In late August, the Isle of Man returns to biking life for the Festival of Motorcycling.

It started with Manx Grand Prix: a race series over the mountain course, which began in 1923 as the Manx Amateur Road Races. The MGP is for riders who've held an ACU racing licence for at least six months. Those who want to test their skill, courage and (limited) experience over the world's most exciting race roads.

Then, in 2013, the Isle of Man Government organised the first Classic TT. Recognising there were many race bikes out there that were still capable of lapping the TT course at high speed, and many riders who'd made their name on board still active on the classic race circuit. A good number of those who've stood on the podium in recent times were also prepared to sling a leg across historic race saddles and show fans what the bikes were still capable of.

And so the Festival of Motorcycling, which combines the two, attracts thousands back to the Island after the TT in June. Many able to watch and hear the race bikes of their younger days.

Developing alongside the race programme has been the Festival of Jurby. Organised by the Isle of Man section of the Vintage Motorcycle Club (VMCC) and sponsored by Wemoto. It's the biggest event of our year, drawing loads to the Jurby airfield, on the north-west corner of the island.

Jurby is also a club race course, where the Andreas racing association holds regular meetings. And it acts as a handy space for some of the race teams to carry out testing over both the TT and Classic TT race programmes.

During WW2, the airfield protected Belfast and north-west England from attacks by the Luftwaffe. Ironically, given so many's opinions on immigrants from across Europe, the Polish squadrons played a leading role in this country's defence.

I had a relatively simple task. Fly in from Manchester. Take some pictures to try and capture the festival atmosphere. Edit them, and then prepare some words for Wemoto News. My simple task was nothing like my colleagues' Romain, Sarah, and Pete. Between them, they had to set up the marquee displays and string our banners at strategic points across the site. They also had to sort out the Jurby Festival t-shirts we sell to raise funds for the Manx Grand Prix Helicopter Fund.

While the Isle of Man Government pays for the emergency helicopter at the TT, the Manx 'copter gets funded by donations. To learn more about the fundraising, or to buy a t-shirt, visit our Jurby T-shirt page.

Little did I know I'd also play a role in our section of the marquee. Wemoto was flooded in the nicest possible way by crowds wanting to buy t-shirts and pick up the freebies we'd brought to give away. A popular one being the Jurby Festival posters signed by John McGuinness, Conor Cummings, and Michael Rutter. But more on that later...

Spectators come to Jurby to see and hear the 'famous' bikes and riders and to mingle in the paddock. Motorcyclists from all over Europe have brought their bikes here to ride in the parade laps which take place throughout the day. After paying the £5 entrance fee, visitors are straight into the rows of bikes and vans, all kinds of two-wheel exotica and interest brought by their owners.

There's engine sound interest here too. I listened to a beautiful looking BSA Gold Star being warmed up. Then a Walmsley Matchless, a perfect replica of the G50 racer that vied with Manx Nortons for honours on UK short circuits and in Grand Prix races. Then there's the sound and captivating aroma of racing two-strokes. As the various category of bikes was summoned to the marshalling area for their parade, more and more people thronged the fences to watch an unparalleled collection of working historic motorcycles.

The racing exotica brought everyone to the trackside fences. Racers from the past, Freddie Spencer and Graeme Crosby, fired up their race-winning bikes. Frankie Chilli was on board the Kevin Schwantz Lucky Strike Suzuki GP bike, and three times TT winner Alex George rode the Norton Rotary.

Of the TT riders still competing, John McGuinness rode a Honda RC45 and Conor Cummins took a Suzuki RG500 out for a gallop. The Isle of Man's Dave Molyneux, along with his passenger Dan Sayle, rode the TZ750 Yamaha that he won his first sidecar race on.

As I returned from snapping some of the exquisite machinery, my colleagues were trying to cope with large numbers of people at the Wemoto marquee. It was time to pitch in and help Sarah with the t-shirt sales, while Romain rolled posters and Pete tried to keep up with the requests for freebies. As it came near my time to leave for the airport, there was just a handful of t-shirts left. All the posters had gone, to the disappointment of those who'd missed out. And the stickers, notepads and balloons were still being snapped up.

Another great day for all those who came to support the festival. And for the VMCC organisers and the 'Wemoto three' who must have been out on their feet at the end of the day. Well done to everyone. Onward to 2017 Jurby Festival, and the Classic TT.

Tell us what you thought of the Jurby at

31/08/16 - Had a great day at the Jurby festival the Flying Millyard was surrounded with people all day, it was fun riding the circuit with Steve Plater on the pillion seat  will defiantly come again.

31/08/16 - As they say, been there and bought the T shirt, great day

31/08/16 - Went last year. Had a fantastic day. Wish we could afford to go across every year!! x

31/08/16 - Went and it was brilliant

01/09/16 - Yep we did and it was fantastic

01/09/16 - Had a great day

01/09/16 - Great day got the t shirt and the freebies ta Wish we'd got there earlier it was so crowded couldn't get to see much

01/09/16 - Fabulous !!!

01/09/16 - Brilliant day, well done to those that organised the event.

02/09/16 - Top day.

06/09/16 - Had a wonderful day at Jurby. Had my picture taken with Henry Cole, bought a tee shirt , soaked up the atmosphere . More motorbikes in one place than you can imagine.Thanks for supporting this great event.

18/10/16 - Myself and a mate went round on our Lightnings  and had a fantastic day again. Thanks for your promotion.

Posted by John Newman
for Wemoto News on 31 August 2016 in Events

Edited By: Daisy Cordell



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