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Sunday, 22 May 2011

The characters of motorcycle road racing

This years North West 200 was a bitterly disappointing event for the majority of spectators that braved the pouring rain and howling winds, just to find that the main superbike race was to be cancelled. However sitting comfortably at home, recovering from a few too many pints the night before, i found the live coverage to be pretty enjoyable.


After 4 hours of watching it live, 2 sighting laps was the only track action I’d seen, however the commentary provided by what was essentially 3 men in a shed proved to be worryingly engaging.

I had to ask myself why I’d just sat here for hours waiting for a race that clearly wasn't going to happen and it was clear that the reason was to find out more about the personalities of the brave guys who take part in road racing.

This post aims to give an insight into some of the top characters on the road racing scene.


Guy Martin - who else could we start with really? He's become a bit of a media celebrity recently with 'The Boat that Guy built' on prime time BBC1 and more recently the epic TT3D film in the cinemas. But long before the TV fame, Guy was an infamous character on the road racing scene, often seen dismounting his 200mph superbike and immediately searching for a cup of tea, ain't that right chief?! Guy's attitude and lifestyle are pretty close to what you'd imagine for someone willing to risk their life every time they go out to race, he's all about having fun, without too many commitments to tie him down. There is no doubt as to Guy's potential on a superbike and although he is yet to win a TT superbike race, we think his time for a win is well overdue.

Ian Hutchinson - Hutchy cleaned up at last years IOM TT races, taking 5 wins. My first impression of him was that he was quite a reserved guy that went out and just got the job done, however seeing him in TT3D and commentating at the NW200 has changed that perception. Even though it may not be immediately apparent, he has a lot of passion for motorcycle racing, it was racing in the British Superbike Championship last year that he suffered a very serious broken leg, but still he hangs around the road racing scene and that gains him some respect in my books. Those of you that saw the BBC coverage of the NW200 would have seen him in the commentary 'shed' with Steve Parrish, and you'll agree that he seemed quite a natural, very entertaining and brought a bit of youthfulness to the commentary.


Michael and William Dunlop – Micheal Dunlop is perhaps the better known of the two brothers, but both of them have a serious thirst for the sport and take great pride in it. Being related to undoubtedly one of the best and most loved motorcycle road racers of all time, Joey Dunlop, the pair have a lot to live up to and interviews with the pair made it clear that their whole family are 100% behind them in their quest for glory. We think it’s only a matter of time before Michael goes on to take a win at the TT.

Ryan Farquhar – An interesting feature during the programme showed us in to the life of Ryan! His garage set-up is very impressive and it's clear that a lot of long weekends and late nights go in to the preparation of his race bikes. His trophy room is astonishing; the amount that he has picked up over the years is quite overwhelming and a testament to his riding skills. My favourite bit of the feature was when the BBC presenter knocked on the front door and his wife came out and said “No Ryan doesn’t live here, he lives down in the garage!” now that is commitment!


These are just a handful of the colourful characters in the sport, without even mentioning the likes of John McGuiness, Conor Cummins, Michael Rutter, Cameron Donald, Alastair Seeley and Bruce Anstey, plus a lot more, its easy to see why road racing and the Isle of Man TT has such a huge following. A massive respect to all these guys and the entertainment they provide us with.


If you want to see more, then we highly recommend checking out the TT3D film, plus stay tuned for the 2011 IOM TT coverage from 30th May – 10th June. TV schedule to be confrimed on www.iomtt.com

Images courtesy of www.northwest200.org