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Extreme sport that has claimed 200 lives

September 12, 2008

For those that don’t know, the Isle of Man TT races consist of a week of road motorbike racing…not what the British call circuit racing but actual timed motorcycle competition on public roads over a 37.7 mile long course around the Isle of Man. The races take place in June each year and over the 100 year history the races have claimed over 200 lives – they are an extreme event.

For those really not in-the-know, the Isle of Man is a small island country in the Irish Sea, off the north west coast of England. The racing has been going on since 1907 and for many years it was the location of the British Grand Prix until it was dropped from the calendar in 1976 when the circuit was deemed too unsafe for the vicious two-stroke GP bikes. The course itself runs through quaint villages, over Mount Snaefell to an altitude of 1400 ft, through stone wall lined streets and through the tree and hedge filled Manx countryside. It is, by anyone’s description, an incredibly challenging course.

It is the ultimate test for the testosterone fuelled bikers and legends have been born. None more so than Joey Dunlop, he won a record 26 TT races and was world champion for five consecutive years from 1982 to 1986. Somewhat ironically he died in Estonia whilst leading a 125cc race in wet conditions when he lost control of his bike and crashed into a tree, being killed instantly.

The video below, courtesy of the brightstuffdotcom, will give you a taste of The Isle of Man TT races – it shows sections of the race which you will be able to identify from the map below, it clearly shows how tight the ‘track’ is, leaving no room for error and possibly explaining why there are so many fatalities and it also demonstrates that the week is not only for the serious stuff – there is a lot of fun to be had too.

Map of the TT Course

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