I Participated in the Deadly Isle of Man TT Motorcycle Race and Survived – Robb Report

We wait for the sacred blow of the starter on the left shoulder, lined up one by one like paratroopers ready for an imminent launch into the unknown. Our equivalent is launching the infamous Isle of Man Tourism Trophy (TT), the annual competition held on a 221 square mile island in the Irish Sea. Right before, many of us stare into each other’s eyes, hoping to share a story or two at the end; more importantly, we all hope to see it through to the end. Tragically, as has become all too common in what is arguably the most dangerous motorsport event in the world, one of us will not be returning.

As a rookie at the contest, I’m in a more precarious position than most. Track knowledge is all around the TT Mountain Course’s signature 37.73 miles, as riders cover most of the circuit on a thin ribbon of tarmac. Cities, towns, school zones, mountain roads and over 15 jumps, all are encountered while traveling as fast as mechanically possible on high performance bikes.

Rennie Scaysbrook (seated upright with visor open) waits in line for his turn to compete.

James Wright

This island locale dwarfs all other racing arenas in both scale and level of challenge, making Daytona’s 480-acre motorsport campus, with its 2.5-mile oval, look like a scooter in your room in comparison. In about seven seconds after my first twist of the throttle, I’m doing 160 mph on a Suzuki GSX-R600, plunging through the town of Douglas and descending the daunting Bray Hill. It’s like riding to the end of the world. Houses, fences and people zip by at lightning speed, and at the bottom of Bray the Suzuki flexes with such force that I can feel the frame twist beneath me. For a second, my rigid aluminum bike became a rubber band.

Rider Rennie Scaysbrook competes in the 2022 Isle of Man TT.

Track knowledge is paramount on the 37.73-mile TT mountain course, as riders cover most of the circuit on a thin ribbon of tarmac.

James Wright

Then, as it nears top speed, the front wheel soars skyward over the first and then second climb of Ago’s Leap, named after famed Italian rider Giacomo Agostini, himself 10 times TT winner. The intensity of it all has to be what it’s like to go to war. My senses are firmly in hyperdrive and I can feel my eyes popping out of my skull. They are dry and it takes a few tries to rehydrate them in a flash. It’s only one mile from the 36-mile lap and the race is usually four laps.

Rider Rennie Scaysbrook stays ahead of another rider in the 2022 Isle of Man TT.

Another competitor pursues both the author (in front) and the clock.

James Wright

As a boy growing up in Australia, I dreamed of the day I would land my bike on the start line at Glencrutchery Road, but life kept me from doing so. Marriage, fatherhood and work all played their part in shifting the goal seemingly out of reach. But I didn’t want any regrets on my deathbed, so in 2019 I made the decision to make myself proud.

More than a race, the TT is a symbol of personal freedom, of being the sole master of one’s destiny. Naturally, this level of free will has consequences. Davy Morgan of Northern Ireland, a 52-year-old veteran with 20 TT starts, rolls past me before crashing to his death on lap three at mile 27.

Rider Rennie Scaysbrook competes in the 2022 Isle of Man TT.

Cities, towns, school zones, mountain roads and over 15 jumps are all encountered while traveling as fast as mechanically possible.

Pierre Guld

People perish at the TT. Yet for about 90 minutes, most cyclists live a super-charged existence, packing a lifetime of experiences and thrills into extended moments. For the record, in the two Supersport TTs, I finished 44th and 37th respectively out of a field of just over 60 riders. I’m happy with that. But not so happy that I don’t want more. The Isle of Man TT is a needle in the arm trick, and I am now irrevocably hooked on chasing this particular dragon.

Click here for all Racing photos in the 2022 Isle of Man TT.

Rennie Scaysbrook competing in the 2022 Isle of Man TT.

Rennie Scaysbrook competing in the 2022 Isle of Man TT.

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