Isle of Man TT Coming in 3D

TT3D: Closer to the Edge posterWhen motorcycle racing is mentioned, one race which will always come to mind, even with many non-riders, is the Isle of Man TT. The event is legendary in almost every corner of Earth, and maybe beyond if some television shows are to be believed.

For many, though, no matter how much they may want to do so, actually getting to see it up close and in person is sadly not possible. Television or yearly DVD reviews are usually the only outlet for passionate fans that cannot make the trip. That is all set to change with the release of TT3D: Closer to the Edge, a 3D movie encompassing the week-long excitement that is the Isle of Man TT.

For the necessary duty of narrating this new documentary, the producers have chosen actor and musician Jared Leto, of Lord of War and Thirty Seconds to Mars fame. It turns out that Leto was let in for a viewing on an early version of the film and quickly signed up to tell the tale to the audience.

Jared LetoAccording to Leto, the documentary “celebrates this infamous event and the legendary spirit of the men and women who push themselves beyond the limit to places few could even imagine.” His passion for the sport is evident, but can he check his notorious egotism long enough toproperly describe the incredible talent on display at the TT? Let’s hope so because he does have a good voice for this work, but the show will still be worth watching in 3D in silence.

TT3D follows the experiences of Guy Martin and Ian Hutchinson, two of the more charismatic racers who regularly attend TT week and whose styles differ significantly – which should provide some great analysis of how to tackle the TT in view of the fact that they both like to do it their own way and yet both often end up on the podium.

Other featured TT stars are John McGuinness, Michael Dunlop, Keith Amor, Jenny Tinmouth and many others, so your personal favorite, if you have one among the many brave competitors, is likely to be in the film.

Legendary Guy MartinThe filming was done at the 2010 running of the TT and is directed by Richard de Aragues and produced by Steve Christian and Marc Samuelson, both of whom you may know from the movie The Libertine. Backing for this all 3D production was handled by Isle of Man company bannerCinemaNX.

TT3D: Closer to the Edge is scheduled to be released in theatres this April in the U.K., but it is unknown presently if it will be shown in theatres in other nations or will only be available for sale on DVD or Blu-Ray to foreign fans of the TT. However, if you are truly passionate about real roads racing, or just the Isle of Man TT, you will not want to miss seeing this documentary!

Courtesy of

Three Champions to Ride Sidecars at IOMTT

isle_of_man_sidecarIt should be an exciting year for the sidecar race at the Isle of Man TT. Three former world champions will be participating in the sidecar races this year, including the Birchall brothers, Tim Reeves, and Klaus Klaffenbock.

Former World Champions Ben and Tom Birchall will be returning to the mountain course after a year absence, as well as Tim Reeves and his passenger Frenchman Gregory Cluze. But Klaus Klaffenbock and his Manx passenger Daniel Sayle will be the team to beat this year, as Klaffenbock and Sayle won both sidecar races at the Isle of Man in 2010.

“The sidecar class remains an integral part of the TT Race Programme and it is pleasing to see an increase in entries for this year with as many as eight newcomer drivers taking on the Mountain Course for the first time,” said Paul Phillips, TT and Motorsport Manager. “The standard of the entry is first class and the races are as open as they have been for many years.”

The TT is a unique track that only a few can say that they have conquered it. Tim Reeves, a three time world champion, has never won at the mountain course. Reeves will try to add a TT win to his resume this year, but he’ll have to fight off riders like John Holden and Andrew Winkle.

Holden and Winkle will be seeking revenge on their Suzuki machine this year. The pair came up just 1 second short of the win last year, losing out to Klaffenbock and Sayle.

Conrad Harrison, the final man on the podium in 2010, will have a new partner this year as he tries to improve his position. Harrison will be racing with Mike Aylott this year, and will compete against Tony Elmer/Darren Marshall, Gary Bryan/Gary Partridge, Roy Hanks/Dave Wells and the returning Dougie Wright/Martin Hull.

Courtesy of

Does Size Matter? How MotoGP Riders Measure Up

PedrosaSo how does the age-old size question relate to MotoGP riders?  Simply put, there is an ongoing debate as to whether smaller riders have an advantage in MotoGP racing.  A little web search will reveal that a lot of race fans get more than a little heated in the discussion.

In some other forms of racing – specifically horse racing and many forms of auto racing – rider/driver weight is part of the calculation as to permissible vehicle weight.  This is not the case in MotoGP.

