Most people regardless of whether they own or ride a motorbike or not, have heard of the Isle of Man TT. This yearly race takes place around May, June time and draws in riders and spectators from all over the world. The course is 37.73 miles long and winds its way around the Snaefell Mountain Course and is a time-trial race and has been dubbed the most dangerous road race in the world. It is thought that around 42,000 people visit the competition each year and the number only increase each year.
The riders, all dressed in their Hot Weather biker clothing and helmets each race round the twists and turns in a bid to be the fastest competitor to complete the course. The current record was set by John McGuinness in 2015 who finished the course in just over 1 hour and 9 minutes racing at a top speed of just over 130 miles per hour. In comparison the first race (on the full mountain course) was raced in a time of just over 3 hours 56 minutes at a speed of around 47 miles per hour back in 1911 by Oliver Godrey.
A long-standing event
There have only ever been three occasions when the race has been cancelled. These are during the two world wars and also in 2001 as the organisers tried to help prevent the foot and mouth disease outbreak that had dramatically affected the UK from reaching the island. Other than these occasions the race has been running on the mountain course since 1911 and was first established on a shorter course in 1907.
The first woman to ever take part in the Isle of Man TT was Inge Stoll who took part in the sidecar race as a passenger.
Joey Dunlop is credited with winning the race the most amount of times with an incredible total of 26 trophies. The current reigning champion John McGuinness is slowly catching up with a total of 21 winning appearances so far.
The sad and untimely death of Joey Dunlop has left a lasting legacy on the race and although he was not killed racing at the Manx course a statue sits on the track side in his honour. The race has been known as the most dangerous in bike racing. The fact that it is now purely a time trail event gives credit to that. Originally the race was just that but the huge numbers it attracted meant it the field was huge and although the speeds were slower the proximity of the road to houses and properties as the riders fly though the terrain is scary. One wrong turn or mechanical failure and a serious incident is only milliseconds away. At first the attitude seemed to be that that was just part of the race, a fact borne out by the George Formby film “No Limits” where the accident rate is seen as normal.
Regardless of the risks this is one incredible race to watch and even more incredible to be a part of as a racer.