Bumper Isle of Man TT 2013 in prospect

TT fans pack Bushy's Beer Tent

TT fans pack Bushy's Beer Tent

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HEALTHY homestay bookings, vibrant VIP experience sales and at least one new big name rider already signed up the ingredients are all promising a show-stopping TT this summer.

But the future of a much-loved part of the TT landscape still hangs in the balance as Douglas Council decides whether Bushy’s beer tent will continue to be part of the promenade landscape.

The tent has occupied the same position opposite the Jubilee Clock for the past 15 years ever since the famous Bushy’s pub at the end of Victoria Street shut after TT 1997. Tenders for the right to occupy the site for the next three years closed on Friday.

Bushy’s boss Martin Brunnschweiler said: ‘We have put our tender in and we are keeping our fingers crossed that we are successful.’

Grandstand tickets for Senior race day have been sold out for weeks and a host of temporary viewing areas – or ‘fanzones’ – dotted about the course which made a first appearance last year are also proving popular.

Around 3,000 tickets were sold last year for the new Fanzones which were at Crosby, Creg-ny-Baa, Ballacrye and Ginger Hall.

A spokesman for the TT organisers said: ‘This year we have already sold 2,000 tickets for the fanzones so we are expecting to exceed last year’s total easily.’

The Fanzone which was at Ginger Hall last year proved less popular and will not be there this year but there will be a viewing platform at Rhencullen, a popular viewing spot on the exit of Kirk Michael village where increased restrictions on viewing have been much bemoaned by spectators.

As well as seating, the Fanzones boast parking, refreshments, commentry and wi-fi - the latter is among the facilities being reviewed currently for an improved service this year.

Though race entries for this year’s event, which runs from May 25 to June 7, don’t close until the end of February, British Superbike racer Josh Brookes has already annouced his intention of lining up for his first TT alongside regulars such as John McGuinness, Guy Martin, the Dunlops and local riders like Conor Cummins and Dan Kneen.

At £800 apiece, VIP tickets, giving access to the special VIP areas where holders rub shoulders with celebrity guests and riders don’t come cheap, but 80 have already been sold for Senior Race Day. An even more sought-after premium package is now sold out.

The dedicated TT stand is now a fixture at the Motorcycle Live show at the NEC in Birmingham and also generated huge interest from prospective visitors.

In November the Steam Packet said it would be chartering an extra vessel and bookings were 10 per cent up on the same time the previous year.

As ever, householders in the island wanting to join the Homestay register are always welcome.

The government currently has around 200 homes on its books but more are always welcomed, particularly as high numbers are expected this year. The number to call for anyone wanting to offer Homestay is 686802.

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