Super Isle of Man TT Motorcycle Racing
Motorcycle racing at The Isle Of Man began in 1907.
The first winning machine was a single cylinder Matchless, with an average winning speed of 38.21 mph.
A trophy was donated by the Marquis de Mouzilly St. Mars. The winner was Charlie Collier, who took out the singles class and overall winner. The twin cylinder class was won in a slightly slower time on a Norton.
The International Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) Race is a motorcycle race held on the Isle of Man that was for many years the premium motorcycle race in the world.
Marquis de Mouzilly St. Mars Trophy is now presented annually to the winner of the Isle of Man Senior TT Motor-Cycle Race.
As roads improved and motorcycle designs ever upgrading, with many manufacturers competing times went down every year and speeds increased.
Class rules and regulations changed very frequently, the single and twin class format remained until 1910, singles to 500cc and twins went from 750cc down to 670cc in an effort to keep the ever increasing speeds down. Top speed still was up from the previous year to 53.15 average speed.
In 1911 a junior class was introduced with singles up to 300cc and twins to 340cc.
The senior class was singles to 500cc and twins to 585cc.
A new course was also introduced this year, the 37.5 mile Snaefell Mountain Course. The race was 5 laps of this course.
The challenges of the new Mountain Course forced changes to motorcycle manufacturers entries. The American Indian Motor-Cycle with a two-speed gearbox and chain-drive proved to be the winning combination in the 1911 Isle of Man Senior TT race.
In 1912 single and twin capacities were combined and capped at 350cc junior and 500cc senior.
After a break for the war racing resumed in 1920. A new lightweight class was introduced for 250cc machines.
The first side chair racing began in 1923 and was won with a Douglas machine.
1924 was the first year average speeds topped 60mph., Norton won this year.
The first 70mph lap was recorded in 1926 on an AJS, much of the course had been tar-sealed by this time.
The 1930s more changes for the Isle of Man TT Races. The event became more commercialized. The 1930s saw increasing use of the races by motorcycle manufacturers to show-case their products. The 1930s produced a faster pace of motorcycle development.
The introduction of supercharging and over-head camshaft engines, rear suspension, and telescopic front forks. These improvements were played out by the main British motorcycle manufacturers such as AJS, Rudge, Sunbeam, and Velocette gradually being eclipsed by the preeminence of the works Nortons.
Increasing interest by foreign manufacturers in the 1930s produced works entries from Europe, notably Italy and Germany. The increased competition produced a frantic search for more power and better handling machines.
The power advantage of supercharged machines increased, their lap speeds began to match and finally overtake the others. By 1938, most of the British manufacturers had a supercharged machine under test.
By 1946 Isle of Man motorcycle racing resumed after WW2
All supercharged bikes were banned in 1947.
The 1949 Isle of Man TT Races was the first event of the inaugural Motorcycle Grand Prix World Championship, now known as the Moto GP. Les Graham was the first 500 cc World Champion. He had finished 10th in the 1949 Senior TT Race.
The 1950s was another decade of change. British manufacturers were being overtaken by European makes, and in 1959 the first Honda was entered. In 1957 a lap average of over 100mph was recorded on a Gilera.
From 1949 to 1976 the race was part of the Motorcycle Grand Prix World Championship series, and was the British Grand Prix home track.
Because of its poor safety record riders started to boycott the Isle of Man circuit, and by 1977 the British Grand Prix was held at Silverstone.
From 1977 to the present day racing is still popular, average speeds are now over 120mph. Racing at the Isle of man TT is still popular for a certain segment of the motorcycling fraternaty.
It is probably the most dangerous course available for daredevil riders.
Over the years over 240 riders have died either racing or in practice.
The fastest lap time is now 132.298 mph held by Bruce Anstey of New Zealand.
Ledgends from over the years include
Joey Dunlop, with 26 wins
John McGuiness with 21 wins
Dave Molyneux with 17 wins
Mike Hailwood with 14 wins
With so many accidents over the years this must be a showcase for protective gear. Motorcycle protective gear has developed tremendously over the more than 100 year history of this motorcycling event.
Protective gear on a motorcycle is an important part of a survival plan on a dangerous racing circuit.
Helmets were optional in the early days and racers wore regular street attire. Now days there is a huge selection of helmets, jackets, boots, and gloves, along with body armor, parts and accessories at motorcycle superstores.
Motorcycle protection has progressed at an equal rate to the motorcycles themselves.