TT Races 2009 – planning – version 1
This information to be sent out to my first batch of TT enquiries. Priority goes to those listed in this document, then it’s wide open to all on the internet. Same info to 40+ people.
I have this information as Word and Excel documents also, which can be sent out later to the firm “YES” people.
For now, I want a swift response of “No Thanks” if you can’t make this trip, or my proposal doesn’t appeal to you, then I’ll remove you from the list. Or, a firm “YES” response, rapidly followed by your deposit, then you’re firmly on the trip.
Hopefully, most items are covered here.
Contents of this lengthy tome.
- Boat tickets
- Travel arrangements
- Proposed guest list (names)
- Accommodation (camping or house)
- The Package
- How to reserve your place
- Bike shipping
My Ferry tickets for June 2009
20 bike & rider motorcycle tickets.
5 bike rider & pillion tickets.
(in other words, 25 motorcycle tickets and 30 people. Plus three in the van)
Sailing out on the Ben-My-Chree from Heysham to Douglas, Friday 5th June 2009 at 14:15pm. Arrive in Douglas 17:45pm. Booking Reference Number G9220xx / 000
Returning from Douglas to Heysham, on the TT Fast Craft, Saturday 13th June at 09:45am. Arrival in Heysham at 12:00 noon.
Support Vehicle (to carry tents / luggage)
Bill’s Ford Mondeo Estate Car, or Stuart’s large Iveco bus. Driver, plus 2 passengers if required. Booking reference G9220xx / 000
Sailing out, on the same large boat as the bikes. Heysham to Douglas, on the Ben-my-Chree, Friday 5th June 2009, at 15:15pm. (arrive in Douglas at 17:45pm).
Returning on the same day as the bikes, but one hour earlier, on the big boat, Ben-my-Chree. Saturday 13th June 2009, leaving at 08:45am, arriving at 12:15pm in Heysham. (the bigger boat is slower)
NOTE – there may be one extra camper van joining our group. Stuart & Sonja are considering going out a day earlier, to grab a good spot. Either, we need to buy an extra van ticket for them (if possible) and give the Phil Anthony group this prime ticket, or, get an extra van ticket for the Anthony group.
Usually a mixture of people from all around the world. Perhaps around 50 or 60% from the UK, 10-20% from elsewhere within Europe, and the rest from USA / Canada / South Africa / Australia. Riders from within the UK and Europe tend to use their own bikes. Others ship them in, or hire something in the UK. There are no bikes for hire on the Isle of Man.
This first draft list of names below, will probably bear little resemblance to the final group. To minimise the 20% drop out rate, I’m now asking for the trip deposits much earlier than usual.
Many UK guests simply meet the main group at the docks in Heysham, 3 hours before sailing. As all the bikes are booked on the same reference number, we all have to meet, and check in together.
Riders from the South of England often join me for the ride up to Heysham. In past years, we’ve normally had a one-night stop over in the Yorkshire Dales; one of our finest National Parks. This gives us a very short ride to heysham the following morning. (Note we have to check in 3 hours before sailing, as there as 500 bikes to be loaded onto the ship)
Riders coming in from overseas will need to arrive a couple of days BEFORE the 5th June, to pick up their rental bike, and make their way up to Nottingham / Yorkshire Dales, or directly to the port of Heysham. This pre-TT trip is a separate issue, and the fine detail will be sorted out later. It’s an “extra” that many UK guests don’t necessarily need or want. Some prefer to follow me, or the van, others ride alone.
If you’ve flown half way across the world to be here, it might make sense to extend your trip somewhat and see more of Great Britain & Europe if you have time to do this.
Note – I provide “The Full TT Experience”. It’s a complete package, where you ride to the port, take the bumpy sea voyage, stay the whole race week, ride the circuit and the whole island, and ride home again. Warts & all, come rain or shine. The mud, the blood and the glory. This is not , a “fly in / spend a few nights in The Hilton, / cut yourself off from the real fans / and watch only from the Grandstand” kind of thing. Doing that is simply missing the whole point in my opinion. There are some people who want just that however. Just don’t apply here. It’s not what I do.
