The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (or IOMTT) is the most challenging road race in the world. Anyone from North America who’s made the pilgrimage to the Isle of Man in May/June to watch the races will inevitably experience the post TT blues. Beginning somewhere mid-September it continues to grow with each drop in temperature.
For those who haven’t trekked to the tiny isle in the middle of the Irish Sea, they just don’t understand when you say things like, yeah, your new puppy is adorable, but do you think McGuinness has it in him to break Joey’s win record? Or, when you corner someone in the elevator to discuss Kiwi racer Bruce Anstey’s amazing superbike lap record. How could everyone not share your excitement? It boggles the mind.
Let’s face it, there is no cure. As memories of your journey to racing mecca fades, you’ll do anything to keep them alive. You’ll suffer through endless chatter and commercials on TT365 online radio, hoping they replay coverage you recognize, so you can imagine you hear yourself in the crowd. You watch poorly edited, pirated TT clips of ITV TT coverage that someone’s recorded off the TV using their camera phone. Adding to the pain, you have to watch these videos laid down to that King of the Mountain song, or worse, a Nickleback track. Finally, you find yourself at 3 a.m. sitting in the basement amongst the wreckage of your VCR/DVD player trying to get it to work so you can watch old tape cassettes.
It’s like chasing the dragon’s tail. None of this will be the same thing as being there, hanging outside the pub with fellow race fans from all over the world, or following press photographers as they trek through woods and fields for the best photo ops, or rising to your feet at the grandstand to watch riders take off from the start or return for refueling.
It’s like riding your dream bike for two weeks, then coming home to drive a moped. Meep-meep.
So, what do you do? You’ve alienated your friends, been subjected to Nickelback and made questionable decisions at 3 a.m. in your pajamas.
Look, you know you’re going back to the IOM; you’ve been marking ‘X’s” on the calendar and you’ve had your bags packed since October. Until your return to walking around the paddock, cheering on your favourite riders, or enjoy a beer at Bushy’s, consider killing some time by checking out these new releases written by riders, photographers or journalists who love the iconic races. It may not be the real thing, but it is the next best thing.
Nicole Winters, author of TT: Full Throttle, shares her top picks of Isle of Man TT books.
Guy Martin: My Autobiography by Guy Martin
You’d think that 34 would be way too young to be writing and autobiography, but he’s got a great eye for detail, which brings his story to life. It’s an honest, authentic voice and you can’t help but hear him when you read so you may need a translator…
Road Racers by Stephen Davison, and John McGuinness: TT Legend by Stephen Davison
There’s a reason why Stephen is asked by riders to photograph their wedding or other special events outside the TT. It’s because he can’t take a bad picture. Having photographed races all over the world for the past 15 years, these books are stunning examples of why he is considered one the best.
The Near-Death Thing Inside the TT: the World’s Most Dangerous Race by Rick Broadbent
This book was longlisted for The William Hill Sports Book of the Year so you know it’s got to be good. Broadbent gets behind the scenes and into the helmets of Guy Martin, Conor Cummins, John McGuinness and Michael Dunlop during the notable 2010 and 2011 season. It was the same year I first went to the TT so this holds a notable place on my bookshelf.
TT Talking – The TTs most exciting era by Charlie Lambert
For a lot of race fans, it’s just not the TT without listening to commentator, Charlie Lambert. Packed with detailed accounts and behind the scene stories from his time as lead commentator from 2004 to 2012, try not to judge this book by its cover because it’s a great read.
Our own Nomination:
TT: Full Throttle by Nicole Winters
Nicole Winters is the author of TT: Full Throttle. She was YouMotorcycle’s Featured Woman of the Month, October 2013. We invited her back to YouMotorcycle to shoot the breeze and let us know what Isle of Man TT books we just had to read to help us get through the winter blues. In addition to her suggestions, we recommend you check out TT: Full Throttle. We’ve written about it here, but you can also visit Nicole’s website or her Twitter.
Bonus: You can get a 20% discount on TT: Full Throttle when you buy it here, by entering the coupon code MOTO at checkout.