As the Manx Grand Prix draws to a close, Lee Brooks went out and about to find out from fans what they thought of this year’s event.
Greg Willig, Dave Ablitt, Ron Baker, Nick Keeley, Graham Holland, Andy Taylor have all travelled from East Sussex for the Grand Prix:
Greg:‘It seems quieter this year. Even as we drove off the ferry it seemed there were a lot fewer bikes along the prom compared to previous MGPs.
‘That could be the cost of getting here putting a lot of people off – that’s the worst part. But the racing is always brilliant.
‘We come to the Manx for the classics, though we like the modern stuff as well – we shouldn’t have to come to the TT to see 600cc races for example. The Manx Grand Prix should be a mix of classic and modern but with the emphasis on classic.’
Ron: ‘We haven’t been keen on the increase in restricted areas for spectators, like Rhencullen and at Ginger Hall in Sulby. Though it does encourage us to head out and find new places.’
Mark Gledhill, of brewery Heron and Brearley, which is running the beer tent at the Grandstand: ‘The tent has been flat-out busy. The MGP attracts a different kind of rider to the TT, it’s more family-orientated with fewer petrol heads.
‘We’ve sold more bitter than lager at this MGP – the opposite of during TT.
‘Being more tight-knit also means everyone is affected by injuries and deaths, there have been some sad moments this year.
‘I think the ITV4 TT coverage and the Closer To The Edge film has lifted the profile of biking in the Isle of Man. The Manx is growing, because of the variation of bikes competing. You can hear the throaty sounds of different types of engines, there was a real buzz around the paddocks in practice week.’
Andrew Sarsby and Adrian Reddy from King’s Lynn in Norfolk are veteran visitors for the TT, though 2011 is their first Manx Grand Prix:
Andrew said: ‘The first attraction was that it’s cheaper than the TT. We are staying in Douglas for a week for the price of two nights during TT. We’ve come for the TT for more than 15 years but the atmosphere was getting disappointing.’
Adrian added: ‘We gave it a miss this year for the MGP. The TT crowd are into R1s, we’re into classic bikes. All the classes at the TT are similar. Though the introduction of 650cc Super-Twin race this year at the Manx is good, they’re real racing bikes.
‘There’s a more mature attitude, you get cut up on the roads less than during TT!
‘The MGP is getting more coverage in bike magazines. We can see it getting better – we’ll find out when we come back!’
Martin Leaman is here for his first Manx Grand Prix after visiting from Hertfordshire for the TT and Southern 100 earlier this year: ‘I love the classic bikes, the Manx Nortons. The VMCC Festival of Jurby on Sunday was great. The easy-going mood of the MGP is the attraction, I don’t think there’s anywhere else you can go and mix with the racing teams, wander around and see what they’re tinkering on.’
Kirree Glaister, Breeshey Glaister and Chris Ormesher are working for the Duck’s Cross Racing team behind rider Grant Wagstaff.
Breeshey: ‘The conditions of the paddocks are better this year. The teams are more spread out, making better use of the space, and grip tracks have been put down in the grassy areas where people have got stuck in the past.’
‘The profile of the Manx is rising, people were talking about it at UK race meetings like Cadwell and Snetterton, and there’s more coverage in magazines like MCN.’
Chris: ‘The morale is high, there are lots of newcomers and more international teams this year.
‘A map of the paddocks showing where each team is would be handy though.’