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
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.
BUILDING THE BIKES
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.
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.
S PARE S
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.
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.
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.
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!
Cost £0 TEAM WAGES
Hewson: I’ve got three helpers but they do it for fun and don’t get paid.
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.
Cost £7500 FOOD AND DRINK
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