What really got me thinking about this size thing was getting to meet Dani Pedrosa at the Laguna Seca MotoGP.  It struck me that he is an amazingly small man.  At 5’3” and 112 pounds, I felt like I could have taken him home in my tank bag (not that I’d want to).  The fact is, most of the European and Asian MotoGP riders are quite small.  They average about 5’5” and 140 pounds.

The Americans tend to be a bit bigger. Colin Edwards is 5’10” and 146, Nicky Hayden is 5’8” and 152, and Ben Spies is 5’11” and 157.

So what is the possible advantage of being small?  Let’s look at three areas.


In the straights, flat out speed is primarily a product of horsepower.  However, aerodynamics, in the form of a tight rider tuck, is also a big factor.  Obviously, someone like Pedrosa who is only a hint over 5 feet can more fully tuck behind the bodywork and shield. Someone like Spies will have more exposed body which will reduce effective aerodynamics.

Power to Weight

This one may be obvious.  In a sport when carbon fiber, titanium, and creative drilling reduce every extra ounce of weight, an additional 40 pounds of rider is a really big factor.  It’s all about inertia.  Remember, that stuff you learned in high school physics?  More mass means less effective breaking and less dynamic acceleration.  This makes weight a factor in both the entrance and exit of a corner.

Fuel Consumption

This is a factor that I had not thought of until I read the concerns of MotoGP’s biggest rider, Marco Simoncelli.  The Italian is over 6 feet tall and weighs in at 160 pounds.  He revealed before the Qatar GP that he had concerns about fuel consumption because of his size and weight.  Obviously, it takes more fuel to push Simoncelli’s frame around a MotoGP course than someone like Pedrosa.

So is size a factor? Simply put, yes. However, we must remember that the most dominate modern MotoGP rider, Valentio Rossi, is at the upper end of the size spectrum at 5’11” and 147 pounds. So maybe the old adage is true – it’s more about technique than size.

Courtesy of

Chip Yates to Bring Electric Motorcycle to Pikes Peak

chip_yates_swigz_racingGet ready for history to be made. Chip Yates and the Swigz Racing Team will be heading to Pikes Peak this year, where they will be competing with an electric motorcycle. But don’t think that they are going to be satisfied with just competing. Yates has proved that his motorcycle can not only compete with petrol bikes, but it can keep pace and win.

Yates made history earlier this year when he competed at the Auto Club Speedway against petrol bikes in a WERA race. Yates showed that his bike was more than capable to keep up with the gas machines, as he scored two podiums over the weekend.

But a new day brings a new challenge, and Yates and his team will now be heading to Pikes Peak.

“The SWIGZ.COM Pro Racing Team is ecstatic to have been invited by Pikes Peak International Hill Climb officials to compete in this epic event,” said Yates. “The course is almost completely paved, but I will be challenged by several miles of dirt in the middle of the climb and I’ll be calling on my previous SCCA Pro Rally driving experience to get safely through the lower grip sections. Our engineers are busy developing new traction control software and mapping that will automatically adapt based on my position on the mountain.”

Yates and his team will participate at an official two-day closed test at Pike’s Peak on June 4th and 5th before the 89th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb on June 26th.

“We are thrilled to have Chip on the Hill this year with his amazing bike,” said Hill Climb motorcycle referee Sonny Anderson. “Our Exhibition PowerSport Division is designed for new technology, and what he brings is exactly that. Our fans are in for something special.”

Yates will maneuver his motorcycle up a 12.42 mile, 156 turn mountain course, The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is designed for powerful trucks, cars, and dirt capable motorcycles. But Yates feels pretty good about his chances.

“Two key benefits of our electric power train will really help me climb from 9,390 feet all the way up to the 14,110 foot summit,” Yates said. “First, our superbike makes 240 horsepower at sea level and 240 horsepower at 14,110 feet. We do not suffer any power loss due to elevation, while gasoline-powered vehicles will lose around 30% of their power at the top.

“Secondly, our 365 ft/lbs of torque is available from 0 rpm as soon as I open the throttle – with few straight sections, we don’t have to wait for revs to build up in order to blast off the course’s 156 turns and tight corners.”

What Yates has accomplished aboard his electric motorcycle has already put most of the motorcycle world in awe. His attempt to climb Pikes Peak is ambitious, but well within the wheelhouse of Yates and the Swigz Racing team.

