Manx TT: Ten Things You (might not) Know
1. The Isle of Man TT began in 1907, after a law was cleared in 1904 that allowed roads to be closed for the Gordon Bennett car trials.
2. When the race first started practice sessions used to take place in the early morning with regular traffic. Charlie Collier and Rem Fowler were the two winners of the then two-class race (single and double).
3. The BBC started broadcasting the race live after the second world war.
4. The current course is 37.73 miles (six laps) which was adopted in 1920, though the original course (known as St. John’s course) was under half this at 15.6 miles. There was also a course called the Clypse Course for Sidecar, Ultra Lightweight and Lightweight race. It was first used in 1954 and was 10.79 miles long.
5. The TT route is scattered with memorials to the various riders who have been killed or injured during the gruelling race. In 1970 alone 6 riders were killed and in its history it has taken 223 lives.
6) In 1977 the race lost its world championship title, due to safety reasons, though continued as an opportunity for any road race enthusiasts to make their mark, including John Mc Guinness who took 15 wins, Phil “Hizzy” Hislop who took 11 and Phillip McCallen who took 11
7 The ‘King of the Road’, Joey Dunlop OBE MBE is undoubtedly the most decorated rider that the TT has seen, with a total of 26 wins. His first win was in 1977 and he has gained titles such as: “7 Formula 1, 4 Senior, 3 Junior, 5 Lightweight and 5 UltraLightweight Races, plus the 1977 Jubilee Race and the 1980 Classic 1000”. He is also the only rider in history to have 3 hat-tricks to his name- “1985 F1, Senior and Junior, 1988 F1, Senior and Junior and in 2000 the Formula One, Lightweight and Ultra Lightweight.” In 2002 the 26th Milestone was renamed “Joey’s” in his memory.
8 The race was cancelled in 2001 due to a Britain-wide outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease.
9 The fastest ever lap was set by John McGuinness riding a 1000 HM Plant Honda in 2007 in the Senior TT, clocking 17m 21.99s at a speed of 130.354mph. This lap time also lead him to take the fastest race time of 1hr 11m 56.29s. In 2007, the centenary of the event all but 1 category for both lap and race records were shattered.
10 The 2009 race saw John McGuinness destroy his previous lap record in the Senior TT category riding a Honda CBR1000R with a time of 17’12.30 and an average speed of 131.578 mph.
2009 also saw the first zero-emissions race with 15 all-electric bikes.
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