What does it cost to race at the TT?

Rut­ter and Hew­son com­pete in the same races, but take a very dif­fer­ent route to get­ting their bikes on the Isle of Man start­line

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Fea­ture - By Stu­art Barker MCN CON­TRIB­U­TOR Cost £95,000 ‘I man­age to fit ev­ery­thing into my van’ DAVE HEW­SON

Ever won­dered just how much it costs to race at the TT? Bikes, tyres, ac­com­mo­da­tion, food, spares, fer­ries, fuel, rid­ing gear, team wages – it all adds up to a shock­ing amount, whether you’re a top team or a pri­va­teer. We asked Michael Rut­ter’s Bathams SMT Rac­ing team and pri­va­teer rider Dave Hew­son to get their ac­counts out and tell us what it costs them.


Hew­son The BMW was a year-old and cost me £15,000 and it prob­a­bly cost an­other £4000 to get it race-ready. The ZX-6R was a cou­ple of years old and cost me £7500, but it prob­a­bly cost £9000 by the time it was ready to race.

Cost £28,000

Bathams We get the stan­dard bikes at a good price from Williams BMW in Manch­ester but by the time they’re rac­eready they’ll have cost us £25,000 each. We take a spare su­per­stocker be­cause we have one and it can al­ways be used for parts if needs be. B&C Ex­press give us huge sup­port and save us an aw­ful lot of money. They sup­ply our Ar­row ex­haust sys­tems, Tsub­aki chains and Ren­thal sprock­ets, han­dle­bars and grips. The Su­per­bike costs £45,000 to build, which is crazy be­cause Michael can lap faster on a stocker.


Hew­son I carry a spare en­gine for the BMW (£3500) and the Kawasaki (£2000) as well as spare wheels, body­work, sprock­ets and other odds and sods like a spare ex­haust sys­tem for the BMW. I don’t carry enough spares to re­build a whole bike - my logic be­ing that if you’ve crashed it enough to de­stroy a frame, you’re go­ing to the hos­pi­tal or go­ing home any­way! Cost £7000 Bathams We carry about £20,000 worth of spares with us. All the usual crash

re­pair stuff – wheels, bars sub­frames, body­work, brak­ing stuff. We’ll also have a spare en­gine for each bike and mul­ti­ple sets of wheels. We’ll take with us pretty much ev­ery­thing to re­pair a bike, ex­cept a spare chas­sis, which we re­ally should have, but we can al­ways use the chas­sis from our spare stock bike.

Cost £20,000 TRAVEL COSTS

Hew­son: I can fit al­most ev­ery­thing in my van and that costs about £500 to take on the ferry. I’ll prob­a­bly spend an­other £200 on fuel for the van once we’re over there. All rac­ers get help with their travel costs from the or­gan­is­ers but for me that’s only £350 so it doesn’t even cover the ferry.

Cost £700

Bathams We take three ve­hi­cles on the ferry – an ar­tic­u­lated truck, a mo­torhome and a sup­port van – and that costs £2500.

Costs £2500 TYRES

Hew­son My tyre bill last year was £2200 (enough for about eight sets). I get them di­rect from Dun­lop so I get them at dis­count, race sup­port prices.

Cost £2200

Bathams SMT Thank­fully we’re spon­sored by Met­zeler so we don’t have to pay a tyre bill. If we did, it would be huge be­cause we need six tyres for each Su­per­bike race – three rears and one front, plus a spare front and rear in case there’s a stop­page. With the amount of dry prac­tice we got last year we got through about £7,500 worth of tyres. Cost £7500 (off­set by Met­zeler)


Hew­son Last year’s fuel bill for my two race bikes was £800. You’re do­ing 2000 miles flat out so it’s not cheap.

Cost £800

Bathams SMT It only costs us about £50 in fuel for the truck be­cause we’re less than an hour from the ferry at Heysham. A team like Bournemouth Kawasaki is go­ing to pay a lot more here! Fuel for the race bikes costs £1500.

Cost £1550 CON­SUM­ABLES

Hew­son: Mo­tul sup­plies me with these.

Cost £0 Con­tin­ued over

Bathams SMT Silko­lene Lubri­cants sup­plies all our clean­ing prod­ucts and oils and we do get through an un­be­liev­able amount at the TT. The flies cause chaos!


Hew­son: I’ve got three helpers but they do it for fun and don’t get paid.

Cost £0

Bathams: We have three full-time me­chan­ics at at the TT and one ex­tra lad who helps out part-time. The wage bill for this is £7500 dur­ing the TT.


Hew­son While I don’t pay the guys who help me, I do have to help out with feed­ing and wa­ter­ing them. We do end up eat­ing out quite a bit - just in the

Rut­ter is a TT front run­ner on his Bathams BMW Rut­ter and his Bathams SMT team will be fly­ing high at the 2017 TT

Hew­son com­petes on a shoe­string bud­get but is still com­pet­i­tive and pro­fes­sional Hew­son scrimps and saves all year so that he can race at the TT

Alec Tague over­sees the im­pres­sive Bathams SMT TT set-up

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