The security fencing is already in place around the paddock, the bales are out around the TT course, a few early arrivals have already staked out their territory in the competitors’ camping area and the weather has taken a traditional downturn – all of which means it’s the eve of the island’s Festival of Motorcycling.
The Festival of Motorcycling is the umbrella title for the range of attractions during the fortnight which complement the core events of the Manx Grand Prix races and Classic TT.
First practices take place on Saturday, roads closing at 5pm with Newcomers’ sighting laps at 5.20pm. No practices take place on Sunday but they continue on Monday, August 18, and each night with roads closing at 6pm ready for a 6.20pm start.
The huge number of competitors attracted to this year’s races has prompted organisers to fit in extra practice sessions along with the races on Saturday, August 23, and to accommodate this, roads will close earlier at 9.30am rather than midday. Crossing points will open between 2.30pm and 3.15pm.
The now established Jurby Day, organised by the island branch of the Vintage Motorcycle Club takes place on the middle Sunday (August 24). A vast array of vintage bikes are usually in evidence, on display and lined up in the parking area. Parade laps by famous names from bygone TT races, a band and a variety of stalls and food outlets all make for a popular event which attracted more than 5,000 visitors last year.
The start of the fortnight also sees the Manx Two-day Trial taking place on August 23 and 24, and on August 30 and 31 there is the Classic Two-day trial.
Racing kicks off over the bank holiday weekend on Saturday, August 23, with the 500cc Classic TT race and on Monday, August 25, there is the Classic TT 350 race, the Formula I and II Classic races and the Newcomers’ Manx Grand Prix race.
Racing continues on Wednesday, August 27, with the Junior and Lightweight Manx Grand Prix and ends on Friday, August 29, with the Senior.
Following last year’s 60s theme, this year’s Classic TT will focus on the 1980s and Joey Dunlop. The event will feature a paddock carnival at the TT Grandstand on Friday, August 22, when visitors will be invited to dig out their shoulder pads and ripped jeans to dress the part. There is also to be a display of Joey’s racing bikes.
A host of well-known names will be taking part in parade laps, including Dave Roper, the first American TT winner, Graeme Crosby and Carl Fogarty, who was runner up to Steve Hislop in the famous 1992 TT race. Fogarty will ride a Honda RC30 in the Joey Dunlop Road Racing Legend parade lap which takes place on Saturday, August 23, and a Ducati in the Classic TT lap of honour on Monday, August 25.
Steve Hislop’s 1992 winning ex-works Norton, now on display at the motorcycle museum in Birmingham will also take part in the Classic TT lap of honour, as will Robert Dunlop’s Norton, ridden by his son, 11-time Isle of Man TT winner Michael.