Every motorbike enthusiast knows the TT – it’s the world’s most dangerous race, a mountain course which has claimed 231 lives in its 103 year history.
Every motorbike enthusiast knows the TT – it’s the world’s most dangerous race, a mountain course which has claimed 231 lives in its 103 year history. For the rest of us The Isle Of Man’s Annual Superbike Death Race is something that always been on the TV at around 2am on EuroSport. For the racers involved it’s a way of life – something that the participants spend the rest of the year preparing for and 100% of their lives dreaming about.
We follow Guy Martin, a mechanic by day but a superbike racer in his spare time as in his attempt to win his first TT. So far, he’s had eight podium places but no wins.
Guy’s a fantastic character. He talks about as fast as he races – sentences leaving his mouth in a hurricane of words which occasionally makes him difficult to understand when coupled with his Lincolnshire accent. But he’s undeniably charming and frequently hilarious – here’s a man who’s not afraid to talk absolute shite and know it (“there’s nothing wrong with wanking is there?”) and one whose happy-go-lucky attitude and fierce competitiveness is imbedded in his personality. With a permanent smile on his face, a knowing look and a natty line in Wolverine-style mutton chops, he’s impossible to dislike.
While he’s the focus of the movie, there are interviews with some of the other superstars of the sport including current “King Of The Mountain” John McGuinness and prominent riders Ian Hutchinson and Conor Cummins. But while the fast-paced footage and high-octane action will no doubt appeal to those familiar with the sport, it’s the way that it touches on the remarkable human story behind the racers in which it really comes into its own.
A highlight is an interview with Bridget Dobbs, the widow of Paul “Dobsy” Dobbs, whose equanimity about her husband’s death is astounding. “You can’t love the death, you can’t love the loss but you can’t love the excitement and the thrill without knowing that that’s part of it” she says reflecting on how Dobsy died living his dream.
This pragmatism is one which all the riders seem to share; despite life-threatening injuries – bruised lungs, shattered ribs, fractured spines – all they can think of is getting back on a bike; it’s an addiction, the ultimate speed junkie high. In fact, in an interview with Guy Martin’s engineer, there’s a poignant moment while he considers that he could be classed as “drug dealer of sorts.” After watching TT3D, it’s easy to see why they become hooked.
The 3D aspect of TT3D is actually rather pointless – the blisteringly fast pace of the bikes would be just as obvious without the need to wear clunky glasses. The helmet-cam is used sparingly – just enough to convey the near-blinding speed at which they’re travelling and the almost superhuman reaction times you need to have to take a corner at 160mph.
While hardcore fans of the sport might be frustrated at the lack interviews with other riders or an in depth history of the race and its champions, it remains a powerful documentary which captures the spirit of the race, and an engaging and thoughtful movie about determination, obsession, passion and competition.