Just how do you get to the world's most famous street race?
The road to racing at the Isle of Man TT isn’t easy. Historically, all the legends proved themselves there: Giacomo Agostini, Mike Hailwood, and Phil Read are just some of the famous names who challenged the TT course. After the GP circuit stopped visiting the Island Course (it was too dangerous, even for those tough guys), the TT developed another series of heroes. The new TT legends are racers like John McGuinness, the Dunlop family, Ian Hutchinson, Guy Martin, experts from the British Isles’ tough street racing circuit.
Then there are racers like Forest Dunn—privateers who view the TT as the ultimate test, and make it their goal to race there.
This video, produced by Honda, shows what it takes for the independent riders and small teams to make it to the Isle of Man. Dunn isn’t some hotshot pro from British Superbike with years of racing experience under his belt, or even a wealthy or well-financed amateur. He’s a rider who found a love for speed on the road, and has taken that to the Mountain Course.
What’s the secret? Work, work, and more hard work. Dunn says he’s worked construction, put time in on oil rigs, sloshed around as a commercial fisherman, and even painted superyachts to raise money to support his racing endeavors—”Anything to keep the wolf from the door, and just keep racing.” He spent time drag racing, and building drag bikes, but wanted to spend more time riding and less time wrenching the bike, prepping for short runs. That’s how he ended up aiming for the Isle of Man.
“I went for the TT, because I cut my teeth on the road, and the TT’s the ultimate road race,” he says. You can’t just go sign up for the lsle of Man racing and have a go at it, though. First, you’ve got to prove yourself elsewhere, and Dunn has to prove himself at Irish roadracing circuit first, before he can get to the TT. Honda’s video tells the rest of the story.
This year, the Isle of Man TT was canceled due to fears over the coronavirus outbreak. That’s heartbreaking for privateers like Dunn, as many of them have sacrificed everything to participate in the race of their dreams. Next year, though, we’d expect the TT to return, and along with all the podium stars, there will be dozens of riders just like Dunn, doing whatever they can to get to the Isle of Man.