The Isle of Man TT is something that all motorcyclists should experience at least once in their lifetime
Story by Michael Kirk
Photos by Catherine Booth
For more than 100 years, motorcyclists have raced for the Tourist Trophy (TT) on the narrow, unforgiving public roads of the Isle of Man (IoM). The confines of the course and the proximity of spectators creates a sensation of speed that has few equivalents. Victory on the 37.73-mile Mountain Course is regarded as a singular achievement, testing both mettle and metal to the extreme.
But few sporting events carry with them such an extraordinarily high cost of failure as does the TT. The death toll now sits at 257 riders since 1911. Two racers – Dan Kneen and Adam Lyon – lost their lives at the 2018 TT.
In Canada, motorcycle racing, like most motorsports, is a niche pursuit. However, at the TT, you are immersed in an atmosphere that is 100 per cent bike racing, and with a fervour that is astounding. This pulls you in and pushes aside your personal discomfort over the consequences of rider error. My wife and I attended the 2018 IoM TT as first-timers, awestruck by the speed but quietly relieved not to have witnessed the tragic accidents. The racing was remarkable, with fine weather contributing to lap records across multiple classes, including Peter Hickman’s Senior TT victory with the first-ever 135-plus mile per hour lap.
The TT is a spectacle, so pictures, rather than words, tell the story best. My wife, Catherine, is an accomplished wildlife and landscape photographer but a first-time attendee at a motorcycle race. Since 150 mph elephants are rare, some adjustments were needed! A quick study and equipped with a new sports-oriented high-speed camera, she captured the essence of the TT in this series of photos.