The number of motorcycles the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company brought to the Island during the Festival of Motorcycling increased by 5.6% compared with last year.


The 2016 total of 4,013, the first time more than 4,000 motorcycles had been transported to the Island during the fortnight, rose to 4,237 this year.


As anticipated following the decision to move the Manx 2 Day Trial to a new date in July, there was a slight fall in the overall number of passengers and other vehicles carried.


The number of passengers fell by 1.6% to 28,778 and the number of cars, vans and trailers transported was down less than 3% to 5,615.


Visitors enjoyed a variety of racing and entertainment during the festival, including the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Vintage Parade Lap, which featured TT star Cameron Donald riding an ex-Geoff Duke Manx Norton.


The Steam Packet Company has sponsored an event at every year of the Classic TT.


Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward said: ‘We supported the decision to move the 2017 Manx 2 Day Trial to July rather than holding it during the Festival of Motorcycling, and anticipated that it might impact on passenger numbers. As expected, the numbers are slightly down on 2016 as a result.


‘However, the overall picture remains very encouraging. Almost 29,000 people travelled to the festival, and the number of motorcycles transported achieved a new record high in 2017.


‘The Festival of Motorcycling, with its busy programme featuring the Manx Grand Prix, Classic TT, Festival of Jurby and Manx International Classic Trial, continues to be a major attraction for the Island, and we look forward to seeing it growing further in future years.


‘We have invested in our fleet to ensure we can meet demand, including having MV Arrow to operate additional freight services so there is more room on Ben-my-Chree for passengers. We have also recognised the need for further fleet resilience to allow event’s like the TT and Festival of Motorcycling to achieve their potential, which is why we suggested retaining Ben-my-Chree alongside two new vessels in our vision for the future of Isle of Man sea services.


‘It would represent a significant investment, but we believe being able to call upon three passenger vessels to increase capacity and improve flexibility of services at the busiest times, as well as ensuring greater resilience for the Island’s lifeline sea routes, should be a key element to the development of the Isle of Man’s seas services.’ 


Photograph: (from left) Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Commercial Director John Watt, TT star Cameron Donald and Steam Packet Company Marketing and Online Manager Renée Caley