Isle of Man TT: The Maw of Death

The Isle of Man TT has long been viewed as the most dangerous circuit in the world of Motorsports -after claiming the lives of three riders in one weekend, the track sharply reminds us of its grim legacy.

The Isle of Man TT has always exemplified the risk and daring inherent in any two-wheeled motorsport. Motorcycles in particular – always being viewed as a form of two-wheeled death machines – truly get a chance to live up to their morbid reputation on the small isle’s roads as over 250 riders have lost their lives on it since its inception. The circuit reminded all onlookers of why it deserves its reputation as it claimed the lives of three riders in one weekend already.

You’d need mega-bollocks to compete in this. Ireland’s roads are seriously narrow with little wiggle room. Riders get dangerously close to the edge constantly and dice with death. Come rain or shine (Usually rain), riders take on the challenge. The best example of this came in 2008 when a rider called Robert Dunlop died in practice. Two days later, his son got on a bike and won the 250cc race to commemorate his dad. There’s also regular jumps to contest with and the proximity of the bikes is arguably tighter than the Isle of Man TT.

Davey Lambert, Jochem van den Hoek, and Alan Bonner were added to the list of fatalities to occur out on the tarmac, as each rider crashed out during their respective series race – taking their bikes out for one final spin. The Isle of Man TT still draws in massive viewership the world over, but after so many deaths, it does beg the question: is there anything that can be done to improve the circuits safety?

Undoubtedly, there are those proponents who would wish to see nothing but the track remains the same, citing that it’s the tracks very danger that makes it such a formidable and tempting foe to conquer. While the presence of danger inherent in motor racing cannot be denied, it is worth considering just how much of a draw the mortality rate is for views and racers alike. Sure, no racer goes into the circuit hoping to die, but the very knowledge that so many of their predecessors have gone up the hill to never come back down issues a challenge that very few would back down from. And so, they go up again – some to return, and some to never be seen again.

RAMSEY, ISLE OF MAN – JUNE 05: The shore off Ramsey catches the evening light in the distance as a competitor rides during a practice session on June 5, 2009 on the Isle Of Man, United Kingdom. Adverse weather conditions prevented the much anticipated Superbike race from taking place on Saturday and, depending on the rain, may be off all weekend. The annual TT race is one of the highlights of the motorbike racing calender with fans travelling from around the globe to watch riders compete in the 37 and three quarter mile lap exceeding speeds of 200mph. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

The track itself is highly unlikely to see any changes, as its layout at this point has become the stuff of legend. It’s blind alleys and tight corners are reason enough for the Motorsports community to annually descend upon the quiet isle town and take turns ripping through the cobbled streets in search of victory. Though the cycle of racing and death at the Isle of Man will continue unabated, the most recent string of deaths to be added to the tally should prompt a moment of reflection in us: to remember the riders who have given up their lives in passionate pursuit of their goal, and to appreciate the quiet intensity of the Isle of Man circuit – which will stand the test of time as Motorsports most brutal and demanding arena.