Steam Packet International Southern 100
The Southern 100 road races are held on the 4.25 mile Billown circuit in the South of the Isle of Man, close to Castletown, and features a packed week of racing.
The first Southern 100 race was held in 1955 and has since featured many former British and World Champions. The Southern 100 marked its 60th anniversary in 2015.
Famously known as ‘the friendly races’, this meeting features a great mix of classes, including superbikes and sidecars, the later were introduced in 1962. Always popular among such road racing greats such as Guy Martin and Michael Dunlop, and other rising stars.
Unlike the Isle of Man TT races, the Southern 100 features a mass start rather than a time trial. From the Start & Finish line on the A5 in Castletown competitors follow the main road as far as Ballakeighan where they turn sharp right for the fast section past Iron Gates, through Ballanorris to a hairpin corner at Ballabeg. The next section sees riders race through a series of bends past Ballawhetstone, Williams Corner and Billown Dip. At Cross Four Ways they negotiate a sharp right hand corner before heading towards Church Bends, past Great Meadow and Stadium Bends. At Castletown Corner they turn right for the final dash to the finish line.
As always a big part of road racing is that you can sit right on the edge of the circuit. Watch the bikes pass only just inches from the hedges and walls. There are grandstands provided for spectating; these can be found at the start & finish area along with Castletown corner, there were also smaller scaffolding rigs erected on farms. The scaffolding are provided by the farm and open to all public, there was tea, coffee and cakes on offer all for a donation to help support the Southern 100.
Directions to Billown circuit
Travelling from the Sea Terminal in Douglas your journey should take no more than 25 mins, the directions that I have prepared for you will pass the airport and take you to the start/finish line of the Billown circuit. For anyone that is travelling from the airport your journey will only be 5 mins.
Leave the sea terminal following signs Castletown, Airport or A5
Leaving the sea terminal turn left at the first roundabout and left again at the second roundabout, straight over the next and over the blue lifting bridge. Turn right at the roundabout follow the road along the quay the next two roundabouts travel straight.
Follow the road minding not to go left at the fork which is found at the top of the hill. Just stay on the road till you reach another roundabout. You will see signs for the airport, turn left here and travel south with no more roundabouts or junctions for approximately 15mins.
The road you’re on now will go past a few landmarks, firstly there will be a classic motorbike museum on the left then shortly after you will pass the fairy bridge, take a serious of bends crossing over the steam railway line. The end of this road is a small roundabout where you will turn left towards the airport.
There are two roundabouts outside the airport grounds. You need to cross both of them following signs for Castletown. On your left is a sign post that welcomes you to Castletown, the next two roundabouts bear right passing by two petrol stations.
The circuit is directly in front of you at the junction with the traffic lights. Continue straight through the junction onto the start/finish line.
Turn left at the next junction. Just off the junction you will find both the race office and paddocks.
The race schedule for 2016 is as follows:
Monday 11th July 6.05 pm - 9.25 pm
Tuesday 12th July 6.05 pm - 9.25 pm
Wednesday 13th July 6.05 pm - 9.25 pm
Thursday 14th July (Championship race day) 9.50 am - 5.30 pm
Dont forget that the schedule may be changed by the organisers, for example due to bad weather.
You can listen to the race commentary live on local station Manx fm found on 97.3fm and 1368am. The Southern 100 will be televised on ITV4 Wednesday 20th July, 2016 commencing at 20.00 hrs.
There are several schools and sports facilities near the south of the island however they dont tend to offer camping solutions that cover the Southern 100 this is mainly due to the Southern 100 being held during a school term. We have tried to cover the campsites as close to the Billown circuit that can offer accomodation at the time required.
Food for Thought
So you’re hungry and looking for nourishment, the Southern 100 operate their own chain of mobile cafeterias, this includes the cafeteria inside the supporter’s club house. These cafeterias are really good for a quick bite during the hustle of racing. All the profits from these stands are put into running the event. If you would prefer to walk away from the paddock and eat inside Castletown we have put together a short list of places to eat and what sort of food is on offer.
A few public houses where you can simply chill out, maybe find a seat in front of an open fire and enjoy a great selection of ale and spirits.
In the square of Castletown you can find:-
The George Hotel
The Tap room
The Union Hotel
Still in Castletown but a little further than the square you can find:-
The Viking and The Sidings, These two pubs are next door to the first petrol station you would have found on the way into Castletown.
All the pubs mentioned above serve traditional pub food.
For a quieter sit down meal there are a few restaurants to choose from also, Leonardos which is just off the square is a classic Italian restaurant with polite and helpful staff, The restaurant can be very busy so a reservation may be required.
Just off the square is the Curry Club. An Indian restaurant that’s well known for serving consistently good food. The decor is very modern and the service is quick. The Curry Club does not sell alcohol however do encourage you to bring your own if desired. This restaurant offers take away and delivery.
