Even More Exciting Than the I Love Lucy

While Formula One has Monaco, and NASCAR has Daytona, the Tourist Trophy has the Isle of Man. Possibly the most prestigious motorcycle races in the world, the Isle of Man TT takes place every Spring on the  British Crown Self Dependency that rests in the Irish Sea, and is in its 104th year. Each of those years the bikes get faster, while the riders never get any less crazy.
This promotional video compiles years of racing into one four and a half minute long orgy of 12,000 rpm redline insanity. It’s one thing to see  a four wheel missile at speed, even an open wheeler with only a thin layer of carbon fiber between driver and annihilation. It’s a totally different matter when that thin bodywork is replaced by leather johnnies and the grace of God.
Due to safety concerns, the race lost its championship status in 1977, but remains a venerated TT event every year. The 2011 Isle of Man TT is little more than a month away, and in case that realization alone isn’t exciting enough, check out the video, and get ready to fly. And remember, each and every one of those riders, is certifiably insane.

[youtube width=”640″ height=”385″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sE7H6f9PVwk[/youtube]

Image source: [superstreetbike.com]



  1. This is one of those things that I must witness before the end of my days.
    I don't know how this is not the absolute most revered annual motorsports event.

    1. Also, there is no mass start, so you have to constantly compare times and do some comparative calculations to figure out whose ahead at any given point. So, unlike NASCAR, you have to think.

  2. I've been a huge Manxophile ever since I first read "Mad Keen on Speed" in the December, 1981 issue of Cycle World. I've listened to Manx Radio on the web with varying regularity for the past 15 years or so. The Island (which gets to call itself that just like the Catholic Church gets to be "The Church") is really a very fascinating place even when the bikes aren't racing. They have awesome Victorian steam trains, the last operating vintage horse-drawn rail tram line in the world, the world's oldest Parliament, Laxey Wheel (aka "Lady Isabella"), one of the world's largest water wheels, plus some really cool castles, a very interesting Celtic-Norse-Scottish-English cultural mix, and some really pretty countryside. Oh, and one chain-smoking old codger in a lighthouse to the south, shouting at the rovers to get off his lawn.

    1. Yeah, I've seen that water wheel on the interwebs, it runs a Cornish pump, which dewaters a mine. So, you have water running a pump which pumps water out of a mine. That's almost Zen. The whole mine is run on water power, from the hoist to the pumps. Very cool. I'd love to see all that for myself.

  3. I love watching what bits and pieces I can from the Isle of Man TT, and it is even cooler with them 'lectric bikes in the mix. I am looking forward to see what kind of times and speeds they set this year.

  4. This is the only motorsports event that I get the urge to watch with my hand over my eyes, like a five-year-old watching Poltergeist.
    Oh, and the really certifiable nutjobs? The hack monkeys. So crazy I can't even conceive it.

    1. Yeah, completely nutzo, but they're great. I love watching the sidehacks, but I do cover my eyes a lot.

  5. Do TT bikes really redline at "only" 12,000 rpm? My only point of reference is a 17,500 rpm 600cc street bike.

    1. You're fairly new to riding, aren't you? I'm just asking, not taking the piss. Most motorcycles don't rev anywhere near that high – only in recent years have some Japanese inline 4s (and the occasional, not-street-legal Italian machine) done so, and if you only ride on the street, its unlikely that you'd ever bump the rev limiter on one of those after 1st gear.
      Do a little reading up on the Isle of Man TT. It's fantastic.

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