100 Years Mountain Circuit Isle Of Man
As could be expected, Manx Post has again paid a lot of attention to this years TT races. This year it was 100 years ago that the Mountain Circuit had been used for the first time for the motorcycle TT races. After the first race in 1904, the Gordon Bennet race for automobiles, motorcycles rode their first rounds over the island only one year later. At first the testing was done together with the cars, but because of insufficient power to climb the steep sides of Snaefell Mountain the motorcycles switched to another circuit, the St. Johns Circuit. From 1911 on the motorcycles again rode together with the cars on the "big boys circuit", the Mountain Circuit.
So this year 100 years of TT races on the almost 38 miles (60,7 km) long circuit was celebrated (although not the 100th race on this circuit), and therefore Isle of Man Post wanted to make a firm issue. Long before the date of issue a plan was made, and it was decided to issue a series of 10 stamps, 5 of before 1980, and 5 of the later years. A group of prominent TT experts had been gathered, and they were asked to choose the 10 most memorable races from the TT history. The experts were racing drivers John McGuinness, Ian Hutchinson, Michael Dunlop and Dave Molyneux, commentators and ex-drivers Charlie Williams and Steve Parrish, journalists John Watterson (Isle of Man Newspapers) and Gary Pinchin (MCN) and the well-known TT-archivist Bill Snelling of FoTTofinders.
Their choice of the best races has been depicted on the stamps by Pete jones, graphic designer in Ramsey. 5 of the stamps have a value of 38 pence and 5 of 68 pence, repectively the value for letters within the UK and within Europe.
The stamps with the 10 best TT races
Initially the idea was to use value indications UK and E, but finally it was chosen to put on the actual values. This because a lot of visitors from all over the world were expected during the races, who all would like to send a set home, and this would be too confusing for outside-Europe-visitors.
The design with the value indication in letters (UK / E)
From the chosen 10 races the public could choose the "Best Race Overall" by voting on their favourite race. This could be done on the official website of the TT races (www.iomtt.com) or the site of Manx Post (www.iompost.com), or through the magazine Motorcycle News. This was possible up to January 31st of this year. At the MCN London Bike Show in February it had been announced which race was chosen as Super-race, and a special block would be issued with this race. The winner was the famous time battle (4.4 seconds difference) between Steve Hislop (winner) and Carl Fogarty in 1992.
Here the special FDC, signed by Fogarty:
The stamps have been printed connected in 2 sheets, each containing 5 times the 5 stamps with the same value. Also a "Special Commemorative Folder" has been made. This folder contains the same sheets, but now provided with a gold foil printing.
For the real fans (and those with a fat wallet) there is also a Carl Fogarty Signed Framed Collection available, described by Manx Post as the "ultimate TT 2011 Centenary collectors item". 100 pieces have been made, and for £ 75 you can hang it in your hallway.
By the way, together with the stamps you will get the commemorative Crown and a piece of the tarmac of the famous jump-bump, Ballaugh Bridge.
Such a piece of tarmac is also available on a special card. Our Manx Post friend Andy has chopped the tarmac into small pieces with his own hands, and packed it on cards with an image of a variety of favourite drivers, amongst which Maestro Dunlop and the one and only John McGuinnes. For 3 pounds you can add a few gramms of "The Hump" to your own collection.
Andy working on the tarmac
This is it for now, about the issued items and how they are brought about.
Next part: the chosen races.
Hans de Kloet
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