Closer To The Edge

Good morning Tash Appreciators!

I’ve been enjoying two-wheeled racing of a faster kind than usual this week after being captivated by the Isle of Man TT.

For the uninitiated, the TT is a week-long series of races on different classes of motorbikes. The main course – the Mountain Course – is around 37 miles long and involves riders screaming along normal roads, inches from curbs, lamp posts, garden walls etc, at speeds approaching 200 miles an hour. The fastest riders get round one lap at an average speed of over 130mph. To understand just how fast these riders go, you really have to see them:

The other night, I watch a documentary about the TT called “Closer To The Edge”. The film followed Guy Martin (some of you may have seen him in various programmes over the last few years) and his quest to win a TT.

Martin is entirely focused on racing. He’s very exact in how his bike is set up – which is understandable when there’s so much riding on it – and he distances himself from any kind of commitment in order to ensure that as few people as possible will be affected in the event that he is involved in an accident.

The reason that Martin takes such drastic action to avoid commitment is because of the other side of the TT – death. Almost every year, someone is killed while racing. According to Wikipedia, 242 competitors have been killed since 1911. In Closer To The Edge, Martin narrowly avoids serious injury when he crashes at 170mph and his bike explodes. In the same race, one of the other competitors clips a curb while going flat-out and is thrown about a hundred meters from the road, via a stone wall. His list of injuries seems to include every bone in his body but he somehow survived. As I was doing a bit of research about the TT, I read that someone died in today’s main race.

Every single rider I’ve seen being interviewed says that they know the risks and that it doesn’t put them off. That’s despite many of them having families. When speaking about a competitor who has died, almost all of them say: “he died doing the thing he loved.”

My question – and I don’t know the answer to it – is whether it is ever folly to do something you love? Is it possible to dare too greatly?

Most weeks, TF talks about living to the full and taking a few risks. Is that naive though? How many of us would roll the dice on our lives or livelihoods or happiness in order to chase a dream? If we would, how do we decide when the dream is worth chasing and when we’re better off accepting that some dreams don’t come true? What if the dream isn’t fully formed in your head but you know that you need to do something differently? These are questions which bother me incessantly these days.

As I say, I don’t know what the answers to these questions are. I’d be interested to know what you all think.

As one might expect of a section of the population who live life to the absolute limit, Tashes are commonplace among the motorcycling fraternity. It’s been a tough choice, but here are this week’s Tashes:

Glenn – the Biker – from the Village People:

Glenn Hughes of the Village People

And Paul “Senior” Tuetal, of Orange County Choppers and the Discovery Channel’s “American Chopper”:

Tash Friday 6:6:14

Have a great weekend folks. If you’re interested, the Senior TT (the main race of the week) is being shown on ITV2 at 9pm tonight.

What’s next?

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