At every one of my TT presentation participants asked about purchasing prints. With my travels and preparing for the 2019 TT, I just didn’t want to take the time to move ahead and set up the process to sell prints.
Starting with my fall programs, I put together a collection of my 33 favorite images from the TT and created a photo catalog Up Close at the TT and webpage to facilitate the purchase of prints.
What has ultimately happened is that people want to buy the book!
To that end, I have created two different formats that are available to purchase. Both are hard cover books measuring 8 ¼ “ tall by 9 ½” wide, so that when opened each double page spread has one image that is 8” x 12” and a smaller 4” x 6” image.
Included are images of the World’s fastest road racer Peter Hickman, John McGuiness, Michael Dunlop, Michael Rutter, Dean Harrison, Guy Martin and others, at some of the most famous portions of the iconic Isle of Man Mountain course. You can view all of the book’s images on my website.
The content for both formats are exactly the same. The first is a ‘lay-flat’ format with heavy weight paper, and the second is printed on 100# premium luster paper.
As some of you know, I live in Minneapolis, there is snow on the ground, my GS and my RR are both tucked away for hibernation.
Although the 2019 Isle of Man TT is long since in my rear-view mirror, I have been traveling to US BMW Motorrad dealers to present my Up Close at the TT multimedia program. This weekend I am off to BMW Motorcycles of South East Michigan (12/7) and then on to BMW Motorcycles of Temecula, CA (12/14).
It really is a great job. I get to take photos of amazing riders and incredible machines and then I get to show off my photos and talk about one of my favorite things to talk about to people who actually want to listen.
I am really fortunate that I have a topic where there is both broad and historic interest. Almost everyone who joins me at my program, at one time or another has said, Someday – I want to go see the TT.
For 2020 the TT runs from Sunday May 31 through Friday, June 12th. Solely based on the way the dates fall, this is a bit later than in 2019. Also, there has been a change in the schedule. For 2020 practice starts on Sunday afternoon instead of Saturday. I have included the official schedule below.
If you need convincing about the event, here are a few comments from guys who really know –
Get on a plane and get over here, because there is nothing else like it, it’s so special. Peter Hickman
I tell people that if you don’t believe me how amazing the TT is, they should go buy their ticket, book their place to stay and if they don’t love it, I will pay for everything! It’s that amazing. – Lee Johnson.
Just get yourself over here, it’s worth it. Come over support the American racers, it really is the greatest show on earth. – Sam West
One of the most asked questions I receive, is when should I go? I can’t go for the entire fortnight, what is the best time to be there?
One thing you have to keep in mind is weather. One if the reasons the Isle of Man is so green, is it that it rains, and no one races in the rain! The risk is too big and the margin for error too small.
2018 was a year of fabulous weather, 2019 not so much. It is possible to plan a short trip to the TT and not see any racing.
My plan for 2020 is to again arrive a few days before practice begins and stay until a few days after the final race. I use the excuse of ‘well you know, I am working.’ But the truth is, I just really enjoy the Isle of Man and being with my friends there and that I am planning on tentatively returning for the Manx Gran Prix in August.
The answer of when to go depends on how much time you have.
If you have the time, go for the full fortnight – GO!
If you only have a week, try to arrive on Wednesday morning of practice week.
During practice week the paddock buzzes with activity, the riders are accessible for autographs and brief conversation and everyone is having a fabulous time.
If you arrive early in the day, you can see practice sessions on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and races on Saturday and Monday. Then you can head home on Tuesday.
The harder question if I only have 3 or 4 days, when should I go? For me 3 days would feel really rushed and I suggest that if you are going to do 4 days. Arrive Thursday morning and leave Monday evening.
If it rains on Saturday, they will likely race on Sunday afternoon.
Either way you will have time to explore, see some really fast bikes and still have time to get some touring in on the Isle of Man.
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 and share stories about the Isle of Man and the TT, I always tell people that if you only go the Isle of Man and only watching fast motorcycles, you are missing half of the experience. This small island nation is a truly an amazing place to explore. There are rugged coastlines, lush National Glens, rolling hills, historic churches and cemeteries, as well as the an amazing waterwheel built in 1854.
I could go on and on, but I will just share a few photos and you can start planning your days off at the 2020 TT.
WOW – it has happened, I am on the plane headed home and the last three weeks have flown by like the motorbikes hitting the end of the Sulby straight, and the 2019 Isle of Man TT is in the books.
My hope is it will be remembered not for the rainy days but the incredible skills of the riders, the tireless efforts of their crews and the perseverance of the marshals as they were at their stations waiting for the racing to commence, only to have another day canceled.
There is a spirit to the Isle of Man, part of it comes from the community that is part of nature of living on an island and part is showing off for the TT. For weeks before the riders, crews and spectators arrive homes along the course and throughout the island are trimming hedges, painting homes and preparing to show off the Isle as the it becomes the center of the Road Racing universe.
I am truly one of the lucky ones, I have had pleasure of making some amazing friends over the last three years.
Rob, a Deputy Sector Marshal and good friend.
Pete & Jen, my amazing hosts who set an high bar for making visitors feel like family.
