The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is looking forward to another fantastic motorcycling year as it prepares for 2015.
Provisional bookings for motorcycles to travel to next year’s TT are already more than 5% higher than the comparator for TT 2014. The decision to operate additional sailings and provide additional vehicle deck space on fast craft Manannan has contributed to this increase, helping to ensure more people can experience the action and atmosphere.
The Steam Packet Company recently confirmed it had again chartered P&O Express, which has allowed extra Larne sailings and freed up Manannan to operate more Liverpool services during the 2015 TT. The charter of MV Arrow, to provide freight support, has been pivotal in ensuring additional passenger vehicle space is available on Ben-my-Chree during the festival.
In July, the ferry firm announced a substantial investment in the fabrication of a mezzanine deck for Manannan. The deck will be in place for both the TT and Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling next year to allow more people to bring motorcycles to the events. There was huge demand when bookings for these additional spaces opened in July, and many peak days have now sold out.
With forward motorcycle bookings already up by 5%, early indications are that the 2015 TT will be even busier than this year’s event, which was the busiest for ferry passengers since the Centenary TT in 2007. There was a 7.5% increase in motorcycles carried, to 12,050, and total passenger numbers rose to 36,800.
The Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling also experienced further growth in 2014, with the Steam Packet Company carrying 11% more motorcycles than in 2013, taking the total to almost 3,697. Passenger figures rose to 29,460, the highest recorded during the fortnight for more than a decade. With early demand looking healthy, and the provision of additional space for motorcycles thanks to the new Manannan mezzanine deck, it is expected the event’s popularity will continue to grow.
In addition to bringing fans to the Island, the Steam Packet Company has continued to play an active role in the road racing scene throughout the year.
In July, the Company celebrated its 15th year of headline sponsorship of the Southern 100 International Road Races, and it is expected that this partnership with the ‘friendly races’ will continue in 2015.
Support for the Classic TT also continued in 2014. After sponsoring the lap which recreated the famous 1967 encounter between Giacomo Agostini and Mike Hailwood last year, the Steam Packet Company continued its involvement this year by sponsoring the Joey Dunlop Road Racing Legend – the Rivals’ Parade Lap, a star-studded celebration of the 24-times TT winners racing career.
Support for the marshals also continued in 2014, with the special discount scheme for volunteers who attend both the TT and Festival of Motorcycling carrying on and assistance given to the Isle of Man TT Marshals’ Association to meet the cost of travelling to off-Island shows for promotion and recruitment drives. The Steam Packet Company is delighted to confirm this support will be continued for the next three years, through to 2017.
Steam Packet Company passengers also dug deep during on-board collections on TT and Festival of Motorcycling sailings, donating almost £21,500 to the Rob Vine Fund and Manx Grand Prix Supporters’ Club Helicopter Fund.
Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘The early indications are that the growth in passenger numbers for the TT and Festival of Motorcycling in 2014 will continue next year. We play a pivotal role in helping the events grow, which is why we have invested heavily to ensure there will be extra sailings and more space for motorcycles in 2015.
‘We will continue to look for ways to help meet demand to come and experience the unique thrill of road racing in the Isle of Man, as well as continuing our support for the events, such as the Southern 100, the marshals and the charities which do such sterling work for the motorcycling fraternity.’
He added: ‘We also hope to encourage more race fans to experience the Isle of Man at other times of the year and discover more of the wonders the Island has to offer alongside the road racing action.’
To find out more about visiting the Isle of Man by ferry, go to www.steam-packet.com or call 661661 (Isle of Man), 08722 992 992* (UK) or 0044 8722 992 992* (ROI & Outside UK).
*Calls to these numbers are charged at 10 pence per minute including VAT from a BT landline, calls from other networks and mobile operators may vary.