There is a mobile chip shop that visits Castletown, This chip shop moves around the Isle of Man on different nights of the week. When there is a larger demand, the chip shop will visit more regularly. We found this chip van behind the Co-op in Castletown square. Around the town there will be signs put out to tell the public on the day that the chip shop will be visiting. Just need to keep your eye out for the signs, The chip van will be selling the expected menu from your local chip shop, from locally caught fish through to foot long sausage.
Ways to get around
Once you’ve arrived on the Isle of Man you can find an extensive bus network which serves the whole of the Island, the bus stands in Douglas are not far from the sea terminal on lord street, only 2 mins towards peel on the main road.
You can board one of the three heritage railways which offer a perfect opportunity to sit back, relax and travel in style.
Inside Douglas there is a train station which forms the starting point for the heritage steam railway, The train station is approximately ten minutes walk from the sea terminal, When you leave the sea terminal, head in the direction of Peel, past the Bus stands and continue uphill. At the second set of traffic lights the train station is almost in front of you on the left.
The heritage trains are seasonal and the last train leaves Douglas near 5pm most days.
Train timetable 2016
Near the sea terminal in Douglas you can find a stop where you can board a horse drawn tram. As you exit the sea terminal and make your way towards the promenade just after the roundabout you will find bus stops and a stop sign for the horse drawn tram. The tram runs the entire length of Douglas Promenade. Allowing you the time to take in some of the beautiful scenery. At the opposite end of the promenade is the stables and terminus for the electric railway.
The electric railway travels along the coastline and through a few glens as it makes its way from Douglas to Ramsey via Laxey. Laxey is the changing point for passengers who wish to use the mountain railway that takes you to the very top of Snaefell mountain. Laxey train station has a café and also at the top of Snaefell you can find the highest chef on the island.
The public are able to purchase a range of travel tickets which offer unlimited travel on the buses and railways as well as free entry to heritage attractions. These saver tickets are a great way of seeing the Island and saving money at the same time!
Sometimes you want to do everything. See everything and travel beyond every hill. Investigate every winding bend in the road. Other times, you simply want to slow down, go your own pace. You could find a car hire company allowing you to take to the open roads and explore till your heart’s content.
Athol car hire has two offices one in Douglas and the other inside the airport.
Isle of Man Rant a Car offer a meet and greet service for customers that require a car at the sea terminal.
|Athol Car hire||Website|
If you are looking for a Taxi to simply get you where you need to be without the hassle of driving, without needing to find the place yourself
With over 70 vehicles Telecabs taxi service is one of the largest taxi companies on the Isle of Man. Telecabs can help you travel from the Airport or the sea terminal to anywhere on the island. Telecabs can handle any size of a group, with multiple minibuses in their fleet. They can also help with disability transport or even top class executive cars.
A1 Taxi Group are a large taxi company also. A1 taxis are based in Douglas and can also help with minibuses, disability and all island coverage.
Ramsey Taxis are based in Ramsey (North of the island) when a taxi is needed in the north of the island this company may be able to help sooner.
|A1 Taxi Group||01624 674488|
|Elegance Taxis||01624 672672|
|Ramsey Taxis||01624 818181|
Other things for doing
When you would like something to do away from the racing scene. There are numerous family activities in and around Castletown
Murrays motorcycle museum
Murray’s motorcycle museum is a gold mine of memorabilia, Make sure you take the time to call in, the warmest of welcomes awaits you. Here you can find machines from all eras, for example British flat tankers through to racing RG500. The owner Peter has a knowledge and passion for his museum that could take days to divulge, all the staff are very friendly.
There is an entrance fee of only £5, a sit down cuppa upstairs is included where you’re able to chat with Peter as much as you like.
The museum is found in Santon not far from the steam railway station. From Castletown towards Douglas, drive past the Fairy bridge then the museum is on the right at the next junction. Keep your eyes open as the junction is a little hairpin, if you miss it you can turn at the train station which is almost immediately after the junction you need. When travelling south from Douglas the junction will be much more visible, pass the Santon motel then the train station and the museum signs will be in front of you.
Located in the ancient capital of the Isle of Man, Castletown, there stands an impressive fortress that was once home to the Kings and Lords of Mann. Castle Rushen is one of the best preserved medieval castles in the world. Originally built for a Norse king in around 1200AD, Castle Rushen was developed by successive rulers until the 1600s. During its time it was used as a fortress, royal residence, a mint and even a prison.
The castle built from limestone walls towers over the market square of Castletown and would have been visible over much of the south of the island. You can climb the spiral staircase to the roof and enjoy the panoramic views of Castletown and beyond.
On the inside of the castle you could visit the medieval kitchen with its 17th century dining room, all round there are many wall hung tapestries telling their own medieval tales.
Southern swimming pool
The Southern swimming pool can be found only a few minutes walk from the race paddocks, the family friendly swimming facility is located in Castletown near the Castle Rushen High School. The swimming pool also offer hot showers for camping visitors.