Well it's been a while since I've been on here but the next stage of travelling has began with a trip to the Isle of Man TT races and it's been an incredible start. Most bikers know about the Isle of Man and the famous races here, it's said to be the most spectacular race in the world and from seeing the very first bike fly down the road I would have to agree, you just go holy shit!!!
To get to here I spent most of last year working, back home in NZ and also a trip to the Yukon to work for my cousin on his gold claim. After a late start there I got in 4 or so months and with long hours and no spending it's been a big help in topping up the funds and allowing the adventure to continue. When the mining finished up in November I relocated the trusty DR from my mates Barton's in Montana down to Orlando in Florida where the bike was to be shipped to Germany using Stefan Knopf's services. This option worked well for me as it allowed for storage at both ends of the shipping and meant that I could get the bike all sorted and head home to New Zealand knowing that the bike will be waiting for me in Germany 5 months later. It was great to catch up with Barton, Vido, and Oklahoma John on the way through to Orlando
300km per hour at the TT
The Isle of man TT has a few things that make it unusual. The course is set out over public roads and through towns. This means that there's stone buildings, fences and trees within centre meters of bikes that are travelling at an average speed of over 200km per hour. The smallest of mistakes are often deadly. In the 100 years or so that this historic event has run over 200 racers have died, that's on average 2 every year. The day I arrived one racer died. Why would you even consider doing this? I think you have to see it for real to understand. You can only be impressed by the ability of the riders, the ability to perform under immense pressure, to remain 100% focussed, the fitness to maintain that focus for 6 laps of the 30 mile course. I can only imagine that competing would an intoxicating high of emotions that would be hard to give up once started even when the consequences are well known. To compete at the Isle of man would be the dream of many road riders and amateur road racers, I'll be happy to stick to the slow paced windy mountain trails that I enjoy the most.
Another unusual aspect of the TT is that those amateur road racers can actually have a blat on the coarse.... along with thousands of others.... all at once!!! Yes, the course is on public roads and in between racing the course is open to anybody who cares to have a leisurely look (like me) and those that want to test themselves on the famous TT course (like the many performance bikes that blew past me). Of course with thousands of bikers out on the roads there's bound to be some carnage and the rumours around camp was that the hospital had no spare beds left.
I had 4 days on the Isle of Man and was blown away with the racing. You hear the bikes screaming towards you at 14 000 rpm and then blast past at mind blowing speeds just meters away from you, you don't get that sort of experience at many events. Anybody that's into bikes should put a trip on their bucket list. During the two weeks of the event the whole place is abuzz with bikers (actually during the day there is a constant roar of road bikes blasting about). It's a great festive atmosphere. The Island itself is beautiful and there's lots to see. Really whished I had a few more days and would have got the chance to see Kiwi rider Bruce Anstey win the sort-after superbike title. Great to see a Kiwi win what is regarded as the greatest motorcycle race in the world.
|A slow section during the Superbike practice|
|Bottom of Bray Hill not far from the start and the bikes are already hitting 180 mph through this dipping bend!!|
|Sulby Crossroads, yeah I know there's no bikes in the shot but that's because they just went by at 300km per hour!! This is one of the fastest sections on the course.|
|Side cars in action|
|Very Professional looking BMW team|
|Yes, these beast's are electric bikes and impressively do 120mph laps|
|Kiwi rider Bruce Anstey's impressive superbike, 200hp|
|.....and the super DR , 35hp!!!|
|Green lanes offer some interesting riding throughout the Isle of Man, open to bikers and horses|
|Nice green lane riding near the southern part of the Island|
|Locals are always great to guide you around.|
|Lots of bikers about during the TT races|
|Isle of Man Coastline|
|Finding some mud on the Isle of Man, the TT road course mountain section is just up ahead. The Dr is truly the ultimate all rounder, straight through these bogs and then break out onto the TT road course and mix it up amongst the road racers!!|
|Tent city at the Old Boys football Club|
|view from the main grandstand at the start and finish|
|Thousands of bikes head to the Island to watch the racing, these two mint Tenere's stood out.|
|Enjoying the festive atmosphere in the evenings|
|The Kiwi built Britten did race at the TT but apparently did not perform to it's potential|
|Reunited with the DR after 5 months at Stefan Knopf's in Heidelberg, Germany. With a massive workshop to do maintenance, accommodation and a bunch of other bikers about Stefan's place was a great way to get started|
|Checking out the Fritz Castle in Germany. Current owners are the 33rd generation of the original family!|
|On route through Belgium, parts of this church are over 1000 years old|
|While staying with cousin Nick and his family in Winchester I had a short trip down to Portsmouth.|
|Henry enjoying a short ride on the bike|
|Liverpool is where I had to catch the ferry to Isle of Man|
|You have to book well in advance to get on the ferry to Isle of Man during the TT. Our sailing was full with 400 bikes on board.|
|Bikers arriving at Isle of Man|