Planning your trip to the 2020 TT

Lee Johnston with a quick flight over Ballaugh Bridge.

As some of you know, I live in Minneapolis, there is snow on the ground, my GS and my RR are both tucked away for hibernation. 

Although the 2019 Isle of Man TT is long since in my rear-view mirror, I have been traveling to US BMW Motorrad dealers to present my Up Close at the TT multimedia program.  This weekend I am off to BMW Motorcycles of South East Michigan (12/7) and then on to BMW Motorcycles of Temecula, CA (12/14).

It really is a great job. I get to take photos of amazing riders and incredible machines and then I get to show off my photos and talk about one of my favorite things to talk about to people who actually want to listen. 

I am really fortunate that I have a topic where there is both broad and historic interest. Almost everyone who joins me at my program, at one time or another has said, Someday – I want to go see the TT

For 2020 the TT runs from Sunday May 31 through Friday, June 12th.  Solely based on the way the dates fall, this is a bit later than in 2019. Also, there has been a change in the schedule.  For 2020 practice starts on Sunday afternoon instead of Saturday. I have included the official schedule below.

If you need convincing about the event, here are a few comments from guys who really know – 

  • Get on a plane and get over here, because there is nothing else like it, it’s so special.  Peter Hickman  
  • I tell people that if you don’t believe me how amazing the TT is, they should go buy their ticket, book their place to stay and if they don’t love it, I will pay for everything! It’s that amazing. – Lee Johnson. 
  • Just get yourself over here, it’s worth it. Come over support the American racers, it really is the greatest show on earth. – Sam West
Sam West cresting at Ballagarey during a 2019 practice session.

One of the most asked questions I receive, is when should I go? I can’t go for the entire fortnight, what is the best time to be there? 

One thing you have to keep in mind is weather. One if the reasons the Isle of Man is so green, is it that it rains, and no one races in the rain!  The risk is too big and the margin for error too small. 

2018 was a year of fabulous weather, 2019 not so much. It is possible to plan a short trip to the TT and not see any racing.  

My plan for 2020 is to again arrive a few days before practice begins and stay until a few days after the final race.  I use the excuse of ‘well you know, I am working.’ But the truth is, I just really enjoy the Isle of Man and being with my friends there and that I am planning on tentatively returning for the Manx Gran Prix in August. 

Peter Hickman will be back n 2020 as part of Smith’s Racing, now the official BMW Motorrad Road Racing Team

The answer of when to go depends on how much time you have.  

If you have the time, go for the full fortnight – GO!

If you only have a week, try to arrive on Wednesday morning of practice week. 

During practice week the paddock buzzes with activity, the riders are accessible for autographs and brief conversation and everyone is having a fabulous time.  

If you arrive early in the day, you can see practice sessions on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and races on Saturday and Monday. Then you can head home on Tuesday. 

The harder question if I only have 3 or 4 days, when should I go? For me 3 days would feel really rushed and I suggest that if you are going to do 4 days.  Arrive Thursday morning and leave Monday evening. 

If it rains on Saturday, they will likely race on Sunday afternoon. 

Either way you will have time to explore, see some really fast bikes and still have time to get some touring in on the Isle of Man. 

Here is the latest official schedule:

TT Qualifying Timetable 2020 

Sunday 31st May

1300: Roads Close

1330: Newcomer Slighting Laps
1350: Superbike / Superstock / Supersport Qualifying 1530 Supersport / Lightweight Qualifying
1630: Sidecar Qualifying 

Monday 1st June 

18.00: Roads Close
18.20: Superbike / Superstock / Supersport Qualifying 2005 Sidecar Qualifying 

Tuesday 2nd June 

18.00: Roads Close
18.20: Superbike / Superstock / Supersport Qualifying 1925 Supersport / Lightweight Qualifying
20.05: Sidecar Qualifying 

Wednesday 3rd June 

18.00: Roads Close
18.20: Superbike / Superstock / Supersport Qualifying 2005 Sidecar Qualifying 

Thursday 4th June 

18.00: Roads Close
18.20: Superbike / Superstock / Supersport Qualifying 1925 Supersport / Lightweight Qualifying
20.05: Sidecar Qualifying 

Friday 5th June 

12.30: Roads Close
13.00: Superbike / Superstock / Supersport Qualifying 1410 Supersport / Lightweight Qualifying
15.05: Sidecar Qualifying

TT Race Timetable (2020)

Saturday 6th June

10.00 Roads Close
10.30 Solo Morning Warm Up (1 lap)

12.00 RST Superbike TT Race (6 laps)

15.00 Sidecar TT Race 1 (3 laps)

Monday 8th June

10.00 Roads Close
10.30 Solo Morning Warm Up (1 lap)

11.45 Supersport TT Race 1 (4 laps)

14.45 RL360 Superstock Race (4 laps)

Wednesday 10th June

10.00 Roads Close
10.30 Solo Morning Warm Up (1 lap)
10.50 Sidecar Shake Down (1 lap) 
11.45 Bennetts Lightweight TT Race (4 laps)

14.45 Supersport TT Race 2 (4 laps)

Friday 12th June

09.30 Roads Close
10.30 Sidecar TT Race 2 (3 laps)

12.45 Senior TT Race (6 laps) 

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