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TT Circuit

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TT Circuit
Location Map ( geo)
The TT Grandstand Area - Isle of Man - Geograph - 31739.jpg
The Pits.
Cameraicon.png View gallery (57)
From:  Douglas (SC382774)
To:  Douglas (SC382774)
Via:  St Johns, Kirk Michael, Ramsey
Distance:  37 miles (59.5 km)
Old route now:  A2, A1, A3, A18
Primary Destinations
Grid References
Start/Finish Line: SC382774
Highway Authorities

Isle of Man

Traditional Counties

Isle of Man

Route outline (key)
A2 Start/Finish Line, Douglas – Quarterbridge
A1 Quarterbridge - Ballacraine
A3 Ballacraine – Parliament Square, Ramsey
A18 Parliament Square, Ramsey – Governor's Bridge, Douglas
A2 Governor's Bridge, Douglas – Start/Finish Line, Douglas

The Isle of Man TT Course, also known as the Snaefell Mountain Course is one of the world's most famous motorbike courses. It is akin to Germany's Nurburgring for cars. Unlike the Nurburgring though this course is normal roads that everyday cars use all the time. It formed the British round of the FIM Grand Prix race (now Moto GP) untill 1976.

Because of its popularity, and due to its route running on standard all purpose roads that close for the race by a local government act, the route of the TT course has regularly appeared on maps of the Isle of Man, to inform drivers who may wish to use the route at non-race times.

Route

The Start Finish Line

The Start/Finish line for the TT Circuit is located on the A2 at Noble's Park in Douglas. A large, brick grandstand stands behind the pit lane, which is normally gated to vehicular traffic, but open to pedestrians. From here, the course proceeds in a clockwise direction, heading south west along the A2, Glencrutchery Road and then Quarterbridge Road to Quarterbridge itself. Here the route turns right onto Peel Road, the A1 and crosses the River Glass, before heading north to Braddan Bridge. A left-right double bend takes the route over the River Dhoo, past Old Braddan Church and an Industrial area to Union Mills, effectively a suburb of Douglas.

The TT Course continues to follow the A1 through Glen Vine and Crosby, along long undulating and slightly sinuous straights through the villages and intervening fields. A twistier section then winds through Greeba and on to St Johns, where the A3 is met at a crossroads at the entrance to the village. The TT Course turns right here, onto the A3, which soon drops down into the valley of the River Neb. This produces a winding route, with many named bends as it passes through Glen Helen, before it eventually climbs out into the fields above the valley. A series of long, generally undulating straights, with some sharper kinks takes the route north across the landscape. It then dips down into Glen Wyllin, and after crossing the burn, follows it downstream to Kirk Michael.

Sulby Bridge

The TT Circuit continues to follow the A3 as it heads north above the coast, and then curves inland, following the lowest slopes of the hills around to head east through Ballaugh and along the Sulby Straight into the village. After crossing Sulby Bridge at a sharp double bend, the route passes through a series of small villages to reach the outskirts of Ramsey. The A3 is followed right to the end in Parliament Square, where the TT course turns right onto the A18, and begins the epic climb up out of Ramsey and into the mountains.

The start is tame enough, running out of town, and into the trees, but then the Hairpin doubles back up the hill, curving around the bends above the Waterworks and on to Gooseneck, a near-hairpin right hander. A long winding climb follows, with a pair of very tight kinks over old bridges which are brightly painted with white, yellow and black stripes. The views are outstanding, but the road is narrow, so any oncoming traffic demands the drivers full attention. More narrow bridges follow, but none so bad as the first two, and a series of roadside Marshalls Huts are dotted along the roadside. The long left hand bend at Mountain Box crests a ridge and suddenly Snaefell summit comes in to view ahead.

Bungalow, below Snaefell

The route then curves round the headwaters of the Sulby River, before crossing the watershed and running across the eastern slopes of Snaefell itself, high above the Laxey Glen which stretches out to the coast below. A few more bends lead out onto the plateau at the Bungalow, where the A18 crosses the Snaefell Mountain Railway next to a junction with the A14. The route crosses the watershed once more, back into the upper reaches of Sulby Glen, and passes its summit at 422m. From the next bend, Brandywell, the route starts to descend, gently at first as it winds down round Windy Corner, but steepening after the bend at Keppel Gate. A short straight leads down to the Creg ny Ba Hotel, where the route turns sharp right onto a longer straight, and then round the next bend the outskirts of Douglas come into view.

The TT Course follows the A18 into Douglas, turning sharp right at the roundabout at Signpost Corner and then winding through modern housing to meet the A2 at Governors Bridge. Here, the course goes around the roundabout, and takes the final exit, dipping down around the old bridge before rejoining the A2 for the last straight to the finish line.

Signage

There are semi-permanent signs around the course identifying the mile markers (1-37) and most of the named bends and other features along the route. There are a couple of stretches where the signage seems to be rather sparse, perhaps suggesting that temporary signs are used during the races but removed due to land ownership or other reasons. Signage is only installed in a clockwise direction around the course, as it has not (in recent years at least) been used for racing in an anti-clockwise direction. However, many of the signs are prominent enough to be identified as such when travelling anti-clockwise.

Mile marker signs are orange squares with the numbers in large black text. Bend signage currently has a black band at the top with the TT logo in it, then a white band with the name, followed by a tall 'map' type depiction of the bend ahead. This shows the road in white with orange to either side, and often simplifies the actual severity of the bend, particularly when there are a series of bends.

