Isle of Man TT

From Academic Kids

The Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy), or Manx TT, is a motorcycle racing event held on the Isle of Man.

The Isle of Man, set in the Irish Sea between England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, is at first glance an unlikely mecca for motorcycle racing, being just 33 by 13 miles, (53 by 21 km). It is known for having its own currency, stamps, native tongue and the world's oldest continuous parliament, the Tynwald. However, the Isle is also world famous because of its TT series of motor races, first held on the island's roads in 1904. They were originally restricted to automobiles, but motorcycles were admitted in 1907 and the torturous, undulating terrain made the TT race series the most significant motor-cycle road-racing competition in the world.

The Oxford Companion to World Sports and Games notes, "The oldest motor-cycle racing circuit still in use is the Snaefell mountain course over which the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy races are run. Starting at the town of Douglas on the south-east coast, the course takes a wide sweep to the west and north to enter the town of Ramsey on the north-east coast and thence return to the starting point, each lap measuring 37 3/4 miles (60.6 km) and taking in over 200 bends while climbing from sea level to an altitude of over 1,300 ft (396 m). This circuit is the epitome of the natural road course, all the roads used being ordinary public highways closed for the racing and practice sessions."

The first TT race over the Snaefell course took place in 1911. In 1957 the TT races were headlined when the late Bob McIntyre recorded the first 100 mph (161 km/h) lap, riding his Italian Gilera. Two years later, a new racing team, Honda of Japan, participated in the 125 cc race. Today, the premier TT racing bikes are streamlined, technological wonders that complete the Snaefell course at an average speed exceeding 120 mph (193 km/h). The lap record of 127.29 mph (205 km/h) was established by the late David Jefferies in 2002.

From 1949 to 1975 the race was part of the Motorcycling World Championship and was the home of the British Grand Prix until 1976. The most successful rider was the late Joey Dunlop who won 26 times in various classes from 1977 to 2000.

The TT races are extremely dangerous because of the high speeds on very narrow, twisting streets, roads and lanes flanked by stone walls and even buildings. Unfortunately, they have already taken almost 180 lives throughout their history. However of the three names mentioned on this page, only David Jefferies died on the island. Bob McIntyre was killed in a race at Oulton Park in England in 1962, and Joey Dunlop was fatally injured in a race at Tallinn, Estonia, in 2000.

Traditionally held in the last week of May and the first week of June, the TT races create a carnival atmosphere. Picnicking crowds flanking the circuit are reminiscent of the community festivals that are part of another form of cycle racing in a different country - the Tour de France. During the TT Festival and the Manx Grand Prix it is difficult to travel across or around the island because of the road closures. There is a TT access road in Douglas that gives access to the centre of the mountain course during the event.

External link

External link

nl:Tourist Trophy

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