Telegraph rates Classic TT one of the greatest biking events on the planet
Named this week by the Daily Telegraph as ‘one of the best biking events on the planet’, the 2017 Classic TT presented by Bennetts, part of the Isle of Man Festival of Motor Cycling, this week sealed its reputation as a nostalgia inspired forward thinking sports and lifestyle event to rival any in the annual worldwide Motorcycling calendar.
The event saw the best motorcycle racers tackle the TT Mountain course on machines rooted in the Isle of Man’s rich heritage, interspersed with a packed schedule of sold out events that supported the high quality entertainment.
The Classic TT centres round a four-day programme of entertainment across the August Bank Holiday weekend, which sees some of the world’s most valuable motorcycles being raced around the 37 and ¾ mile TT Mountain Course.
Stand out performances included a brace of lap records for the evergreen Bruce Anstey from New Zealand. Anstey smashed the previous best speeds in both the Motorsport Merchandise Superbike Race where he finished runner up to Bradford’s Dean Harrison, and the Dunlop Lightweight Race, which he won convincingly including the first 120mph lap of the Mountain Course on a 250cc machine. 2015 British Superbike Champion Josh Brookes won the Bennetts Senior Race on his Classic TT debut while TT veteran Michael Rutter took the honours in the Sure Junior event, a race he had previously won back in 2015.
For 2017 the entertainment on track also included a recreation of Bob McIntyre’s first 100mph Mountain Course lap by leading current TT racer Michael Dunlop on an exact replica of the Gilera machine McIntyre used 60 years previously as well as an appearance from one of the most technically advanced machines ever to race in the TT – the priceless ‘Honda 6’ owned by New York based Team Obsolete and demonstrated by former Honda TT factory rider Steve Plater..
Away from the race track this year’s entertainment included the now traditional Classic TT Paddock Carnival which drew large crowds, a vintage car and motorcycle Concours d’Elegance competition, an outdoor cinema screening iconic motorcycle themed films, live music from the award winning '50s act The Bluejays, stunt shows from the iconic Purple Helmets and the Vintage Motorcycle Club’s Festival of Jurby with thousands of fans visiting the event at Jurby Aerodrome.
This year there were sold out notices posted for the grandstand seats for all of the Classic TT Races while tickets for the Classic TT Party and RST Heroes Dinner also both sold out in advance.
The Department of Economic Development, promoter of the Classic TT, has commissioned a visitor survey to review the economic contribution that the event makes with the results expected to be available in October. The early indications suggest another significant increase in the number of air and ferry visitors, with the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company reporting a 5.6% increase in the number of motorcycles carried for the Festival of Motorcycling this year.
TV highlights of the Classic TT will be aired on ITV4 this Thursday at 9pm featuring highlights of the four races as well as coverage of the Festival of Jurby. The programme will also go behind the scenes and look in depth at some of the bikes making the headlines at this year’s event. A number of international broadcasters are also expected to carry the programme.
Vince Chaney, Managing Director, commented:
“Bennetts have proudly title sponsored the Classic TT since its inception in 2013 and have enjoyed watching it grow at a rapid pace in such a short period of time. The event offers fans a unique blend of high-speed racing and a varied mix of off track entertainment whilst drawing in the most wide-ranging mix of classic and vintage motorcycles you will find anywhere in the world. The Classic TT is a great platform for us to engage with our customers and we look forward to seeing it develop and grow in the years to come.”
Laurence Skelly MHK, Minister for Economic Development added:
“We believe that the Classic TT has reached a tipping point in terms of awareness and interest and is now firmly established in the eyes of classic and vintage motorcycle fans around the world as the premier event in its genre after just five years. We will continue to build on this interest to grow the event’s contribution to the Island’s economy through increased visitors and spend as well as maximising the significant commercial opportunities and growing the media profile of the event.”
The Festival of Motorcycling also includes the Manx Grand Prix which concludes this week with the Senior MGP on Friday after three exciting race days including some stand out performances from newcomers to the TT Mountain Course in Monday’s Newcomers race and Wednesday’s Junior and Lightweight MGP Races.
Rob Callister, Isle of Man Government Political Member with Responsibility for Tourism and Motorsport commented:
“We owe a huge debt of gratitude to everyone that has supported the Festival of Motorcycling including all of the volunteers, the dedicated marshals and medics and officials of the Manx Motor Cycle Club, the organisers of the event who have helped us to established a really vibrant two week festival.”