Riders asking for places on my 2009 TT races trip
(remember – a total of 25 bikes, 30 people, plus a van, driver and 2 people)
1. Bill (or Stuart) as “bike leader”. YES 2. Stuart (or Bill) as car / van driver
3. John Mortimer YES 4. Phil Anthony 1 YES
5. Phil Anthony 2 YES 6. John Bell YES
7. Jane Bell YES 8. John Houseal YES
9. Mark McKay NO 10. Bob Gawlor
11. Steve Wilson NO 12. Mal Phillips
13. Ceri Phillips NO 14. Greg Paterson YES
15. Wife Paterson YES 16. Rod Sydenham NO
17. Rick Dobson 18. P Vilaceque
19. Maurice Turgeau ? 20. Ray Coker NO
Brain Cross & friend. Sonja Wegert YES. Aaron Notley – YES.
Andy Smith + Ian from 2008 – YES & YES
Bike / Rider & Pillion tickets
1, Carol & Dick Baker –
2. Nathalie Chalmers & boyfriend
3. Theresa McCutcheon & fiancé
4. Alan Hunt & father
5. Steve Fox & wife
Extras / waiting list / reserves (Driver, plus Jane B? plus A.N. Other in van)
Phil Anthony 3 and Phil Anthony 4 (to join the group in an extra camper van) YES
Helen “Bond”. Just wants to fly in from Birmingham, and stay 5 nights.
George Broaddus? YES, but hasn’t sent deposit
John Barwell & son
Rebecca Moore + 1?
Chris Branningan group?
Peter Mensforth family group?
Lori Baker group? NO
Q. There are more than 33 people listed here? Yes. No problem. At least 20% will drop out.
For 2009 more than ever, the emphasis in on camping. (I’ll explain why in a minute).
I have just one house lined up for 2009. It was reserved for an American group, and I held all rooms for them. But they pulled out, so it’s up for grabs now. The owner has already advertised it elsewhere, so rooms may already have been taken. First priority to those who send their deposits.
I visited and reserved this house during the 2008 TT Races. It’s on High View Road, just off Bray Hill, which a very fast & scary part of the race circuit just after the start / finish straight in Douglas. I can show you on Google Earth or MS Virtual Earth.
There is an “escape route” to the interior of the race circuit via a short snicket wide enough to push a motorcycle through. Access to the outside of the circuit is possible via the Nobles Hospital TT access road.
The house has 3 X King size and 1 X Twin bedded rooms. There are four bathrooms including one of the King rooms which is en-suite. So it will accommodate around 8 people. Shared facilities, and self catering. Walking distance into Douglas.
- double bedroom – two people (couple)
- double bedroom – two people (couple)
- double bedroom – two people (couple)
- twin bedded room. A couple, or two friends.
This house is ideal for a group of friends who all know each other, and it was booked on this basis. The house was confirmed for several thousand pounds and this sum was to be split amongst the group of 8. Now the group are not taking it, it’s a bit more difficult to price it up. It depends how many people stay there. The price for the entire house remains the same. There are no single rooms as such, although if the original group had been taking it, there were to have been 9 people, and they were going to use the living room as sleeping space also.
Just 20 minutes ago, (27th October) I lost the house that I had reserved for TT 2009. Understandably, the owner of the house wants money up front now, but with potential customers who have changed their minds or not sent deposits, I've had to let it go....
Sent: 27 October 2008 11:11
To: 'Bike Tours UK'
Subject: RE: the first 2 for rooms 2009
I have someone who is now paying me a deposit for the whole house, so unfortunately we won’t be able to work together on this occasion. Please keep us in mind for the future, as we have no plans for 2010 as yet.
Thank you and best regards
My TT trip is still going ahead of course - but it will be camping only.
There is a slim chance that I can have one room, in Glen Vine, close to th ecampsite, but this is not confirmed yet.
16 people were requesting rooms in the house, although most changed their minds and did not send deposits.
Mal & Ceri Phillips (double)
Greg Paterson & wife (double) Sorry, it will have to be camping now. (or maybe Glen Vine?)
Carol & Dick Baker (double)
Nathalie Chalmers & boyfriend (double)
Theresa McCutcheon & fiancé (double)
Steve Fox & wife (double)
John Houseal / Mark McKay - Twin room
Rod Sydenham / Rick Dobson – Twin room - cancelled
I have no extra accommodation at this stage. I don’t intend to book any more accommodation just on speculation, although I do have a couple more ideas up my sleeve if really necessary.
The majority of people on the 2009 TT Races trip will be camping. As usual we’ll be out at Union mills, right on the TT race circuit. During “roads closed” there is an interesting escape route via the woods to the rear of the site. Guests can view the racing from the campsite wall, but it’s better to walk on down to Union Mills itself for a better view. Normal practice is to set off before roads closed, to choose a different place for each race, at any point around the island.
