The Isle of Man that isn’t the TT

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.

The Lady Isabella in Laxey
The Lady Isabella in Laxey
The Lady Isabella in Laxey
Ballaglass Glen near Ramsey
Ballaglass Glen near Ramsey
Entrance to Marine Drive – just a few minutes from Douglas
Marine Drive – just a few minutes from Douglas
A 12th Century Viking Castle
The rolling hills are incredibly quiet on non-race days.
Sometimes you forget you are on an island.

Man and Machines Surviving the TT

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.

Dominic Herbertson up out of the saddle launches over Ballaugh Bridge
Dominic’s moto touches down, he is further off of the saddle.
Touchdown and his bike almost bottoms out.
Dominic’s suspension rebounds and he is still high on the saddle.
Now full gas, front wheel lifting and rear tire compressing.

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.

The sun did not shine. It was too wet to play.

New BMW 2020 S1000RR – Resting in the Rain

The sun did not shine.

It was too wet to play.

So we sat in the house

All that cold, cold, wet day.

I sat there with Jon

We sat there, we two.

And I said, “how I wish

We had something to do.”.

Dude – let’s go get some interviews! 

And that’s exactly what we did. 

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. 

A few early morning photos and conversation with Michael Rutter about his lap on the 2020 S1000RR
For Sam West it’s still a work day, sitting here between his Superbike and Superstock S1000RR
Lee Johnston eager to get out on the Mountain Course.
Peter Hickman, the World’s Fastest Road Racer is riding the new S1000RR
When you’re fast, there is always someone trying to chase you down.
What’s the last thing to go through a bug’s mind, when your going 192 on Sulby Straight?
Wasn’t that Michael Rutterrrrrrr?

Superbike Are On the Road

Michael Dunlop on his first practice lap on his new S1000RR Superbike

4:00 PM on Monday afternoon the skies darkened, the rain clouds moved in and within minutes, the speakers in the paddock blasted out the news that the evenings practice was canceled. Not unexpected but not what was hoped for.

Tuesday morning was bright, sunny and cool and we headed up to the former Jurby Airfield and current Motordrome for some early morning testing. The Jurby course is a short course where the teams can get some time in and make adjustments without having to worry about riding the entire TT Mountain course.

We went up hoping to get a few photos of the new 2020 S1000RR. TT veteran Michael Rutter was supposed to be on the bike for the first time, in addition to his Superbike and Mugen Electric.

2020 BMW S1000RR in the morning sun.

There are only five of the new RR’s on the Island. Peter Hickman and Michael Dunlop each have their Superbike and Supersport and then there is this one. Furnished courtesy of BMW Motorrad UK to Performance Bike Magazine. This is the M-Sport model, just as it came out of the crate.

Performance Bike Magazine had arranged with Michael Rutter, the TT Officials and Motorrad UK to take the bike out for a test lap on the Mountain course, immediately after the conclusion of the Monday’s official practice session.

As the side car practice ended at 8:50 PM, Michael Rutter got on to the new 2020 RR for the very first time.

Michael Rutter on his first ride of the new 2020 S1000RR flying over Ballagary

I have only heard two bits of detail from his first ride:

  • He absolutely loved it; and
  • He hit 192 mph.

Not bad for the first time on the bike!

More to follow tomorrow.