Isle of Man (IOM) TT : What Makes it the Greatest Motorcycle Race Ever! ( Part 1)

by Manoj Keshwar on 01 November 2015
Isle of Man TT Races 2016

The IOM TT has intrigued me all my life as it must have, every motorcycle enthusiast. Its an annual pilgrimage for most of the World bikers. And, the bikers fraternity in India have just about begun to warm up to it. As the superbikes make its presence felt, its about time the Bikers got to know of this phenomenon called Isle of Man - go do the Pilgrimage. Since Viktorianz stands for Riding the World - IOM TT had to be an early entry to our list of 25 bike ride offerings.

I already have goose bumps when i write this blog - this race is hair-raisingly amazing.

"Anyway you would throw me, I would stand up!" - the meaning of IOM Flag Emblem"

Jam Packed Isle of Man
For most of the year, the Isle of Man ( IOM) is a sleepy island in the Irish Sea. And then each year, in end May to early June, the Island is paralysed - flocked by motorcycle enthusiasts from around the World, swelling its roads with speed bikes and the island’s  resources are bursting at seams - as in this month, the population more than doubles. The schools and colleges are closed, its officially holiday time - and the island braces up for the most spectacular and dangerous motorcycle event of the world. It gets ready to become the Mecca for the World Motorcycling Community.


A small island between UK and Ireland ...

Get an Idea!
There is less to say and more to see. To fathom what I am saying, have a look at this video, and see how different is it from the safe GP courses

This sure is not Normal!

Starting Days!
1907 - Long back when the British authorities imposed speed limits on motored vehicles, IOM roads had No Limits. The riders from around the world could travel to the IOM with their bikes and race to their heart’s content. Thus was born the IOM Tourist Trophies in five motorcycle categories. It of-course is the ‘oldest motorcycle race in the motorcycling history

Deadliest Sporing Event in World!
After all in its history of 108 years, 242 deaths have occurred - the riders, the spectators and the marshals, all are at risk. The critics of the event have often taken up causes to close the event - for the definite risk it brings to the bikers. This risk and danger of riding the bikes close to 200 mph on the 38 mile streets-turned-race-track makes it ‘the most spectacular sporting event on the planet

What makes it dangerous is the combination of mind-numbing speed and the public roads course, which is narrow, has 264 corners and is lined by very hard objects such as stone walls, barbed wire fence and telegraph poles. And when something goes wrong at those speeds - it really goes very wrong. Take a look at Conor Cummins case in 2010 - this Manx man broke all the bones of his body, snapped his knee ligaments and went through months of intensive care. And lo and behold - he got back at the TT racing the very next year. See the video

 

Critics want it Stopped!
No one knows how long this race would be allowed - there are often voices to ban the event as it is not safe to race under such risky conditions- and so many have died. This overtime has come under major criticism from Rights groups. The passionate racers would say -“No one is forcing anyone to do this race… there’s not one man in that paddock that signed up because they have to” says Cummins.

The die hard fans stand in the way of anyone who objects to the danger of the event, as one fan gleefully explained. When asked what he would do if they tried to cancel the Isle of Man TT, he responded simply: “Over my dead body.

So whatever makes it dangerous to life also makes it attractive to the Riders and spectators. As Guy Martin says - "Short circuit racing is full of health and safety but the reason I ride a motorbike is because of the danger and there is no place more dangerous than the TT. I like pushing myself”.  They all come to overcome this risk to their lives, and we go watch them taking those risks. As they say :  If motorcycle racing was not so dangerous, they probably  will not do it”

The Legends and then there is Joey Dunlop
There are many a riders that deserve a mention in the Hall of Fame at IOM TT races. Here is a brief compilation of Top 10. Please see the video -

 

Nothing on IOM TT can be concluded without a mention of the legend of Joey Dunlop, whose achievements include three hat-tricks at the Isle of Man TT meeting (1985, 1988 and 2000), where he won a record 26 races in total. The most successful overall rider at the annual TT races is awarded the "Joey Dunlop Cup". Highly superstitious, he always wore a red T-shirt and a yellow crash helmet. He was a legend and there is a movie on Dunlops’ Family.
Please view -

 


Joey Dunlop

Format
The TT races are a time trial event. Riders are set off individually in ten-second intervals, which means they are racing against the clock and not necessarily the rider in front. The key statistic is the Lap timings. 

Race Course
So here is how the 37+ mile course looks like. There are five main classes for motorbikes – Superbike, Senior, Superstock, Supersport and Lightweight. It covers almost all of the island periphery since 1907 and a mountain course included since 1911 - since then the course is all the same.  More on the course and the races and a lot more on IOM TT in Part 2. :)

Credit of these videos are due to their original composers and the same goes for IOM TT official pics that I have used in this blog.
I shall return back soon with more on this iconic experience and many more on the offer from the Viktorianz menu. Until then - Ride safe, Ride Long, Be a responsible citizen. And before you leave here is best of 2015 IOM TT - please view
IOM TT 2015 Video

 

Cheers!
Mike.
PS: Viktorianz will be viewing IOM TT 2016 and riding Scotland in June 2016.
PPS: If you want to go - click on this link to get the Details of this Iconic Ride!