Ferry bookings for this year’s Festival of Motorcycling – the new name for the events which include the 90th anniversary Manx Grand Prix races and the inaugural Classic TT races – are 17 per cent up on last year.
During the course of the two weeks, 3,250 motorcycles are booked onto ferry crossings, according to the most recent figures released by the Steam Packet Company. This follows a 9.4 per cent increase in motorcycle bookings for the 2012 races, before the latest changes came into effect.
The event’s new title reflects the multiple different attractions in the two-week period, which kicks off with nightly practices (except Sunday) on August 17.
For fans of the modern race, these are on Wednesday August 28 and on Friday 30. A parade lap celebrating 90 years of the Manx Grand Prix will take place on the Wednesday in which all past winners are eligible to take part including some of the great names from the history of motorcycle racing.
This too will be complemented by a variety of attractions, including a catering village, beer tent, sales area, live music and a photograph exhibition from the Mortons Media archive. There will also be an authentic 1960s cocoa tent, a regular feature of the TT paddock in days gone by.
The event opens over the bank holiday weekend with the Classic TT races on Saturday. On the same day there will be a re-enactment of the classic 1967 race involving Giacomo Agostini and Mike Hailwood – won by the latter on a Honda when the chain on Agostini’s MV snapped. The Italian himself will take part with multiple TT winner John McGuinness representing Hailwood.
The area behind the TT Grandstand will take a step back in time to the 1960s with displays from the vintage motorcycle and classic car clubs, collections of racing motorcycles as well as chat shows and autograph signings with the most famous riders. Historical race footage will be played on the big screen and live music from the 60s will also be featured along with vintage fairground rides and a Punch and Judy show. Fans will be encouraged to attend in 60s-style fancy dress.
The popular VMCC’s Festival of Jurby is on the middle Sunday at Jurby race track where there will be displays of classic and vintage bikes, classic cars and parade laps involving a host of famous names from the world of motorcycle racing, riding some exotic and rare machinery. There is also to be a Dakota fly past.
The Manx Classic Trial and the Manx two day trial also form part of the festival.
This year’s event will be the first under the new format which sees both the classic and modern races continuing but with the classic bikes over the bank holiday weekend and the modern races on Wednesday and Friday, rather than the two alternating as before.