The Manx Grand Prix is a test of both bike and character. The Snaefell Mountain Course is a testing, obtuse playground of velocity and adrenaline. Rider’s enter from all walks of life, from vying amateurs hoping to make a name for themselves to policemen addicted to speed.
We caught up with a few of the riders that entered the Manx GP this year to find out more about what drives these individuals to ride on the edge in the pursuit of ultimate speed.
Insight from riders who have completed the circuit and are regulars to the annual two-week race meeting highlights the extent of the task at hand as previous Manx GP competitor Andy Fenton, a window fitter, explains:
“My first marshal escorted lap I thought how the hell can I race this thing! I can’t make a proper apex at this slow pace, my teeth were chattering and I had a headache from all the bumps, but they all plane off when you get up to proper race speed skipping over them rather than feeling your riding through a council estate with more speed humps.
My newcomers practice in the GP had me again on a standard Yamaha and comfortably set the fastest pace all week with plenty in reserve, but brake failure ended my race in lap 2 and I had a fight with the Creg ny baa pub. The race was won by local superstar Tim “Time Bomb” Venables who had an unfortunate off in the Junior.”
– Andy Fenton
A love for motorcycles and catching the bug that is hitting courageous speeds is the simplest explanation for the motivation behind such pursuits. The Manx GP is brimming with hopefuls jostling for a spot on the grid of the Isle of Man TT.
As explained by the entrants to this year’s Manx GP above, it’s the test that’s satisfying and the atmosphere is worth soaking in, but the track itself demands respect. Fenton gave some advice to Manx GP newcomers, adding,
My advice to any newcomer to the Manx GP is to not rush it and let it come to you! The TT course is an amazing place to race but is very unforgiving. I have cheated death a few times around here – being unlucky and lucky at the same time. Some of our friends have not had the luck and have lost their lives or had career ending injuries, this place demands respect. Respect it and you will have the best experience of your life.
When you have studied this course and learned everything you think you need to learn about it you have only turned one page. Patience is something you need here. I have none and its bitten me on the backside for it – take your time, enjoy it and the results will come to you.”
– Andy Fenton
The conclusion must be this: you have to be mad, passionate or a fine mixture of both to compete in the Manx Grand Prix. The 60.7 km circuit is the ultimate test that is open to entries from across the globe. Despite the dangers, competing is worth it for the atmosphere and the pure form of racing that the Manx Grand Prix highlights. Imagine crossing the line having completing 242km (4 laps) of one the most testing circuits a rider can hope to conquer. It’s the ultimate challenge.