Why do you love TT?

Thursday 9th June 2022 4:00 pm
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TT visitors’ opinions on the Isle of Man and the TT - first time visitor Julie Johnson (Preston, UK)

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With the influx of motorbike fans on Manx shores for the TT, the Isle of Man Examiner went to Glen Lough campsite to seek different tourists’ views on the TT and why they think the famous road race is so special.

The island has roared back to life after three years without the event, and Glen Lough campsite has seen both the return of old faces as well as welcoming new ones.

Diane and John Hartnell, Ria Pepper and Dave Mills are Glen Lough regulars, travelling to the island to camp in the same field at the Marown based campsite year on year with the community spirit and love for the event bringing them back.

Coming to every TT since 1998, Diane and John Hartnell, from Devon, explained their disappointment in missing the event during the pandemic.

Mrs Hartnell said: ‘It wasn’t just the fact that we were caged in at home, it’s the missing all your friends, missing the atmosphere and you miss the racing, and the Manx people are just so friendly and so welcoming!’

Mr Hartnell added that the togetherness in the campsite is a main pull factor in returning to the TT.

He said: ‘The community is very friendly, the camaraderie is really good here, that’s one of the biggest reasons we come back every year to see everyone, it’s like coming back to another family.’

Dave Mills, of Abbey Wood in London, and Ria Pepper, of Stafford, have been marshalling in the Ballagarey area for 15 years, which is just down the road from Glen Lough.

Mr Mills said: ‘I love marshalling, it’s the atmosphere and getting so close to the bikes, as well as the feeling that you’re needed.’

Ms Pepper recalled a story from a previous TT when marshalling, she said: ‘We get a lot of breakdowns, and we’ve had some funny times, I remember a sidecar crew broke down and they got out [of the vehicle] and just started shouting and swearing at each other, we just left them to it!’

Marty Sluyter and John Binns have both travelled to the TT from Tallahassee, Florida, with Mr Sluyter coming to the island for the very first time, which has been an ambition of his all his life.

Mr Sluyter said: ‘The Isle of Man is a Mecca for motorcyclists, and I guess it’s been a lifelong dream to come here and do this, and from what I’ve seen of the island so far I’d say this place is heaven on earth.’

Mr Binns, who has watched the TT once before, believes it’s not just the racing that brings him and other tourists back.

He said: ‘The racing is fantastic, but truthfully when I was riding around after a few years yesterday, I realised there isn’t a place on this island that isn’t pretty for one reason or another, from quaint little villages to coming over a hill to a view of the sea, it’s all varied and different.’

Paul Mcloughlin first came to the island for the TT in 2019, and this time has brought his daughter Tiana, travelling from their home based in Warrington.

Mr Mcloughlin said: ‘When I first came I just fell in love with the place, I won’t miss another TT. I won’t allow myself to, definitely not.’

Tiana Mcloughlin added: ‘My dad surprised me, I woke up to a message of the booking details and I was really excited.

‘From what I’ve seen I love the island, it’s really relaxed and nobody seems worried about anything.’

Julie Johnson, from Preston, is at her first ever TT, and believes her experience so far has been ‘mind-blowing’.

Ms Johnson said: ‘My friend has told me all about it, and I wanted to come and try something different.

‘Glen Lough is great, you’ve got everything here, I just load up my wine and head to the trees and sit with a little chair.

‘I was in absolute awe of the bikes, I think I swore quite a lot as it was my first time ever seeing it, the feeling, the smell and the vibrations, wow!’

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