Just as it would be impossible to imagine the Derby taking place on any other course but Epsom, or the Oxford and Cambridge Boatrace taking place on any other river but the Thames, so it would be impossible to imagine the Tourist Trophy Motor Cycle Races taking place on. any other Course than the world famous circuit in Mona’s Isle.
I think I am right in stating that some seventeen years ago, when it became necessary for England to produce a team (by competition) to represent that country in the Gordon-Bennett Races to be held in France, that the now Sir Julian Orde (then Secretary of the R.A.C.) came to the Island, and induced the Manx Legislature to pass the necessary legislation to enable the roads to be closed for the purposes of motor racing.
Taking advantage of that legislation, the A.C.U. have, from that time to this, with the exception, of course, of the war years, held annually their races in the Island, and the result has been all for the good of the sport, of the trade, of the Union, and of the movement.
It would be difficult to find in any part of the world a motor cycle to equal the British product. The frame of the modern motor cycle, the forks, the steering, the flexibility of the engine, the ” pick up,” the gear box, and the high engine speed, have all been evolved from the lessons learnt on the Manx course. It might be Possible to find an equal, it would be impossible to find a better, course.
For a moment think of the Quarter Bridge, of Ballacraine Corner, of the quick drop to Michael and Ramsey, including the famous Sulby Bridge, of the well known mountain climb, containing the Hairpin, and the Gooseneck, of that wonderful drop through the Kepple Gate, past Creg-naa-Baa, and then, perhaps the tit-bit of all, the famous Governor’s Bridge. Every part of that course has stamped itself upon the British motor cycle.
Just as there is a goodwill attached to almost every successful business, so there is a goodwill attached to the Tourist Trophy Races and the Isle of Man. Divorce one from the other, and you destroy the goodwill. On the grounds alone of the excellence of the course, and its wonderful Opportunities for the testing of acceleration and braking, etc., the T.T. Races, I submit, Should not be taken away from the Island.
Then again from the publicity point of view, the very fact that the races take place in the Isle of Man, lends to the race an additional charm which would be absent if the races took place in England or elsewhere. The mind of the world couples up the Tourist Trophy races—Isle of Man, and everyone interested to-day in the sport of motor cycle racing looks back with pleasure upon that wonderful, if somewhat hectic time, called T.T. week.
There are two other points I should like to touch upon, and these two briefly. The first is that there is no place so situated as is the Island, with a course at its door, which provides such wonderful accommodation at such remarkably low rates.
If the course were situated in England, it would have to be in some “out of the world” place to avoid the heavy commercial and pleasure traffic which is to-day such a characteristic of English country life. England is a commercial country, the Isle of Man is a pleasure country. We thrive and live on giving pleasure to thousands of people annually, and it is our chief source of income. The T.T. Races are a business proposition.
They are no longer only a sport. Everyone connected with the races is out for what he can get. The Island puts up with the disadvantages of the races—and the disadvantages are many—it puts up with the roar and rattle which goes on for some three weeks ; it puts up with every law in the Island being set at defiance, because it pays it to do so ; because the fame the races bring to the Island is so great, that it is worth all the annoyance.
I would refer, briefly, to the gratitude which ought to be felt (and which, I believe, is felt by many) by everyone connected with the T.T. Races to the Island for having provided such facilities for so many years. The Island has spent many thousands on road repairing— this year alone it has spent £33,000 on the Course.
No other municipality, or urban council, or county council, could afford, or would afford, to spend such sums on the roads. It must be borne in mind too, that good roads are essential for the speeds which are put up to-day, and the Island can offer such roads. The race in the Island takes place on main roads; the races in England would have to take place on third-class roads because of the traffic on the main roads, and third-class roads in England are not good enough for such a race.
In conclusion, I would reiterate the three points why the races should not be taken away from the Isle of Man: because an equal course offering such a wonderful testing ground could not be found—and to use an inferior course in England would tend to lower the present magnificent standard of machines attained through the lessons learnt on the Manx course ; because of the goodwill that appertains to the motor cycle races by their being run elsewhere; and, thirdly, because of the great debt of gratitude due to the Island for providing facilities for motor racing when no other part of the British Isles was prepared to do so.
If the T.T. Races are for the public, a spectacle only, then they might go to England, but if the Races are to improve the machines, then they must be left where they are— in that little Island in the Irish Sea.