Have you heard about the Isle of Man TT? It’s a motorcycle racing event which doubles as the most dangerous fortnight in sport, claiming two lives on average every year. It’s also a place Australians and New Zealanders have enjoyed a lot of success, and over the next two weeks a strong contingent from Down Under will take on the famed street course once again. Here’s what you need to know.
What is it?
The most revered and feared motorcycle racing event on the planet.
Wedged between the coastlines of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, the Isle of Man stops for two weeks every year so consenting adults can fly two-wheeled machines around the 60.72km circuit, which is formed around normal residential and rural roads.
Run-off areas like you see on purpose-built racetracks don’t exist on most parts of this circuit, with corners flanked by brick fences, telegraph poles, lots and lots of pubs, thick oak trees, deep-set gutters and rustic stone churches from the Victorian era.
The IOMTT is viewed as the greatest challenge for street racers in the world, and for spectators it’s a regular on bucket lists.
Our history with the TT
Across the 110 years which have past since the TT’s birth, Australians, and particularly New Zealanders, have enjoyed plenty of joy there.
— 365 Days of Motoring (@365daysmotoring) May 28, 2017
Bruce Anstey is without doubt the pick of the bunch. Not only the most-successful rider from this end of the world, but one of the greatest TT competitors of all time, boasting 11 wins. At one stage back in 2015 Anstey had the incredible record of having finished on the podium in 60 per cent of his races at the Isle of Man, a stat which puts him in the conversation with the greatest road racer of all time, the late Joey Dunlop.
Former Kiwi Grand Prix racer Graeme Crosby enjoyed a Senior TT, TTF1 and Classic win in the 1980s, while Sydney’s Kelvin Carruthers won twice at the circuit, with the first triumph coming in the 1969 250cc TT.
Fellow Aussie Cameron Donald did the double in 2008, claiming the Superbike and Superstock race.
They aren’t all happy memories however, and so far a total of 12 Australians and Kiwis have lost their lives while racing on the current IOM circuit.
Who are the Aussies and Kiwis competing in 2017?
Australia: David Johnson, Josh Brookes, Joe Akroyd
New Zealand: Bruce Anstey, Chris Lawrance (Sidecar)
In 2014 Anstey became the fastest man ever at the Isle of Man, completing a lap in 17 minutes 6.682 seconds, at an average speed of 132.298 mph (212.913 km/h). The record has since been beaten, but Anstey will go down as one of the greatest riders ever to take on the mountain circuit.
Fellow Kiwi Lawrence is a TT veteran in the sidecar category, and competed at the island through the 2000s with brother Richard.
From the Australian side of things Josh Brookes is a top-class circuit racer who comes off time spent in the World Superbike Championship. The 34-year-old New South Welshman became the fastest newcomer ever at the TT during his 2013 debut. In 2017 Brookes will form an all-Australian team for Norton, teaming up with David Johnson.
— Josh Brookes (@JoshBrookes) May 24, 2017
The race schedule and how to watch it
In New Zealand Sky Sport will show hour-long highlight packages, check guide for details. Fox Sports have you covered in Australia, and once again check guide for times. All races listed below are in local Isle of Man time.
Saturday 3rd June
11.00 TT Superbike Race (6 laps)
14.00 TT Sidecar Race 1 (3 laps)
Monday 5th June
10.45 TT Supersport Race 1 (4 laps)
14.15 TT Superstock (4 laps)
Wednesday 7th June
10.45 TT Supersport Race 2 (4 laps)
13.45 TT Lightweight Race (4 laps)
16.25 TT Zero Race (1 lap)
Friday 9th June
10.30 TT Sidecar Race 2 (3 laps)
12.45 Senior TT Race (6 laps)