So you knew that the Isle of Man was all this past week (and through Wednesday, when the last races occur), but you didn't manage to watch it? For shame!
Here are five reasons why you should watch the hairiest road race on two wheels next year.
1) The course.
Simply put, the 38-mile Isle of Man TT course, winding between the stone walls in the island's villages and up through its wide open mountain pastures,
makes the Nürburgring Nordschleife seem rather safe and a bit dull.
Races have been held on the current mountain course since 1914, and the circuit was part of the Motorcycle Grand Prix World Championship until 1976, when
even Grand Prix riders deemed it too dangerous.
2) The speed.
41-year-old TT legend John McGuinness set a new absolute speed record this past weekend with a mind-bending lap at a 131.67 mph average riding a Honda
CBR1000RR. To have a better appreciation of what that means and the kind of commitment needed to achieve it, have a look at an onboard lap with McGuinness
on a slower 600cc Supersport bike:
This is a very, very fast course.
3) The danger.
To be truly fast at the TT, riders need to essentially shut off the fear receptors in their brains, because streaking at 180 mph with your shoulder
practically brushing stone walls is completely insane. The TT has claimed 240 lives in its 99-year history, the most recent being that of Japanese rider
Yoshinari Matsushita in a qualifying accident last week.
4) The personalities.
TT riders seem to be as colorful as the race. Most are semi-professionals who don't usually compete in other international-level events. McGuinness is the
current leading rider, with 19 TT wins, second only to the legendary Joey Dunlop, who won 25 TTs before being killed in a minor 125cc race in Estonia.
There is a statue of Dunlop overlooking the course and this year, McGuinness is wearing a replica of his famous yellow helmet during the race.
Wearing Dunlop's colors gave McGuinness speed but not a win, as the first Superbike race this week was won by Joey Dunlop's nephew, Michael. Michael Dunlop
is a six-time winner himself, and his own father was killed racing in an Irish road race in 2008.
The biggest personality in the TT is undoubtedly Guy Martin, the former truck mechanic who prefers his Ford Transit to his Aston Martin. Martin is the
perennial underdog and crowd favorite.
5) The green technology.
Bikers, like most motorsport fans, are not necessarily the most "green"-thinking chaps. When the first Zero TT race reserved for electric motorcycles was
announced for 2010, it was met with derision and scorn. This week, John McGuinness' record-setting electric lap at an almost 110-mph average speed went a
long way toward changing opinions. The Zero TT got a huge cred boost with the 2011 release of the documentary "Charge" from Mark Neale, director of the
seminal MotoGP documentary, "Faster".
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