16 December 2009

Wednesday Movie - A lap with Joey

Joey Dunlop was a northern Irish motorcycle racer who specialised in road races such as the Isle of Man TT. He was famous for being very quite and modest off the bike and a genius on it. He won the TT 26 times and died doing what he loved in Estonian in 2000.

Back in my Birmingham days (c. 1991), Rich Greswell lent me a video of a full lap of the TT circuit on board with Joey from 1983. This was back in the day before this kind of thing was common and we watched it repeatedly, in awe. We'd come back from the pub and do "a quick lap with Joey", everyone sat around leaning into the bends trying to imagine how you could ride so fast, so smoothly. There was something about the format of the video, just a single view with no cut aways and his quiet, understated commentary that made it a masterpiece.

I had looked for it several times on youtube and it wasn't there. I was keen to see if, almost 20 years it still seemed as cool, or if it was just nostalgia? Then last week I found it and, I can honestly say its actually better than I remember. It's amazing! Even if you have never ridden a bike I urge you to watch it all, he is touching speeds of 160 mph (that's 260 km/h) on regular roads lined by stone walls and trees on a bike from the early 1980's, yet the riding is so smooth it looks like he is just popping to the shops. If your palms aren't sweating by the end - you must have been abducted and replaced with an android and you just don't know it yet.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

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