Watch a fascinating and moving insight into the most dangerous motorsport on the planet in Chris Kippenberger’s award-winning Isle of Man TT documentary.
The man behind the documentary, Chris Kippenberger, calls it “a tribute film to all the fallen heroes of the Isle of Man since 1907”, in which he explores how dangerous the race is and what keeps its competitors coming back for more ─ even though the lives of more than 240 of them have been lost while competing.
Compared with Formula One, the IoM TT is brutal. Deadly. Unforgiving. With an average speed around 130mph as riders negotiate the often narrow 37.7-mile course with 250 corners strewn across public roads, it is a motorsport for the truly brave. Or utterly mad.
It is almost laughable how blasé some of its competitors are when talking about the dangers. How many races see the participants travelling at 200mph inches away from a brick wall? Yet they talk about it as if it was a trip to the cafe in M&S.
“The race starts a long time before the race starts, it starts from the first thing in the morning,” veteran rider Ian Lougher said of the mindset needed to compete. “You’re thinking about every little thing. The pit stops, changing the helmet, changing the visor… If you don’t think about those things, you’re not going to be competitive.”
23-time TT winner John McGuiness mentions having certain rituals to bring him home in one piece: “A couple of my close mates were killed at the track and I always ask them to look after me when I go through certain parts of the course.”
The quality of the camera work is an impressive feat in itself, as is the Drive-inspired soundtrack, yet the bit that really takes your breath away is the fact it is a real race. A modern-day gladiator sport that is somehow still allowed in an age of warning signs and autonomous braking.
Formula One need only look at a small island in the Irish Sea to see how racing should be done.
Kippenberger tells us “a race show is in the works” (it is actually called Kart Kids and follows budding drivers) and that the TT documentary was a “pilot” of sorts. A very convincing pilot, if you ask us. But then his previous work, including a couple of videos of various Porsche, showcases a rare talent.
Isle of Man TT by Studiokippenberger is available to watch on Amazon Video, or you can watch a trailer and purchase the 18-minute film from Vimeo for £4.50. Alternatively, hop on a plane when the actual race is on and watch it first-hand – it is a great weekend, even if you prefer cars.
Just in case you want more TT goodness, another great documentary on the race is TT: Closer to the Edge, which can even be had in 3D. Well worth a watch.