Saturday, 31 May 2008

Fatal attraction

ONE of the scariest things I’ve ever done in sport is hurtling round the TT course at the Isle of Man. It was a pure adrenaline-rush, white-knuckle ride.
And I was ‘safe’ on four wheels - as opposed to two (well most of the time) - in the back of an old mini driven by a local lad.
The roads aren’t that great; there are sheep lurking on every bend and there is also the odd stone wall, fog and rain to contend with.
So anyone who does it for fun on two wheels - at average speeds of up 130pmh - has to have a wheel nut or two missing.
Mad or what?
A few years later I returned to the island with my two young sons - both brought up on a diet of speedway at Long Eaton - and they loved it. Standing on a bend, inches away from the action, they literally lapped it up....until a rider misjudged a bend and piled into the corner of a house.
For the TT comes at a heavy price. The sad fact is, that since the race started in 1911, over 200 riders and spectators have been killed. Talk about health and safety!
It’s carnage. It's also a fatal attraction and this year over 60,000 petrol heads will again line the 37.73-mile course.
And what draws them year after year? Speed.
In 1907 one Charlie Collier won the TT at an average speed of 36.21mph. Technology has now advanced so much that defending champion John McGuiness will hit 200mph on some stretches.
McGuiness, with 13 race wins to his credit, can overtake Mike Hailwood if he wins this year and will roar into second place on the all-time list behind the legendary Joey Dunlop.
McGuiness - married with a seven-year-old - says there is no better feeling in the world than standing on the winner’s rostrum.
But is it really worth the risk?

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