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Racing Lines 2

An exhibition at the Manx Museum (11 May – 1 Sept 2019) showcasing the Island’s new TT gallery.

The Isle of Man TT – the Greatest Show on Earth

The TT races are arguably the Isle of Man’s greatest contribution to the modern world. Racing began here almost by accident, when the British government refused to close roads for the purpose. The independent Manx parliament was better disposed, and so began more than 110 years of two, three and four wheeled history.

TT (Tourist Trophy) rider number 51 passes over Braddan Bridge in front of a large crowd seated in the church grounds, n.d. Image ref: PG/5996/4

The TT has had a huge impact on the Isle of Man, shaping the landscape, language and culture of the Island; but more than this, developments in rubber technology, fuel, combustion engines and aerodynamics have contributed to automotive and aeronautical development around the world.

When Honda wanted to expand into Europe, they started on the Isle of Man. Honda is now one of the world’s greatest companies, but the tradition continues, with electric bike technology being pioneered here.

We want to present that story.

New Gallery – New Opportunities

The story of the TT has never been fully explored on the Isle of Man. It’s about more than just motorbikes. It’s about the pioneers who carried a plug spanner in their sock; the Nazis who wanted to prove their racial superiority, and the Italian aristocrats who vied to be the fastest – and the coolest. It’s about the Japanese businessmen who wanted to reach the west, the men and women who dreamed of glory, and about the men and women who stand in huts on the Mountain, without whom it just couldn’t happen.

It’s about sponsors, mechanics, fans, tea ladies, Mad Sunday, and buying the T-shirt. It’s about pubs, bike clubs, getting on the ferry, and watching on a live feed on the internet.

John McGuinness holds up three fingers marking his third win of the week, at the Grandstand, 2006 TT (Tourist Trophy) Image ref: PG/8333/4

We want to celebrate all those things.

Have your say

What do you love about the TT? What do you think is important? Why do you think it should be in our new gallery? Are you a Dunlop fan or in the Hutchy camp? Did you witness Foggy versus Hizzy? Do you remember Mike the Bike’s comeback? Maybe you were here in 1957 to see the McIntyre do the ton.

Racing helmet worn by Mick Grant. Object ref: 2017-0115

Maybe it’s the machinery that interests you, or perhaps the sight of tarmac-scuffed leathers fires your imagination. Do talking heads help you to get behind the scenes of what really goes on in a race team, or is it the camaraderie with others, who have come here from all over the world, that makes it special? What about the sounds that raise the hairs on the back of your neck?

Large stoneware urn in memory of Karl Gall. Object ref: 2017-0156

We want your help.

After twenty years – the final lap

On display are some of the items that we have collected since the idea of a TT museum was first launched in 1997. We hope that they will give you a flavour of the breadth of our collections, the way in which we want to tell the story of racing on the Isle of Man, and of the people who make it happen.

In two years we intend to open a new, purpose-built gallery but there are still many areas that we have not yet covered. There are many significant riders for example, who are not represented. If you think that you can help us, with ideas, with objects, with funding, or if you would just like to be kept informed of progress, please fill in a survey sheet and hand it in at the shop.

We want to complete the picture.

John Surtees, TT (Tourist Trophy) rider, 1955. Image ref: PG/12100/3

Get into gear at the Manx Museum

Have you visited this fantastic TT exhibition at the Manx Museum? It’s your chance to find out more about the amazing history of this unique event – did you know for example that in 1938 and 1939 Adolf Hitler sent a crack team to the Isle of Man to demonstrate German sporting superiority, just as he had tried to do with the 1936 Olympic Games.

This is no ordinary exhibition however. As the museum gears up for a major new TT gallery opening in two years’ time, this is your chance to have your say about what is important to you about the TT, and what you want to see on display.

Don’t miss out.

Start of 1935 Senior TT (Tourist Trophy), 1935 . Image ref: PG/0329/14

For more details see: www.twitter.com/racinglines18

Racing Lines 2 is a free exhibition at the Manx Museum and runs from 11 May – 1 Sept 2019.