There is a café and bar on the campsite now.
The site is a working farm, and I’d better describe it as “fairly basic”. It is a very popular campsite and gets pretty busy during Race Week. The same people come back year after year, and it’s one of the favourite sites for regular TT fans. “Busy” can sometimes mean noisy groups, and queues at peak times for showers. It also means lots of fun and parties. If this sounds like your idea of hell, you’d better talk to me first before signing up. In 8 years of going back there, with perhaps 150-200 camping customers, 5 have disliked the place. That’s to put the one and only serious complaint into perspective. Heart of hearts – you should know whether you’re a natural camper or not. Some people will never be persuaded that camping can be fun.
The campers generally bond very well together and form a strong team – despite the fact that most were strangers before the TT. Heard the phrase “triumph over adversity”? It’s like that. If it rains – it can be miserable, with wet boggy ground. However our sense of humour and stiff upper lip carries us through. When the sun comes out, it’s glorious. We take a mess tent, or use the awning on the van to shelter inside if it rains. As I said though, the campsite has a bar, and there are also two pubs within walking distance, which serve food & Ale. In good weather we often hold a BBQ on site. There is a regular bus & taxi service into Douglas.
My preference is camping because it’s more fun, and makes a less expensive package for guests. There are also smaller amounts of money involved.
Someone else’s amateur video here. It’s virtually all shot on the campsite where we stay.http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=L4OdMaLcoTE
My stronger and stronger feeling to ditch the hotel or guesthouse options is down to price and previous problems. The room rates soar higher and higher year after year. I have to front the money usually 6-10 months in advance – then people cancel, leaving me high and dry, with rooms I’ve pre-paid, but cannot easily fill again if the beds / people / dates don’t fit.
This is a deal which includes;
- Return Ferries from Heysham to Douglas
- 8 nights accommodation (camping or house)
- a support vehicle, with driver to carry luggage where needed.
- Supply of tents to those who need them
- Supply of camping equipment, cooking gear, BBQ tables and chairs
- Full Tool kit for those little breakdowns
- Bill and / or Stuart to provide support, help and back up if needed.
- Assistance in sourcing a rental bike where required
- Assistance with pre-trip logistics and accommodation where required.
- Option to join the pre-TT “mini-tour” into the Yorkshire Dales.
I don’t just supply ferry ticket, or accommodation, unless clearing surplus places due to last minute cancellations.
Couldn’t I just organise this all by myself?
Yes, you could. But you’d struggle to get prime time ferry tickets at this late stage. These boat tickets were booked 4th June 2008. The best weekend, daytime tickets were sold out by the end of that week. It’s a three-part process. You need a ferry ticket, accommodation, and in some cases, a rental bike as well. Your TT trip just isn’t going to come together smoothly unless you can co-ordinate all these things.
Tip for people doing it themselves – the ferry ticket is the single most important thing. Book your ferry crossings first of all, then get accommodation to match your ferries.
NOTE – many guesthouses & hotels will accept nothing less than an 8-10 night booking during the TT fortnight. (Note there is “practice week” first, followed by “Race Week”).
Why book with Bike Tours UK?
You get all parts of the jigsaw organised for you. There is some back up there if you have any problems (people DO breakdown from time to time). There are other people around to “show you the ropes” if you’ve not been before. The best thing? Normally the camaraderie & fun of being part of the group. Warning though – if you’re camping with us, you may be subjected to a very cruel British sense of humour. Something which can be misunderstood by those from faraway lands J
Once again, something I’m always reluctant to quote too soon. Why? Because I don’t yet know how much the ferry tickets are. I will find out Jan 2009. I don’t know the 2009 camp fees, and I don’t yet know the exact cost of rooms and allocation within the house. However – you need to know, so I have to formulate a deal based on previous years, and what I think my costs will be in 2009. December 2008 – I have the invloice for the 2009 ferry tickets now – they have increased in price beyond my predictions. Ho hum – no choice but to pay it. The IOMSPC have the monopoly, and frankly, rip people off. But I’ve quoted you the prices below, so I’ll stick to them.
The “full TT experience” camping package (ferry tickets, camp fees and support vehicle)
£449 for bike & rider.
£299 for pillion passengers.
The campsite is between Union Mills and Glen Vine – 3 miles out of Douglas)
The self catering house package (ferry tickets and accommodation)
£689 for bike & rider.
