It’s all about motorbikes on the Isle of Man during TT week, from sunrise to sunset. But at other times of the year motorsport of the four wheeled variety is also very popular, and the Isle of Man has a higher than average percentage of interesting cars given its small size. Whilst most of them stay hidden away during the two weeks of the TT, I did manage to spot a few interesting rides during my visit.
The island seems to be a giant playground designed for the sports car. There’s over 500km of twisting roads, and outside of the big race weekends they are almost always deserted. Couple that with a very lenient and understanding police force and no speed limits outside of the towns, and you have a supercar dreamland. It’s probably the only place in the world where you can exercise these cars as their makers intended.
The Isle of Man also benefits from some very lenient tax laws making it a haven of a different kind also. There’s plenty of money about on the island, so the proportion of people able to own something special is much higher. You move to the island to save on your tax bill, and the side benefit is miles of driving roads right at your doorstep. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.
Another thing I noticed was the complete lack of poseurs. Cities like Singapore and Dubai are filled with supercars, but there’s nowhere to drive them properly. This is contrasted by the Isle of Man, where there’s no point trying to pose in a supercar outside of race week because there’s simply no one to pose to. Pure driving is the only reason you’d own one here, and that’s the way it should be.
The Mk1 Ford Focus RS is a cult hero car that we never got in Australia. Channeling the Colin McRae early noughties WRC vibe, they look so aggressive but this is exactly how they came from the factory. And 212hp through the front wheels? Craziness!
We spent one of the TT race sessions spectating from someone’s front yard. The owner directed me through his garage to the toilet, and I nearly had a heart attack when I saw his Escort RS Cosworth sitting covered in dust. It was briefly used by Ford for demonstration runs at Brands Hatch with various Formula 1 drivers behind the wheel, and the current owner bought it from Ford. With just 12,000 miles on the clock it’s in beautiful condition, and it gets exercised from time to time on the mountain roads.
For some reason I’ve never really noticed the current generation Renault Clio Sport in Australia, but they are everywhere on the Isle of Man. With a wild range of colours, big Brembo brakes, grippy Recaro seats and an aggressive bodykit, they seem to me to be almost a baby GT3 RS.
Just look at the vent behind the front wheel – pure aggression. Some models even have exhausts that exit downwards into the diffuser. I might have to try and drive one of these at some stage if I can.
Words and photos by Andrew Coles#360 Modena #458 Italia #Audi #BMW #Citroen #Clip Sport #Cosworth #Ferrari #Ford #Isle of Man #Lamborghini #Murcielago #Renault #Travel #Triumph #TT