Each year, the Isle of Man plays host to the world’s most famous road-racing event, the IOM TT.
A melting pot for all-things two-wheeled, each year, the steady pace of one the UK’s most tranquil islands transforms during the opening race week of June, as the likes of Michael Dunlop, John McGuiness and Bruce Anstey, go head to head in a bid to secure the fastest time around the Isle’s 38-mile circuit.
2016 has been no different, and just as they have done for 105 years, thousands of bikers have ventured across the Irish Sea to immerse themselves in one of the UK’s finest biking traditions.
There really is nothing quite like it elsewhere in the world, and it’s hardly surprising that this year has been particularly special – thanks not only to Ian Hutchinson’s stunning hat-trick of TT wins, but the weather on Ellan Vallin too.
“The fantastic weather has really helped [this year]” states former three-time World Champion, Ron Haslam, “I can remember every practice and race that has been abandoned because of the weather, so it’s great to see everyone having a good time this time around.”
While the inclement weather changes year after year, one thing has remained the same since Ron’s days of racing back in the 1970s, and that’s the fact that the already hair-raising lap times just seem to get quicker and quicker.
“The records [are] getting faster each year” agrees ‘Rocket’ Ron, “ever since they opened up many parts of the circuit – allowing riders to see straight through – it’s made things much quicker.”
Michael Dunlop – nephew of one of Ron’s greatest rivals (and friends), Joey Dunlop –found himself at the centre of controversy when it was announced that he would be disqualified from Supersport Race One due to a ‘technical infringement’ identified during the post-race examination.
For Ron – a rider who, like Michael Dunlop, has faced a ban during the TT – the impact of a ban offers an opportunity for Dunlop Jr. to grow and learn.
Although times may have changed since Ron’s golden years, the TT’s draw remains just as strong today than ever before.
“I had many good years with Joey and Honda” concludes a reflective Ron, “and I will never forget it.” Of that we’re sure – just as we’re sure that next year will provide more of the same brilliant racing, frantic lap times and unbeatable atmosphere.
More of the same in 2017? You bet. We’ll see you there.