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Lone Wolf and taking the TT into orbit


The TT, which begins in a couple of weeks time, may be the greatest show on earth ; it may be the most famous race in the world; but it may not be long before the answer to the pub quiz 'what's the Isle of Man famous for' is very different.

Not that the great event is losing it's popularity, far from it. Now bringing in many millions in sponsorship it is stronger than ever. But the island is becoming a leader in an industry which dwarfs motorcycling.


According to the Financial Times, an organ familiar to you all, the Isle of Man is joining the space race. Last month a couple of Soviet-era space stations were unveiled, together with a team planning a moon landing. It has been named the fifth most likely country to return to the moon, after the US, Russia, China and India, and is helping develop a space tourism industry.

Odyssey Moon, a competitor for the £30m Google Lunar X prize for the first private venture to land a vehicle on the moon, is based on the island as are four of the world's largest satellite operators.

The bookies have the island as the fifth most likely country to get to the moon; the chairman of the island's space marketing Chris Stott is married to Nasa astronaut Nicole Stott; but no news yet of Guy Martin piloting the first shuttle. It won't be long!


Chicanes! Doncha luv 'em. That ridiculous little piece of artificial curvature at Monza did for Carlos Checa, Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam on the first lap of World Superbikes. And at Oulton Park a great right-hander which used to be known as Knicker Brook, made famous in a tale by comedian Blaster Bates, has been converted into a Mickey Mouse right, left 'n' right. Stuart Easton was very lucky not to be hit full on by Josh Brookes' Suzuki as the kerb launched it into space.

It seems to me that too many chicanes are the last resort of a tired mind, bamboozled no doubt by the road safety falsehood 'speed kills.' Many serious injuries are the result of crashes on slow corners and it must surely be a truism that the more corners there are the more riders will fall off. After all, not many crash on the straight!

Will circuit owners please think twice before creating artificial hazards. And if you must then can we have more swoop than stop.


Despite what most of us think, it's not easy being a commentator on live racing. You're watching a small screen, a producer is barking orders down your earphones and your spotter is tapping you on the shoulder because he has seen something out of the window.


The best commentators say less rather than more on the basis that the viewer can see what is happening but they would like to know why and perhaps how it is happening. This is particularly important when, as is often the case on the BBC, the audience is a stay over from Eastenders or some such.

So the audience that Steve Parrish, who knows his stuff, and Charlie Cox, markedly less so, have to serve is very different to Eurosport which is much smaller and more knowledgeable. Eurosport's MotoGP coverage is fronted by Toby Moody and Julian Ryder who seem to be on first name terms with every rider and just seem too clever by half. But they're good even if they do have an irritating habit of name-dropping Formula 1 drivers from time to time.

But my favourites are that well known comedy double act Burnicle and Whitham. They probably won't rival David Coleman or Peter O'Sullivan but they're funny. Burnicle's cock ups and chortles and Whitham's dry wit. When 25 year old Rob Guiver beat 13 year old Kyle Ryde and a host of pre-pubescent teenagers to win the 125cc race at Donington, Whit proclaimed: "I bet he's the only one driving the van back home!"

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