Not everyone can make it to the Isle of Man for the excitement of the annual TT, but viewing Duke Video’s TT 2006 gives you a good taste of the action.
The racing at the Isle of Man is entering its centenary in 2007, and it remains as one of the most testosterone-fueled seminal events in the world, right up there with climbing Everest or running with the bulls in Pamplona.
Think about this: The TT is run on public roads through towns, and the best racers are averaging nearly 130 mph!
The obvious drawback to the TT is its proximity to most of us. Run on a 37.75-mile course on a small island off the coast of England in the Irish Sea, it takes some determination for American fans to be there.
But for $34.95, TT 2006 can take you to this legendary road race. It’s crammed with more than three hours of spine-tingling high-speed action from the four motorcycle events and two sidecar races. This is road racing the way it used to be – on roads – and it’s spectacular.
Shortly after the beginning of the course, racers rocket down Bray Hill in front of residential yards with throngs of spectators mere feet away from bikes traveling 170 mph. A little further on and speeds crest 180 mph, with the fastest bikes nudging 200. Then there’s the hill at Ballaugh Bridge that launches riders into the air, followed by sections that run directly through towns. Riders are inches from walls, mere feet from houses. The consequences of a mistake are dire and often fatal.
There are something like 266 turns to keep track of, and perhaps the best way is to watch the on-board lap from racer Guy Martin. With a camera mounted on the left-side fairing and with an inset track map and speedometer, it captures unbelievable footage of the front wheel waggling everywhere and lunging through its fork travel at every braking point, several times lofting upward at 160-plus-mph over crests in the road. It’ll have you on the edge of your seat.
The star of the TT was racer John McGuinness. The ‘Morcambe Missile’ took victory in three of four races, beginning with a lap record in the Superbike race that opened the event and culminating in his 11th TT win in the closing Senior TT in which he set yet another lap record. Both races are six laps around the course, which, at 227 miles, is about the length of three MotoGP contests!
Commentators Keith Heuwen and Richard Nichols are entertaining and informed, and the pace of the race footage is kept fairly brisk. In addition to dozens of cameras placed around the circuit, the video presentation is augmented by on-board cameras from dozens of positions, including from the tailsection (forward and rearward), various spots on the side fairings, and from the bikes’ headstocks (looking forward and up toward the rider).
Aerial shots illustrate the beauty of the island circuit, and the true measure of a rider’s velocity can be seen as the helicopter camera gets outrun by the blazing speed of racebikes as they burn through the course’s nefarious twists and straights.
With stone walls and fans just feet away from the high-speed action, crashes at IOM TT are sometimes fatal.
Although the TT is mostly a British phenomenon these days, the allure is strong for some Americans. The Extras section of the DVD contains a feature on American TT riders, with short segments on Jeremy Toye and Mark Miller. The other interesting subsection was the parade lap that shows a gaggle of historic vintage racers, including 12-time TT winner and 15-time GP champ, Giacomo Agostini, riding one of his celebrated MV Agusta three-cylinder grand prix bikes. Glorious music from that, as well as from old small-bore Honda four-cylinder racers.
As someone lucky enough to have experienced legendary TT racer Joey Dunlop scream down the Isle’s Bray Hill at over 165 mph within mere feet of me, with the concussion of his wind blast almost making me lose balance, I can say that this video is a great substitute.
No, it can’t replicate the amazing atmosphere and aura that attending the race in person can, but if you don’t get on the edge of your seat several times while watching this, your passion for motorcycles must not be very strong. Considering its generous 220-minute length, the $35 price from Duke Video is reasonable.
If you have an interest in the Isle of Man TT, you’ll assuredly appreciate this DVD. If you don’t know what the TT is, you’re missing out on one of the greatest spectacles in the world of motorsport.