2011 Isle of Man TT: Tragic Heroes

Lieback’s Corner (#6) / 6.5.2011

If there’s one race event that I anticipate more than anything throughout the year, it’s the Isle of Man TT. To put this in perspective: if John McGuinness and Valentino Rossi were together, I’d shake the throttle hand of the 16-time TT winner first.

I’ve been hoping to visit the Island the past few years, but the trip always gets sidelined. Plus, the first time I visit I hope to be competing. I have many goals within the motorcycle industry, and about 60-percent of them pertain directly to motorcycle racing. And the number-one event on my list is the Isle of Man TT.

When I explain this to friends and loved ones, they immediately think I’m crazy. The reason, as most fans of the IOMTT would know, is that if you crash there, well, the worst is likely to happen: death.

And I was hoping this year’s event wouldn’t have any fatalities, but on the second day of practice, the 37.73-mile Mountain Course claimed two more in sidecar practice.

The Auto Cycle Union reported that the two racers killed in the Isle of Man TT crash were Bill Currie, 67, of Ellesmere Port, and his passenger Kevin Morgan, 59, of Shrewsbury.

Last year throughout the entire IOMTT, two riders persished, both on the penultimate day of competition: the Australian Martin Loicht and Paul Dobbs of New Zealand.

With Tuesday’s tragedy, the total fatalities rose to 231 on the Mountain Course in both TT and Manx Grand Prix races and practices since 1911.

One-hundred years, 231 fatal crashes. All those riders are the true heroes of the TT, and although it may sound counterintuitive, these pilots further inspire me to follow my ambition to take on the Island.

These crash statistics can quickly resolve anyone’s plans to compete in such an event, but they also make the IOMTT more of a challenge. The race is the ultimate psychological test, and this mixed with the actual motorcycle’s ability to finish mechanically brings about a whole new level of motorcycle competition.

Will I ever be there as a competitor? Who knows. Sometimes all of our dreams are swallowed by the mundane, and this just may happen to my IOMTT dreams.

But if I do ever get there, and actually have a shot at racing, I’d ride at 80-percent of my ability, not wanting to become another hero of the Island.

And hopefully the 2011 Isle of Man TT doesn’t create any more heroes, but rather some more record breakers. 

Stay Twisted; Throttle yr Soul
– Ron Lieback (Online Editor)

(For report of the 2011 IOMTT Dainese Superbike race, click here).