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If you are interested in marshalling the mountain section of the course, sector 9 is ideal, not only is normal public access to many areas difficult on foot, it can be nigh on impossible on two or four wheels unless you go off road. Weather conditions over the sector can be very variable, I have seen it go from bright sun shine with good visibility to being unable to see 100 yards up the road because of thick mist in the time it takes to make a phone call to control. However if you wrap up warm, and come prepared with waterproofs and sun cream, you should have a good time and will generally find us a friendly, if eccentric, lot.
Generally most spots not only have excellent views of the bikes but, in my opinion, also have some of the best scenery and seascape on the island.
A brief guide to the sector
Sector 9 starts just past the hairpin on the way out of Ramsey. The course rises steeply to Waterworks, the first of our main marshalling points.
Waterworks is a fast right hander and very difficult to spectate from and get a view both in and out of the bend, but as a marshal a different story. Cathy Pullen is currently my Deputy Sector Marshal here, she has years of experience, making it an excellent choice for the novice or recently qualified who really wants to learn the art of marshalling the TT course. Cathy, being a trainer for the St. Johns Ambulance, can offer plenty of advice. There is very limited parking and even that is on the bottom road requiring a stiff walk uphill, but having got there it is really worth it, even if it is just for the view across Ramsey bay and nothing else
From Waterworks the course continues to rise to Tower Bends and Tower Layby, each used to be a marshalling point in it’s own right, but Tower Bends has been eliminated on safety grounds with Tower Layby now being the main point. There is limited parking for marshals in the road to the reservoir car park with hardly any walking. A fast bend but with minimal “in and out” visibility even for marshals, but a spot that it is not possible to spectate from easily unless you are a member of the Orange Army.
Continuing up the hill our next marshalling point is Gooseneck, a well known, popular spectator viewing spot, especially as the Manx radio commentary is usually available on the Tannoy, Gooseneck is a fast, rising right hander, and as many bikers know, very easy to get wrong. However this also means that it’s a good spot for the press and TV crews, (so if you do decide to marshal here be careful not to get “in the news” for the wrong reasons). An easy spot to access, there is ample parking, with access back onto the Laxey coast road, if you want to avoid the course (one way system).
Further up the hill is 26th Milestone or Joeys as it is now known, there is no public parking here so all spectators have to walk if they want to watch from here, but a good spot to marshal from, with parking and a good view of the bikes over a fair old distance.
Next is Guthrie’s, a very fast stretch on rising sweeping bends up to the start of the Mountain Mile proper. I had forgotten how fast they go here, it was awe inspiring when I made my first stop here as CSM, compared with my old spot of Mountain Box it was just jaw dropping. The stone hut is apparently no more, succumbing to the ravages of time and weather, it is now a metal container until decisions are made about replacement. There is very limited parking here but just a short walk up the hill the marshals can park in the forest track. Another area with no public parking.
We then move onto 27th Milestone (or just 27th), the start of the Mountain Mile, another fast spot with a fast left hander rising out of Guthrie’s. The marshalling point here is up on a scaffold which gives quite a good view. There is no public parking, but the marshals can park in the forest track opposite.
Now we are onto the Mountain Mile itself, this is really 3 marshalling points in one, and not a spot for the feint hearted. The main spot is in the middle of the mile with outposts either side. Unfortunately whilst this an excellent section to marshal from, it has very limited parking, with no more than one small car at the outposts and a car and a couple of bikes at the main point. But if you wrap up and come prepared you are in for some very spectacular racing with excellent views of the bikes, over fairly long distances.
My personal favourite is still Mountain Box, not only can you see the bikes rising out of the 27th and entering the mile, but you can watch them all the way along the mile until they pass on towards Casey’s. Unfortunately visibility out of the corner towards Casey’s is not as good. There is ample parking here along the green road, and on a good day you can get plenty of spectators. And if you are into bird watching you can very often see a Harrier skimming the hillside.
Casey’s is a stone built hut on the last right hander approaching Black Hut, a good spot to watch from but with very limited parking even for marshals. However there is some parking available at Black Hut a couple of hundred yards up the road.
Black Hut is the last marshalling point on sector 9, a fast left hander, where you can see the bikes coming out of the bends from Mountain Box with the riders setting themselves up for the Verandah. A good spot to watch from, but with limited parking. There is no public parking.
I hope this has given you a flavour of sector 9 and if you fancy marshalling the mountain section I think you would find sector 9 very rewarding. It is a very varied section, with many challenges, not least the weather, but if you are up for it why not give it a go.
If you need any further information please email or ring.
Looking forward to seeing you at the TT, MGP or better still both..
Alan Washer Chief Sector Marshal