Courtesy of

10 of the Youngest Motorcycle Racing Champions

Last weekend, Taylor Bayne became the youngest driver to win the Daytona 500. At just 20-years-old, Bayne beat out Carl Edwards, David Gilliland, and Bobby Labonte to take a historic win at Daytona.

In light of Bayne’s spectacular feat, here is a look at some of the youngest motorcycle champions in the history of racing.

Loris CapirossiMotoGP: Youngest rider to win the 125cc World Championship.

Loris Capirossi: Loris Capiross won his first world championship before the age of 18. Capirossi won the 125cc world championship in 1990 when he was 17 years and 165 days old. Capirossi’s career has spanned more than three decades, and last year he made his 300th career start.

MotoGP: Youngest rider to win the 250cc World Championship

Valentino Rossi: Valentino Rossi won his first 250cc world championship in 1999 at the age of 20. This was Rossi’s second World Championship victory, as he won the 125cc class championship two year’s prior. Since then, Rossi has amassed 9 grand prix championships, 7 of which were in the premier class. Rossi is also the youngest rider to win a world championship in each of the three divisions.

freddie_spencerMotoGP: Youngest rider to win a premier class World Championship.

Freddie Spencer: Being the youngest rider to win a premier World Championship is only one of many records held by Freddie Spencer. Spencer is also the only rider to ever win the 250cc and the 500cc championship in the same year (1985). He was also the youngest rider to win an AMA Superbike race in 1979. He was 18.

Supercross: Youngest rider to win an AMA Supercross championship.

Ryan Dungey: Ryan Dungey became the youngest rider to win an AMA Supercross championship in 2010. But in order to make it an absolutely legendary season, he also became the youngest rookie to win an AMA Motocross championship that same year. Ryan Dungey is still one of the youngest riders in the Supercross series, despite having two titles under his belt.

troy_corserWorld Superbike: Youngest riders to win the World Supercross Championship

Troy Corser: When Troy Corser won the World Superbike title in 1996, he became the first Australian, and the youngest rider in the history of the sport to do so.

James Toseland: Corser’s record setting win in 1996 was outdone by James Toseland in 2004. Toseland became the youngest rider to claim the WSBK title at the age of 23. Toseland won the title again in 2007, before moving over to the MotoGP.

British Superbike: Youngest rider to win the British Superbike

Leon Camier: Leon Camier made history in 2009, when he became the youngest rider to win the British Superbike Championship. After his record breaking 2009 season, Camier moved to the World Superbike series.

Mike the Bike hailwoodIsle of Man TT: Youngest rider to win the Isle of Man TT

Mike Hailwood: The Isle of Man TT is such a storied series, that it was hard to pin down the youngest champion. But Mike the Bike’s 1961 victory at the age of 21 is a good contender. Hailwood would go onto win another 13 TT’s, and considered one of the greatest to race at the mountain track.

AMA Superbike: Youngest rider to win the AMA Superbike

Nicky Hayden: The Kentucky Kid became the youngest AMA Superbike champion in 2002, when he won at the age of 21-years and 12 days. Hayden moved on to the MotoGP, where he took the World Championship in 2006.

brad_andresGrand Nationals: Youngest rider to win the Grand National Championship.

Brad Andres: Brad Andres won his first Grand National Championship in 1955 during his rookie season. That same year, Andres became the youngest rider to win the Daytona 200 at the age of 18.

Scott Parker: Andres won his first Grand National race at the age of 18, but his record has since been broken by 9 other riders. Nicky Hayden and Larry Pegram are two of the youngest riders to win a Grand National race, but the top honor goes to Scott Parker, who won his first race in 1979 at the age of 17 yrs, 8 mos, 8 days. It’s also interesting to note that Parker is one of the oldest racers to win a Grand National race. Parker was 38 when he won his last race in 2000, more than 20 years after his debut win.

Grand Prix: Youngest to win a Grand Prix race.

Scott Redding: Redding has the distinction of being the youngest rider to win a grand prix race. Redding won his first Grand Prix race at 15 years and 170 days, when he won the 2008 British 125cc Grand Prix at Donington Park, breaking Marco Melandri’s 10 year record. Redding would also go on to become the youngest rider to win 50 grand prix races.

Courtesy of