TT Talking, The TT’s Most Exciting Era

TT Talking, The TT’s Most Exciting Era | Reader’s LibraryFor those of us who have never experienced the TT and Manx GP at the Isle of Man, what we know of those legendary events is pretty much limited to reading the race results and taking in the images and video we may have access to through various media outlets and online.

The actual TT experience remains something of a mystery that we can only speculate about or imagine. The inner workings of how the event itself transpires is even more remote, if we think about it at all.

Yet, there is so much more to the story of the Isle of Man that most race coverage doesn’t touch on; the politics, the history, the inside story of the remarkable personalities both on and off the track that make the Isle of Man TT one of the most fascinating and historic events in all of motor sports.

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In his new book, “TT Talking, The TT’s most exciting era,” Charlie Lambert, lead event commentator for Manx Radio TT from 2004 to 2012, takes the reader deep into the aspects of the event spectators never see—even if they did make the journey to the island.

Lambert’s perspective as a reporter of the action, third-party observer of the politics and processes and narrator of the triumph and tragedy that goes with the TT makes his book a compelling thing to read. It is part memoir revealing his close personal affinity for the place, the event and its people and part history, recalling with fascinating detail not only who won which event, but how.

His year-by-year flow of events shows how he joined the broadcast team and became a student of the event so successfully that he tells its story as more than a well-informed sportscaster, but as a master of the event with all its contradictions and idiosyncrasies.

The years Lambert covers saw their share of historic milestones such as the first lap times over 131 mph for conventional motorcycles and the first laps in excess of 100 mph for electric bikes when Michael Rutter won the e-bike event and put down an average speed of 104.056 mph in 2012.

He provides revealing and moving insight into the difficulty of handling the tragic news of competitor deaths on the course — as well as those of spectators and one of the volunteer race track marshals. His account of events in 2005 shows just how deadly events can be as three riders were killed in the TT that year and six were killed in the Manx GP.

Lambert delves into the matter-of-fact way the death of competitors is handled at the IOM, “The Isle of Man is not in that touchy-feely politically correct world that most of us inhabit the rest of the year. We are in a place where red-blooded challenges are still exactly that, where the penalties for failure are not watered down, where you survive if you are good enough and lucky enough and may not survive at all if you are neither.

“That’s the bargain and you buy into it of your own choice. No one races because they have to. They all race because they want to. And they all know every last paragraph of the bargain.”

The 160 page softcover book includes 16 pages of color event images that help bring the story and some of its key figures to life – and a foreword by 21-time (as of 2014) Isle of Man TT winner John McGuinness.

If you are a fan of the IOM TT and Manx GP, but probably will never make the trip to the Island, Lambert’s book is an excellent way to get a behind-the-scenes look at the event that will make the other ways you follow it all the more interesting; if you are one of the lucky ones who goes or plans to go, it will enhance the experience.

Book Data:

  • Title: TT Talking—The TT’s most exciting era
  • Author: Charlie Lambert
  • Published: 2014 softcover, 160 pages.
  • Publisher: Veloce Publishing, Parkway Farm Business Park, Middle Farm Way, Poundbury, Dorchester, DT1 3AR, England
  • ISBN: 978-1-845847-50-0
  • MSRP: U.S. $24.95 U.K. £14.99 CAN $27.95