The TT was born at the beginning of the twentieth century as a race between cars to then become a race between motorcycles. The choice of the place – the Isle of Man – was forced: a ban on the British government, in fact, prohibited motorbike races on the road in the Kingdom. The first two-wheeled competition was held in 1905: it was the International Motor-Cycle Cup Race, a five-lap race (125 miles) won by J.S. Campbell on Ariel in 4 hours, 9 minutes and 36 seconds at an average of 48.24 km / h. After a period in Austria, we returned to the Isle of Man in 1907 with two categories (single-cylinder and twin-cylinder), on a 15-mile course.
At the current track, after several modifications, it arrived in 1911. The new “Isle of Man TT Race” was raced on the Snaefell Mountain Course. There are two categories: the Junior TT (reserved for the mono from 300 cc and the twin cylinders up to 340 cc) and the Senior TT (mono up to 500 cc and the twin cylinders up to 585 cc). Then as today we ran between the houses, the fences, the sidewalks, and the street lamps, in precarious security conditions and with the often enemy weather. Today the road loop measures 37.73 miles, or 60 kilometers and 720 meters and is repeated six times in the main classes and three or four times in the smaller ones.
THE DARK SIDE OF TT
About sixty curves on the over 200 total are dedicated to the pilots who have made the biggest companies or who have lost their lives in race accidents. The categories underwent further changes over the years. The helmet obligation came only in 1914, when there was the first of the 226 victims of the TT. The victim was Frank Walker, a Royal Enfield pilot who lost his life on the last lap against a wooden barrier.
After the break of the First World War, in 1923 the TT Sidecar category was introduced and the following year the Ultra-Lightweight TT, for motorcycles up to 175 cc.
TT IN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
The thirties saw the affirmation of the race as a world event; 1939 saw Benelli’s first victory in Lightweight with Ted Mellors. In 1947, after the Second World War, the Clubmans TT category was introduced. In 1959 arrival on the Island the first Japanese bike in the race: it was the Honda of Naomi Taniguchi, who finished sixth in the Ultra-Lightweight TT. The year before, an 18-year-old debuted an interview with Mike Hailwood. Another affirmation of an Italian brand came in 1969: Ducati’s first victory came with a Mach 1, thanks to Mike Rogers. Between 1949 and 1976 the TT was part of the Motorcycle Grand Prix World Championship, and the British Grand Prix main event.
1972 was a black year: the Italian Gilberto Parlotti, who had won the West German GP and the French GP, died. He decided to take part in the TT to distance his rival, Angel Nieto.
It was a big blow for Parlotti’s best friend, Giacomo Agostini, already ten times triumph at the TT (since 1966 with MV Agusta at 1972, always with MV Agusta), who decided never to participate again in the race.
TT HALL OF FAME
The hall of fame of the race is dominated by Joe Dunlop (who died on 2 July 2000 in Tallin) who has won 26 times the TT, followed by John McGuinness, with 20 victories. Third place for Mike Hailwood and Dave Molyneux (14); followed by Steve Hislop and Phillip McCallen (11), Giacomo Agostini, Robert Fischer, Ian Lougher and Stanley Woods (10).