Common Tread

Video: The why of the Isle of Man TT

Jun 12, 2017

Another Isle of Man TT has passed into history — another year of a race that means the world to a few, enough to risk life and everything for it, and means nothing at all to most of the world.

The weather tortured the schedule, three men died this year and Michael Dunlop finished the week by winning the PokerStars Senior TT, following in the successful wheel tracks of his uncle, Joey Dunlop. That doesn't begin to scratch the surface of a TT fortnight, of course, for those who love the event, and it explains nothing to those who don't understand it.

The voice of mainstream U.S. sports, ESPN, aired a piece in which the host, Scott Van Pelt, admitted he knew nothing about the Isle of Man TT before he went on air to read a report about it. Naturally, he asked the obvious question: Considering how dangerous it is, even just to be a spectator, why does anyone do this?

For an answer, he referred in part to some interesting reporting The New York Times did this year, including two videos that look inside the motivations of past and former competitors. One video follows two riders, Adam McLean and Paul Jordan, as they prepare for the TT, seeking the thrill only this race can provide them.

The other video profiles Isle of Man native and former race winner Richard "Milky" Quayle. Though he gave up racing himself, he can't totally let go of the TT. He stays involved by coaching newcomers to the island.

As well done as they are, these videos can't fully explain the "why" of the TT. But then, maybe nobody or nothing can.