Allan ‘Kipper’ Killip, who began as a Traveling Marshal in 1962
Jim Hunter, a Traveling Marshal (#2)
Malcom Wheeler, who with his wife Julie celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at this year’s TT, where they had spent their honeymoon. Malc was on the podium 3 times in the mid-80’s.
Trevor Denning, Deputy Chief Technical Officer
A Senior TT Party that starts the day with bacon baps and has an amazing view of the course.
A 50th surprise birthday party,
Dozens and dozens of dedicated marshals.
And of course the riders –
And with the mighty come the fallen, I had also gotten to know Dan Kneen who was killed in 2018 and Daley Mathison who perished in a crash this year. No one will every really know what happened, but all should remember the amazing spirit and skills of these two young riders, who passed doing that they loved.
For 2019, we have also had the chance to see the newest Superbike how it would fare alongside the time and race tested machines. The all new BMW S1000RRmade its TT debut and quickly proved to be the fastest cat in the jungle.
Needless to say, there are a lot of stories to share. I hope that if you follow my blog, you will come and see for yourself what has enticed generations of motorcyclist to make the pilgrimage to the Isle of Man.
Stay tuned, my plan is to post a new blog every Tuesday and Thursday for the next few weeks or until I run out of things to share.
Please send me a questions or topics of interest you have and I will try to respond.
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.
WOW – two days in a row! That, in and of itself is enough to bring a smile to visitors to the 2019 Isle of Man TT. With a positive forecast Gary Thompson, the Clerk of Course created an ambitious schedule of racing and practice to run throughout the day and evening. Roads closed at 10:00 AM and reopened for 90 minutes between 4:30 and 6:00 to allow people to get home for work and then closed for another evening race.
The first Superbike started just a few minutes late due to a non-race related medical incident.
I spent the morning and afternoon at the iconic Ballaugh Bridge, just past the 17-mile mark. Where I have shot in the past and know the marshals.
Having had some issues with his Superbike at Sunday’s practice combined with turning in some of the fastest sector times of the week on his Superstock bike, on Sunday night Peter’s Smith Racing crew turned his Superstock bike into a Superbike. One of the really cool parts of the rebuild is that Peter’s new S1000RR – had a Road Bike Engine in it!
After being a few seconds behind in the initial sectors, Peter consistently gained time on race leader Dean Harrison.
A red flag after a tragic incident on the course shortened the race, Hickman was in the lead and declared the winner.
The good weather and celebration was muted due to the tragic death of Daley Mathison on the third lap of the course. I will have another post about Daley next week.
A rain day today but the forecast and the schedule look good for Wednesday.
Pulling back the curtain on Sunday morning offered little hope there would be any racing. Checking all of the weather apps on my phone offered little encouragement. Socked in and puddles in the street, I was trying to decide how I was going to spend the day.
But as the hours ticked by, the sky brightened, and the road closing schedule was unchanged – All roads closing at 12:45 and practice for sidecars at 1:30. Although 1:30 morphed into 3:00 due to damp roads, eventually you could hear engines revving on the grid via race radio.
I had been dropped off at Braddan Bridge, less than 2 miles from the start. I have shot well from there in the past and it was relatively easy to get back to the house if things didn’t go well.
But things did go! And finally, there were motorbikes around the course. A small group of who had traveled from Florence were sitting on the wall behind me, beaming, and there was great energy in the crowd who had be patiently waiting, many in very damp tents.
For just over two hours, there were sidecars, superbikes, superstocks and supersports flying by Braddan Church.
Riders tested as many bikes as they could as quickly as possible, some taking two laps and some pitting every lap to make adjustments.
With only two practice sessions on the Superbikes they would be racing on Monday.
The afternoon wrapped up with one lap practice for the TT Zero bikes, I love the idea of the electric bikes but they are hard to shoot because I can never hear them coming.
Heading back on the course today for lots of racing and practice.
With apologies to both Dr. Seuss and The (Manx) Cat and the Hat, for the most part the 2019 Isle of Man TT has been too wet to play.
Practice was supposed to be Saturday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Although previously unscheduled, there was practice on Sunday and again on Tuesday but even though the roads looked good at the start and here in Glen Vine, up on Snaefell Mountain, the visibility was so low the medical helicopters wouldn’t have been able to fly.
But that was for Friday, let’s rewind a bit.
I am here at the TT to collect and tell a few stories about the oldest, fastest and most dangerous race in the world. Mostly, I do this with my camera. This year, my favorite video producer Jon Phillips has joined me for a week at the TT. In addition to shooting stills, our plan was to shoot video interviews with some of the riders that I got to know last year and create a YouTube Channel to share some of the drivers’ insights with fans in America.
This is special year, and it will be even more special if the weather clears. This will be the TT’s introduction to the brand new and amazing BMW S1000RR. When first introduced in 2009, it was revolutionary. The new model is NOT an evolution, but total redesign. We will have lots of comments from top drivers. Including Peter Hickman and Michael Rutter.
Stay tuned while we get the edits done over the next few weeks and in the meantime, here are a few photos.