Black and white kerbs on Ballaugh Bridge

Another feature of the course is that many of the kerbs, particularly around the inside of bends, are painted alternately in black and white in order to make them more visible. When passing through the towns, this is a good means of ensuring you stay on the route if the signage (or your navigator) lets you down!

Race Preparation

Much of this information is based on the Google Street View from June 2022, uploaded by a biker who rode the circuit in traffic during the TT season.

In an attempt to make a road circuit safe for high speed motorbike racing, a variety of measures are put in place. Traffic sign poles and street light columns are wrapped in cushioning, and cushions are also placed in front of walls and buildings along the route. This is not armco or tyre walls as seen in Formula 1, but padded cushioning in sections, perhaps half a metre thick. By no means all of the route seems to be protected in this manner, perhaps only those sections where there is the most danger. No additional protection is provided on the Mountain Road sections.

In addition to the permanent marshals huts provided on the Mountain road, many other temporary marshal posts are installed along the route. Most appear to be small scaffolded platforms with steps, a few look more like garden sheds. All of the rural ones are also provided with portaloos. Scaffolding is also widely used to build seating areas. Some are presumably official and ticketed, others in beer gardens, car parks, fields or even peoples gardens. However, due to the nature of the course it must be impossible to charge the majority of spectators, with long stretches where people can watch from their homes or the open hillside.

The TT circuit effectively cuts the island into two parts, that within and that without the course. However, in Ramsey the only connection from the A2 to the north end of the island is over the Ramsey Swing Bridge with height and weight restrictions, really making three parts. A number of footbridges allow pedestrians to cross the course, but there is only one road bridge over or under the course, and that a temporary installation utilising an old railway line which is now a footpath and cycleway connecting Douglas and Peel. This is the TT Access Road which passes under Braddan Bridge in Douglas. Due to height and width restrictions, it is only open to light vehicles and has a number of passing places on the narrower section.

Finally, the A18 Mountain Road is made one-way southbound, in the direction of the race route, presumably with northbound traffic diverted onto the A2 along the coast through Laxey.

Statistics

The route is just under 38 miles long, and the course record on a bike is 17mins 42 secs, and for a car 18:35. However with normal traffic it takes around about an hour for a higher performance family car to navigate the route, and this could easily be increased substantially with slow traffic on some of the sections where overtaking is particularly difficult. Apart from the mountain road, and the A3 north of Kirk Michael, there are few stretches where it is possible to safely exceed 60mph for any significant length of time.

History

The TT Circuit and associated details are often marked on everyday maps, here on an OS One Inch Seventh Series map from 1970

The TT Circuit was the British Grand Prix for Bikes until 1976. In the very early years, it was known as the Four Inch Course. While the route has not changed substantially since, there have been variations of the route, such as the Highroads Course and there are also a number of shorter circuits which use sections of the TT course, including the Clypse Course and the Willaston Circuit.


Links

Isle of Man TT Course



TT Circuit
Junctions
Crossings
Roads
Places
Related Pictures
View gallery (57)
A18 road from Kate's Cottage to... (C) Chris Gunns - Geograph - 789222.jpgApproaching the A2 junction with the A18 (C) Andrew Abbott - Geograph - 3148643.jpgTt-acc-rd1.jpgUnion-mills-br1.jpgA3-b17-churchtown.jpg
Other nearby roads
Douglas
A1 (Isle of Man) • A2 (Isle of Man) • A5 (Isle of Man) • A6 (Isle of Man) • A8 (Isle of Man) • A11 (Isle of Man) • A18 (Isle of Man) • A21 (Isle of Man) • A22 (Isle of Man) • A23 (Isle of Man) • A24 (Isle of Man) • A25 (Isle of Man) • A33 (Isle of Man) • A37 (Isle of Man) • A38 (Isle of Man) • A41 (Isle of Man) • A42 (Isle of Man) • A43 (Isle of Man) • A44 (Isle of Man) • A45 (Isle of Man) • A46 (Isle of Man) • A47 (Isle of Man) • B11 (Governors Bridge - Ramsey) • B12 (Douglas - Cronk-ny-Mona) • B13 (Ballanard - Sir Georges Bridge) • B15 (Braddan Bridge - Injebreck) • B17 (Kewaigue - Foxdale) • B18 (Ellenbrook - Orrisdale) • B27 (Isle of Man) • B33 (Braddan) • B61 (Isle of Man) • B62 (Isle of Man) • B63 (Isle of Man) • B64 (Isle of Man) • B65 (Isle of Man) • B66 (Isle of Man) • B67 (Isle of Man) • B68 (Isle of Man) • B69 (Isle of Man) • B70 (Isle of Man) • B71 (Isle of Man) • B72 (Isle of Man) • B73 (Isle of Man) • B74 (Isle of Man) • B75 (Isle of Man) • B76 (Isle of Man) • B77 (Isle of Man) • B78 (Isle of Man) • B79 (Isle of Man) • B80 (Isle of Man) • B81 (Isle of Man) • B82 (Isle of Man) • Clypse Course • Marine Drive (Isle of Man) • TT Access Road
St Johns
Ramsey
Onchan
Manx Road Racing Circuits
TT Circuit · Jurby South Circuit · Southern 100 Course · Willaston Circuit · Highroads Course · Clypse Course · St Johns Short Course


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