It’s just a small rock in the middle of the Irish Sea, but for those who love motorcycle racing, the Isle of Man is an almost magical place. This is the home of the Snaefell Mountain Course, which is a twisting road circuit that unfolds over the course of 37.75 miles. The speeds are high, and the risks are higher. Many flock to this Manx mainstay to capture the glory that is the Isle of Man TT. A new documentary by Studiokippenberger manages to capture the essence of it all, and it does so rather beautifully.
The film is simply titled “Isle of Man TT.” It’s an 18-minute explanation of why the race exists, why some riders want to push their bikes to extreme limits, and how dangerous it can be. Gorgeous footage of the island, the people, and the race are intercut with interviews of those who race the TT.
The interviews reveal the nervous, joking nature of TT legend John McGuinness, and the wonder and tempered fear of TT first-timer Adam Williams. The husband-and-wife team of Ian Lougher and Asa Lougher provide a very different viewpoint on what the race means from someone who no longer races and the person who has to watch their loved one battle on a very dangerous course.
That danger is all too real. Motorcycle racing on the Isle of Man has claimed more than 250 fatalities. Of those, 147 have come during official TT races or practice sessions. In fact, two riders died at the most recent race held in 2018 and another three died in 2017. Someone dies almost every year the TT is held.
The documentary’s visuals match the drama of the race and the words spoken by the participants. It balances black-and-white interviews with lovely color sequences, including point-of-view footage that captures the bold and intense nature that is riding a bike in competition on the island.
Set aside 18 minutes and give this one a watch. It’s absolutely worth your time. As for the race itself? The fastest time anyone’s posted is shorter quicker than this film. Just this year, Peter Hickman managed to blitz the course in an amazing 16:42.778 atop his BMW S1000RR.