Whether on TV or from the course, we watch the TT and marvel at the amazing skills of the drivers. Close to the hedge, even closer to an unforgiving stone wall and sections with a mountain on one side and nothing on the other. While amazing Peter Hickman’s lap record of 135.452 mph doesn’t tell the whole story. With speeds approaching 200 mph, decisions have to be made while traveling up to nearly 300 feet per second. Think about it, the length of a football pitch EVERY SECOND.
As they say – fast in the fast parts and slow in the slow parts, but with 264 turn there are many more fast than slow.
The riders, much like jet fighter pilots but with even less room for error have to rely on lap after lap after lap of practice, instinct and lightning fast reflexes. The course is unforgiving and there is no room for error.
But errors are made and friends are lost. On June 3, 2019 Daley Mathison made an error. No one will ever really know what happened, if it was the smallest error in his line, something mechanical or debris on the course, what we do know is that we lost an amazing young rider, a father, a husband and a friend.
I got to know Daley in 2018 and spent some time with him during practice week this year. Such a passionate young man, dedicated to the sport and even more dedicated to Natalie and Daisey. My heart goes out to his family and others who he touched.
Daley – rest in peace, you are missed.
I hope you enjoy a few of my photos of Daley and remembering him doing what he loved to do.
As I travel to BMW Dealers in the US and give my presentation the TT Experience, I always dedicate a few minutes to the sidecars. Sidecar racing is a bit difficult to describe until you see it. It’s much like the rest of the TT but more so. I always describe it a cross between Star Wars and insanity.
Just look at this photo, doesn’t it look like a speeder?
Flying over Ballaugh Bridge just like the solo riders, the sidecars are an amazing test of the riders, the passengers and the machine. Their graceful flight belies the impact of the landing. (#5 – Pete Founds & Jevan Walmsley).
The passengers, appropriately and affectionately called Monkeys, must have strength, flexibility, balancing and an unyielding trust in their driver. The have very little to hang onto in trying to balance the weight distribution and counteract the force of turning, the passenger lays out and has turbulent landing.
Just a few yards down the course, they pick up speed with the passengers tucked in and they are gone.
Ben and Tom Birchall below have won the last 8 sidecar events at the TT, and on Monday they made it #9. They move as a unit, smooth and graceful and FAST! Really, really FAST!
If you find this short post intriguing, check out the video 3-Wheeling!By my buddy Chris Beauman.
With a single lap of 37.73 miles and 264 turns, there can be no doubt that part of the TT is survival for both the men and machines. Although not the fastest point of the race but one of the clearest illustrations of the physical demands of the race is at Ballaugh Bridge.
Coming over the bridge at over 60 mph, everyone is launched into the air.
The following sequence is from Monday’s Superbike Race and to give you an idea of speed, these are continuous shots at 12 frames per second.
This sequence is less than a 1/2 second out of the race. Now think 6 laps for the big bikes. 226 miles with 1,584 bone-shaking, bike-bashing turns, with miles and miles of rough roads in between.
Amazing athletes, amazing machines and really no surprise when one breaks down on the side of the road.