behind the road closed barrier on the Little Mill Junction.