With the start of TT looming, everyone is getting so overly excited that the atmosphere is verging on mania. I overheard a woman on Strand Street (who was clearly in her fifties) excitedly tell her mate that she ‘might call in sick in race week’. Karen, you devil.
She was wearing a pant suit, and her hair was pulled back into a very shiny, conservative chignon. It was clearly the most radical thought she’d ever had, and I could see the pained expression on her face as she tried to look casually indifferent whilst fighting the urge to proclaim herself ‘mental’.
But that’s what TT does to folk. People who are usually the epitome of restrained, whose definition of going wild is a cheeky Baileys after dinner on a Thursday, end up blowing chunks on their way home down Duke Street, right up The Buttery’s door.
TT is basically just thousands of people pretending to be chill and trying to remind themselves that there are a whole two weeks of madness ahead of them, and that they should be sensible and not fritter away their entire reserve of serotonin during the first weekend. TT exists outside the laws and conventions of everyday life, which explains why, in the throes of high-octane madness, it is perfectly acceptable to not turn up for work and get drunk on a school night.
The TT is made up of two components: the bike racing and the après-bike racing. Neither can survive without the other. True, the after-party is pretty much dependent on the bike racing, because without the bike racing there wouldn’t be a TT at all, meaning no two-week party. But a TT with only bikes and no alcohol would be, well, upsetting. Like Ant without Dec. Mario without Luigi. It just wouldn’t feel right.
That’s why the Trackside paddock bar is the ultimate marriage, a heady melange of petrol fumes and alcohol. Open from 12pm to midnight every day, it’s an unmissable trackside position at the TT Grandstand, featuring daily live music, an epic drinks menu, and everyone’s favourite pizza purveyors, Bella Pizza, who’ll be serving made-to-order Italian fare until at least 9pm every night. Winner winner, pizza dinner.
They’ve even got the return of their award-winning ale, Okell’s 1907, that was originally crafted to celebrate the centenary of the TT Races in 2007, alongside their extensive range of premium wines, spirits, and soft drinks.
Saturday 25th May sees the paddock bar throw open the containers and welcome the arrival of the Isle of Man TT Races 2019. Featuring a private bar and seating, flat screen TVs showcasing the biking action as it unfolds, and terrific views of the return lane, The Tracksides viewing platform packages are selling fast and have been doing so since they were announced.
Practice Week day tickets are priced at £15 per person, including your first libation free, and Race Week day tickets will set you back £50 per person, with tickets only left available on Saturday 1st June and Senior Race Day (7th June). You can contact the team by email ([email protected]) to buy your tickets.
And then there’s their musical roster of home-grown musical talent including The Tides and Man in The Woods (a full list of The Tracksides line-up can be found here).
For more information, search TheTracksideIOM on Facebook or email [email protected].