The TT is looming – and we’ll be watching

The TT is nearly upon us. Already some of my interview prospects are talking about it, saying that they can’t meet me until after it’s finished.

A recent film did an excellent job of capturing the mystique that the TT holds for racers and fans. I watch little sport but the TT is something that has really interested me of late. The combination of the speeds (200mph), the fact that the race is held on public roads and the down to earth personalities of the riders all combine to make it unmissable.

Modern camera technology allows MotoGP bikes and many TT bikes to carry tiny cameras that shoot amazing footage, often accompanied by commentary from the rider themselves. Whilst this is now commonplace, it’s important to remember that video equipment has shrunk dramatically (anyone remember the HUGE video cameras from the 1980s?) making this footage of Joey Dunlop all the more interesting:

So imagine how difficult it must have been in 1964. Here’s a great combination of on-board film and interview audio with Mike Hailwood at Spa in 1964. It’s interesting how he talks about cars being potentially more dangerous than motorcycles, particularly since he died in a car accident in 1981. I like this clip for a couple of reasons: I’m fascinated about the various shots they get from the bike and can’t help wondering what complicated rigs they must have used to locate the camera and get the shots like the one over his right shoulder and of the right foot gearchange. I also like the way they show Hailwood’s preparation, including his arrival at the circuit, him suiting up and putting his boots on. All part of the ritual of preparation; the coat stays on until the last moment, removed just before the race starts to reveal a one piece leather suit with a small MVAgusta logo on the chest.

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