Explainer

All you need to know about the return of the Isle of Man TT races

Thousands of fans are expected to visit the island over the two-week period of TT.

The Isle of Man TT is making its grand return after a three-year break due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

'TT' stands for 'Tourist Trophy', which is apt given the thousands of visitors the Island receives during the two-week period to watch the thrilling spectacle.

So here's a guide to all the things you need to know about the return of the iconic races.


New Additions for 2022

While much of what fans are familiar with has stayed the same, organisers have introduced a variety of new features to the races.

These include:

  • LIVE Streamed Coverage - opening up the TT to be watched live around the world

  • TT 'Fan Zone' - giving fans free access to riders, interviews and videos at the Grandstand

  • Reduction in grid numbers - 50 per race

  • Warm-up laps during race days

  • Refurbished Race Control Tower - installing new equipment and technology to help manage racing

  • Digital Scoreboard - replacing the old wooden scoreboard

  • Digital Red Flag - a new safety system installed around the track to manage red flag incidents

All Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted on the Isle of Man, meaning no rules around testing, face coverings or social distancing.

The paddock now includes a new 'fan zone', an upgraded control tower, and a studio for the live broadcasts. Credit: Duke Travel

Race Schedule

Practice Week:

  • Sunday 29th May - 12:30pm - 6:30pm

  • Monday 30th May - 6:00pm - 9:30pm

  • Tuesday 31st May - 6:00pm - 9:30pm

  • Wednesday 1st June - 6:00pm - 9:30pm

  • Thursday 2nd June - 6:00pm - 9:30pm

  • Friday 3rd June - 12:30pm - 4:30pm

Race Week:

  • Saturday 4th June - 10:00am - 9:00pm

  • Monday 6th June - 10:00am - 5:00pm

  • Wednesday 8th June - 10:00am - 5:00pm

  • Friday 10th June - 10:00am - 9:30pm

The full racing scheduled for 2022 can be found here.

The festival lasts two weeks so riders can practice for the first week, followed by race week in the second.

103 Years of Racing

The Isle of Man TT is an annual event that has been held on the Isle of Man for most years since 1907.

It was not until 1911 that the course was extended to what is known today as the 'Mountain Course' made up of 37.73 miles of public roads.

Since then, the event has often been named the 'most dangerous racing even in the world', due to the number of fatalities there has been while racing.

The only times the races were cancelled was from 1915 to 1919 due to the First World War, 1940 to 1945 due to the Second World War, 2001 after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease, and in both 2020 and 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Setting off on the start line at the Isle of Man TT in 1955. Credit: British Pathe

The Course

The TT course is made up of 37.73 miles of public roads and is often known as the 'Mountain Course' due to the last quarter of a lap, which sees the rider travel over the Mountain Road from Ramsey to Douglas.

A total of 37 milestones are positioned around the course, one at each mile of the track.

Many of the corners around the track have been named, some after individuals linked to the TT.

For example, the 'Morecambe Missile' John McGuinness has a corner on the course named after him.

The course consists entirely of public roads with a range of urban streets, main roads and a section over the iconic Mountain Road. Credit: ITV4

Race Format

Riders compete in a time-trial format, setting off at staggered times in an attempt to set the fastest time around the course.

Races take place on public roads which are closed to everyday users at various times throughout the two-week period.

The event consists of one week of practice sessions, where teams can become familiar with their bike on the course, followed by race week.

Michael Dunlop lining up on the start line receiving the tap on the shoulder letting him know he can set off. Credit: ITV4

Where can I watch the races?

Those attending the races in-person are encouraged to watch the races at various positions around the course, with the Grandstand being a popular central point.

ITV4 will also be broadcasting an hour-long highlights programme on various nights through the TT fortnight.

In a new move this year, TT+ is a new digital streaming service that will be showing the races live for those who are unable to travel to the Island.

TT+ can be downloaded as an app on Android and Amazon Fire TV devices. Credit: TT Isle of Man

TT in Numbers

The current lap record is held by Peter Hickman who set a time of 16 minutes and 42.7 seconds in 2018 with an average speed of 135.452mph.

Out of all of this year's riders, John McGuinness holds the most TT wins having won 23 in his TT career, with 47 podium finishes.

He is then followed by Michael Dunlop with 19 wins and Ian Hutchinson with 16 wins.

The fastest average lap speed set in a sidecar is 119.250mph which was set by Ben and Tom Birchall in 2018.

Since the races started in 1907, 260 riders have died while taking on the course.

Michael Dunlop sharing a moment with the trophy after winning at the TT.

The Marshals

Marshals are an integral part of the TT races making sure the event runs as safely as possible.

Just under 2,000 people registered to become a marshal for the TT in 2019.

Around 25% of those are Manx residents, with 60% from the UK and the remainder from all over the world.

Approximately 600 marshals are needed per racing session.

There are 12 Chief Sector Marshals positioned around the different sectors of the course and ten Deputy Sector Marshals.

Almost 2,000 people registered to be TT marshals in 2019.

The Isle of Man TT 2022 takes place from Saturday 28 May to Friday 10 June.