Twice a year, motorbike fans from all around the world converge on the Isle of Man. Since 1907 this small island in the Irish Sea has hosted the Tourist Trophy, the oldest and most challenging motorcycle race on the calendar. For 14 days in May/June there’s only one game in town: the races on the Snaefell Mountain Course. The second motorcycle get-together in this otherwise tranquil sliver of land traditionally takes place in August, when the Classic TT (Tourist Trophy) roars into life with no less enthusiasm – if not quite the same speeds. The start and finish of the races are in the capital Douglas.
Nowhere else in the world does the native population regard a sporting event so staunchly as their own local skirmish, yet lay on a warm welcome for all visitors. Georg Meier, for example, is virtually unknown in Germany beyond motorcycle circles, but on the Isle of Man he’s a household name and remains a legend here to this day. 75 years ago “Schorsch” Meier became the first rider from outside Great Britain to win the Senior Tourist Trophy – on a supercharged BMW “Kompressor” machine.
The 2014 Classic TT will run from 20 – 29 August, and BMW Group Classic will be in attendance with a large truck, a tent, and an exhibition of classic and current motorcycles bearing the BMW badge. Three of its machines will also take part in the legendary Lap of Honour. One of them, the supercharged BMW 255 piloted to victory by Georg Meier 75 years ago, will be ridden by his nephew Wolfgang Meier. It will be joined by a 1937 BMW R 5 SS and a BMW R 51 from 1939.