Success of exhibition celebrating heritage of TT course

EXHIBITION: Pictured is one of the motorbikes at the Mountain Miles exhibition. PHOTO: Mike Wade MW120403 (1).

EXHIBITION: Pictured is one of the motorbikes at the Mountain Miles exhibition. PHOTO: Mike Wade MW120403 (1).

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THE TT exhibition at the House of Manannan is continuing to be a success.

Since it opened in May 2011 ‘Mountain Miles’ has attracted over 34000 visitors of all ages, but time is running out to view the exhibition, the last opportunity to view it being on June 10.

The exhibition charts the story of the world’s oldest still-functioning motorcycle racing circuit, and looks at some of the history, what draws riders from all over the world to race here and also why some high profile names have refused to take up the challenge.

The exhibition was opened to mark the centenary of racing on the 37.73-mile course, and features everything from motorcycles, racing memorabilia, leathers and trophies to historical artefacts relating to the story of the Mountain Course.

Highlights include a medal awarded to a long-serving special constable who was on duty at the TT every year, nursing memorabilia from first aiders on the course and marshalling artefacts. Visitors are able to watch races from the past courtesy of historic film footage from the Manx National Heritage archives. There are leathers worn by Beryl Swain, the first female solo competitor, in 1962, and the Yamaha OWO1 ridden by Carl Fogarty, in what fans regard as the ‘greatest ever’ TT race, the 1992 Senior.

The star of the show is, however, undoubtedly the Humber motorcycle which won the first ever race held on the Mountain, the 1911 Junior TT, with Percy Evans riding. He won in a time of 3 hours 37 minutes, at an average speed of 41 miles an hour. The Humber firm was not well known at the time and this magnificent and historic machine has kindly been loaned to Manx National Heritage by the Sammy Miller Trust. Accompanying it is the original trophy awarded to Evans in 1911, loaned this time by the Oswestry Road Racing Museum in Shropshire.

Curator of the exhibition, Matthew Richardson, said: ‘Manx National Heritage has received enormous support from the Sammy Miller Museum, and we are tremendously grateful to them and to the Oswestry Road Racing Museum, for their help with this exhibition. It is really heartening to see the affection for the Isle of Man and its racing which exists in so many other museums and in so many parts of Britain.’

The TT Course is widely recognised as one of the toughest motorcycle racing circuits in the world. It is hard on machinery; unlike the billiard table tarmac of most short circuits the many bumps and uneven surfaces contribute to chain wear, and the steeply climbing Mountain Mile punishes engines and gearboxes alike.

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