Every year on a little island located in the Irish Sea the greatest motorsport show on earth takes place. It’s called the Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) and if you want to try it, be sure to bring a wheel barrow for your balls because they’ve gotta be big for this event. It’s been long considered the most prestigious motorcycle race in the world. What makes it special? The race is run in a time-trial format on public roads that have been closed for racing. And the crashes are extreme.
The 2012 Isle of Man TT was held between Saturday May 26 and Saturday June 9.
A single lap of the Mountain Course is 37.73-miles. Averaging 100mph it would take twenty-three and a half minutes just to go around once… while doing your level best to avoid hitting the fans who are happily fueling up on high-octane local beer along the route. In post-war British rocker culture tuning a motorcycle to achieve 100 MPH – or “the Ton” in local slang – was a badge of honor to those capable of achieving this extraordinary feat. In 1957 two riders John Surtees & Bob McIntyre both managed to ‘ton-up’ and recorded the first ever 100mph average speeds in the courses long & distinguished history, making world headlines.
Back in 1905 the first Motor-Cycle Cup Race was held on the island with a 5 lap modified circuit (total. 125 miles). It was won by J.S. Campbell in 4 hours, 9 minutes and 36 seconds at an average race speed of just 30.04 mph (including a pit-stop gas fire).
The current lap record is held by a fellow named John McGuinness who clocked a mind boggling lap time of just 17 minutes and 12.3 seconds. McGuinness race time for six laps (total. 226 miles) 1 hour 46 minutes and 3.06 seconds at an average speed of 128.078 mph. He’s the guy in the video clips sporting the #1 plate. So far McGuinness has collected a total of 19 trophy wins at the TT… now that’s just downright heroic.
As you will see in these videos, the circuit is actually threaded through a series of townships. The route is lined with trees, old walls, tall curbs and cliffs – all of which are not particularly friendly to an out-of-control 150mph+ motorcycle, or its pilot. Unsurprisingly, the Isle of Man TT has reported more race fatalities than any other location in the world. This clear and obvious danger certainly adds some cache to the brave souls who race there.
I suspect those that have crashed their last time at the TT probably choose to remain there as ghosts… in motorsport heaven.
2012 Event Highlights:
- After winning the first event of the 2012 Isle of Man TT the Superbike TT race, the works Honda rider John McGuinness later in the week won for the first time the 1000cc Superstock TT race to raise his tally to nineteen Isle of Man TT wins
- After a year’s sabbatical, the Isle of Man sidecar TT competitor Dave Molyneux returned to racing at the Isle of Man TT to win both Sidecar TT Races 1 & 2 in convincing style.
- The New Zealander, Bruce Anstey repeated his 2011 success and again won the 600cc Supersport TT Race 1. After retiring from the lead of Supersport TT Race 1 on lap 3, the second Supersport TT Race was won by Michael Dunlop after the race was delayed by problems with weather on the Snaefell Mountain Course.
- The third running of the TT Zero was again won by Michael Rutter riding the electric powered MotoCzysz motor-cycle and also breaking the prestigious 100 mph barrier with a lap at an average race speed of 104.056 mph.
- The Blue Riband event of the 2012 TT Race week the Senior TT was held over to the next day due to heavy rain and low cloud on the Mountain Course.
- The rescheduled Senior TT race was later cancelled for the first time in the history of the event due to further problems with low cloud and rain showers in the section of the course from the Mountain Mile to the 32nd Milestone.