Possibly the greatest racing event on two wheels, The Isle of Man TT brings some of the most daring and fastest motorcycle racers together to battle it out for the most coveted title in TT racing and quite possibly the most coveted title in motorcycle racing full stop.
Even the likes of Valentino Rossi have expressed just how insane this race is and the nerve of the riders who take it on. Rossi, in an interview in 2013 with Top Gear said: ‘I did a lap of the Isle of Man, and I understand why people love this because it’s f**king awesome – it’s unbelievable, great. But, unfortunately, it’s too dangerous. Sometimes, riders are crazy. The Isle of Man is very difficult. If you make a mistake, maybe it’s the last mistake.’
This year is sure to be a great one on the Isle. Practise and Qualifying has taken place over this last week and if it’s anything to go by, we are sure to be blown away! Records are already being broken with Michael Dunlop clocking a lap of 132.36mph on Thursday, only to be topped by Ian Hutchinson’s 132.803mph lap, and that coming on a Superstock bike!
Okay let’s go back a little for those who are not too familiar with the Isle of Man.
The race is run over an almost 60km circuit of public road. Through mountain, bends, bumps, jumps, stone walls and all the kinds of things you would find on a public road like drains, man holes and road signs. The race has over 100 years of history and is held every May and June where thousands flock from all around the world to catch one of the greatest racing spectacles.
That is just a brief explanation, but already from that you may be able to tell that what these riders are doing is unbelievable. Racing motorcycles at average speeds of 130mph on ordinary public roads between hedges and houses.
There are a few different races held over a week, 2 weeks including qualifying: Superbike, Senior, Superstock, Supersport, Lightweight and an electric bike race. Some riders participate in more than one race.
The guys you want to look out for will be the likes of John McGuinness, who is known to be ‘the king of the moutains’ as he holds 19 TT wins and is second only to former rider and legend Joey Dunlop who holds 26 victories.
Michael Dunlop will be the next rider to keep an eye on, and for good reason, as he is already setting record pace on the mountain course along with Ian Hutchinson who is matching and beating the pace of Dunlop all while racing with his gear and brake leavers swopped around due to a serious leg injury he sustained during a British Superbike race a few years ago.
There are a few more really talented and very fast riders but those three are most definitely my bet to battle it out for the top spots, although I could be surprised by a certain New Zealander who is on board a beautiful Honda RC213V-S, Bruce Anstey. If you don’t already know, the RC213V-S is the replica of the Honda MotoGP bike ridden by Marc Marquez and Dani Pedrosa. I can’t wait to see and hear that thing blast it’s way through the street of the Isle of Man.
South Africa are being represented with Allan-Jon Venter racing this year. Loving seeing all these S.A. riders representing in such big events! Go AJ!
There is some onboard footage up on the Isle of Man TT Facebook page from this year’s practise and qualifying. Do yourself a favour and give those a watch and see for yourself just how crazy these guys are but also just how skilled they are to handle those beasts around the street circuit, it’s truly astonishing.
I for one can not wait for the coverage to start. To be honest I wish the coverage was better, there could be so much more, not just coverage but more hype around the event from our local broadcasters considering what a massive sporting event the Isle of Man is. However the racing starts this weekend with the Superbike race kicking things off on Saturday, although local coverage will only be on Sunday.
This is my word on the 2016 Isle of Man TT.