Event Review

REVIEW: Isle of Man CC 2014

by Sean Lacey

GB Flag

REVIEW: Isle of Man CC 2014

Date: Saturday 27th September 
Distances: 1, 2 or 3 laps (37.7, 75.4, 113.1 miles) 
Entry fee: £35, £45, £55 (solo, team entry varies) 
Start: TT Grandstand, Glencrutchery Road, Douglas 
Catering: Hot and cold drinks at start, water and food at both stops 
Feed stops: 18 miles, start / finish 
Participants: c. 50 
Timing: electronic tag 
Signs: yellow signs with black arrows & marshals on key corners 
Goody bag: Event T-shirt, certificate, Isle of Man merchandise, free drink at the social 

I first rode this event in 2012 (its first year) and thoroughly enjoyed it, and after missing last year's edition was hungry for another trip to the island with my wife and daughter in tow to make a mini-holiday. This year we would up the ante though and shun hotels in favour of the cheaper option of camping. In late September.   

As we had a lot of luggage with the tent and gear, along with the bike, we once more took the car. We had to catch the ferry over from Heysham this time as there were no sailings at the time I wanted from Liverpool, but it was no trouble, just a little further up the M6 to the Steam Packet companies dock. Steam Packet are the only company to run ferries to the island, and fortunately for my daughter and I, the vessels (ship from Heysham, catamaran from Liverpool) are modern and well stabilised. Today though the sea was smooth and calm, making for a pleasant sailing. 

Ready to board 

Cheap accommodation with a view 

On arrival we made for the campsite, just a couple of miles away and took advantage of the fine weather and lack of wind to get set up and settled in. I chose to bring the Raleigh Militis over with me, and with the bike checked over and good to go, we had a pleasant evening before an early night ahead of tomorrow's riding, with the surrounding hills and Snaefell Mountain itself as our backdrop. 

Waking up at 6am, the view wasn't as impressive through the gloom and early morning mist as the sun slowly started to rise, but my porridge pot (great invention) and coffee brought cheer. Heading out as quietly as I could, the open roads beckoned and confident I knew the way to the grandstand I was off. Shortly however, it was evident that I didn't know the way, but a good nose for navigation got me there, to find I was first to arrive. This gave me time to catch up with organisers Laura and Joe (and their new addition of baby Indie) and their crew. Riders arrived over the next half hour and soon we were lined in the pit lane ready to head out. 


Ready to go 

The initial few miles take you out of Douglas and into the Manx countryside (right past our campsite), heading through rolling farmland before trees and forest scenery take over as you climb the first of two major hills on the course up to Sarah's Cottage. This section is really pretty with streams and small waterfalls dropping down through the forest and lush greenery. Back out into the rolling farmland and towards the small town of Kirk Michael. Out of the village we headed over Ballaugh Bridge, famous for the images of motorbikes literally flying over the hump and onto the midway feed stop located at Sulby. Plenty of water was available for top ups, along with bananas, cake, chocolate; the usual fare for a smaller sportive. 

Continuing north to the coastal town of Ramsey signalled the start of the serious climbing section of each lap with a trip over Snaefell Mountain. Initially pretty steep for the first two miles, with spectacular views over Ramsey and the surrounding coastline, it eases off as the road runs along the spine towards the summit and location of the famous Bungalow and Electric Railway stop, 5.5 miles into the climb. Although this spinal section isn't steep, it is exposed and with the sea only a mile away it can get a bit blustery, making it hard work, but today the weather was on our side. The first lap over it was great, and the sight of Hailwood's Height marks the end of the climb and the start of the fast flowing descent down past Creg-ny-Baa and on into Douglas and the start / finish at the grandstand. 

To the left... 

And straight ahead 

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Official Review

1. Feed Stops (correct foodstuffs and energy drinks, the right many, well spaced) 6 out of 10
2. Timing (correct and easy to use) 7 out of 10
3. Signage (Clear, concise, maps, profiles, route card) 8 out of 10
4. Facilities (HQ, Parking, Toilets) 9 out of 10
5. Support (Sag Wagon, Outriders) 8 out of 10
6. Friendliness / Professionalism (Sign-in, marshals, support) 9 out of 10
7. Website - ease of use (Online and postal entry, clear concise) 9 out of 10
8. The Course (Area of outstanding beauty/scenic, quiet roads, cleverly designed?) 8 out of 10
9. Would you recommend it. (Would you ride again?) 8 out of 10
Overall Rating 80.0%

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