There was some extra buzz around last week’s Isle of Man TT, due both to the escalating rivalry between John McGuinness and Guy Martin, and to the recently released 3D documentary Closer to the Edge, which details Martin’s quest to win the TT. The TT is unmatched for spectacle and history, and is commonly considered the sole remaining “dangerous” sporting event, but in Ireland there is a series of knee-weakeningly awesome road races as exciting as and perhaps wilder than the TT. The most famous is held in Northern Ireland and is called the NorthWest 200.
Even hardened racers must think it’s a little crazy. In the TT, riders blast though villages while knocking on the door of 190mph—but in the NW200, everyone races together (and a lot of the TT riders compete), so the bravery quotient is through the roof. The race is 200 miles long and is held on a nine-mile course over public roads.
The reason the NorthWest 200 is so intriguing is that it pits riders against one another on public roads. It’s like every motorcyclist’s dream come true: no cars on the road, one-way streets, no speed limits and a group of friends on superbikes. Admittedly, the course is tamer, shorter, and less scenic than the TT, but the wheel-to-wheel racing makes up for it. Check out the following video to see the mayhem (the May 2011 NW200 race weekend was cut short by heavy rains and a bomb scare, so the 2010 video will have to suffice. The quality is not the best but it captures the spirit of the race).
(Congratulations to Metzeler rider Guy Martin on finishing 3rd in last week’s Senior TT–we were rooting for you Guy!)
Photo courtesy of Gary Lewis