£549 for pillion passengers.
Based on two people per room – either a couple in a double bed, or two people in a twin bedded room). The house is in Douglas. On High View Road, here http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&FORM=LMLTCP&cp=54.16565~-4.476564&style=h&lvl=15&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&phx=0&phy=0&phscl=1&encType=1 This is an excellent location. Zoom in, look carefully, and you can see how close the grandstand is.
These house based prices are considerably lower than 2008, because I’m hoping the house I’m renting for 2009 will be more fairly priced than the two places I’ve been using for the previous few years. It’s self catering this time, so you provide your own cornflakes and bacon for breakfast J Prices for this house are still to be confirmed with the owner, but these estimates should be OK. For interest, my 2008 prices are quoted below – when I was paying more than this 2009 estimate for my rooms.
Bike & Rider, in Guesthouse accommodation (8 nights) £799 GBP
Pillion passenger £649 GBP
How to secure your places on the 2009 TT Races trip
FOR THE CAMPERS, a non-refundable deposit of £200 GBP per head secures your place on this trip. (this more or less covers the price of the boat ticket)
FOR THE HOUSE occupants, a non-refundable deposit of £300 GBP per head secures your place on this trip. This is because I have to pre-pay the ferry tickets AND the house, long before your actual trip. A sudden cancellation can cause considerable trouble if I’ve pre-paid everything, then can’t get anyone else to fill the places exactly as booked.
I normally ask for full balances to be paid approximately 6 weeks before departure (i.e. mid-late April 2009)
For people in the UK, or with a UK based Sterling bank account, payment by cheque is the preferred option. Alternatively I can accept direct transfers into my business account. I can also accept cheques made out in US Dollars, but any bank charges will be charged back to the customer.
Cheques to be made payable to Bike Tours UK, and posted to;
Bike Tours UK
83 Main Road
If you want to make a payment by direct bank transfer, please request full details of my Business bank account with HSBC.
In the current climate, I’d accept payment in Golden Nuggets either J
Variations? – I don’t really offer “half-weeks”, or “ticket only”, or accommodation only. But as time moves on, and gaps appear, and I sometimes snap up cancelled tickets or rooms off the ‘net, then occasionally the odd maverick place becomes free. Watch my website for details. There are 2 van passenger places (1 if Jane goes again).
I’m happy to chat on the phone. Returning guests know the score (25% of those people on the list), but newcomers don’t know what to expect.
5th October 2008
Tel. 00 44 115 846 2993 (office)
Or 00 44 7973 429631 (Mobile)
Shipping your own bike from the USA or Canada?
Hiring a bike in the UK is quite expensive (£80 per day / £500 per week average). If you need a bike for less than 2 weeks, you’re still perhaps better off renting one here. If you’re going to be here 2 to 3 weeks or more, you may be better off shipping your own machine over here. By sea, it’s a long, slow process, and still expensive. Air freight seems like a better deal.
From past customers
The company we used to fly the bike over is: MOTORCYCLE EXPRESS TRAVEL PROGRAMME, located in Woodbury, New York. Their website is www.motorcycleservices.com The contact person is Gail Goodman and she can be emailed at: firstname.lastname@example.org Phone number 800-245-8726. The bike is flown by weight. Graham's was 393 kg., so cost about $3000 USD. Obviously the fella who is thinking of flying a lighter bike over will maybe pay a little less. But saying that, with the way the fuel charges have been slapped on flights, it may work out the same price.
We also got insurance through them as our insurance company does not insure outside of North America. I would assume they would use an American airline to transport the bike, and he would not have to fly it via Canada! Anyway, check out the website.
The bike did fly over on the same airplane as us. We were able to ride away with the bike within two hours of landing!!! The only stipulation with flying the bike over is you had to have it at the airport 48 hours before departure, both inward and outward flights.
No problem answering questions Lindsey. The TT is a very different experience and can be a shock to those coming from the USA! Ask as many questions as you like :)
"I have a few questions though. I found the price of £449 for bike & rider.
Does this mean it is for the bike rental as well? as he will not be shipping his bike over there I think. If not, then how much is the rental fee? and what is an approximate amount for the ferry?
Basically, how much will it be for him to do this trip (including all but the food and flight)? "
Unfortunatley, the camping prices of £449 GBP (currently around $662 USD) does not include bike rental. (it does include return ferry tickets to the IOM however - which makes up half this tour price).