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The Isle of Man is Aptly Named

For those of us in the United States — indeed, outside of Europe — watching racing at the Isle of Man TT is something very special.

I am used to riders complaining about the danger of racetracks (walls too close, without enough runoff area, being the most frequent complaint). When I first saw the Isle of Man TT on television (I have not been there, myself), I couldn’t believe the danger the riders dealt with.

The racing through the narrow streets of this small island at phenomenal speeds (approaching 190 mph for the bigger bikes) is truly breathtaking. The spectators line the course and watch the riders flash by. Sweeping turns, taken at very high speeds, are sometimes lined by concrete curbs and stone walls at the side of the road.

These are special riders, and the most notable of them is Joey Dunlop. Dunlop has won Isle of Man TT races 26 times, and he is currently 48 years old. At that age, he won three more times this year.

The Northern Europeans (particularly, the British) have a passion for motorcycling that goes beyond that seen here in the United States (in my opinion). They are consumed by it. Many of them understand, as few of us do, that motorcycle racing is the ultimate challenge, and marriage, of man and machine.

If you haven’t already done so, I recommend that you watch the Isle of Man TT on television (if you can) or buy a video of the event. If you have ever felt that you are just too passionate about, or consumed by, motorcycling, this will change your mind.