Tuesday, June 05, 2007

total control

The Isle of Man TT Race turned one hundred last weekend.

The thirty-seven mile circumference of this island, located between England and Ireland, is completed in about seventeen and a half minutes, by motorcyclists, frequently exceeding 150 miles an hour. The world record lap time features an average speed of 129.451 mph.

The villages along the race path are often transited in only a few seconds. For the entire day of the race, motor traffic is shut down, and over 600 volunteers are placed in a continuous line of sight along the entire course. In this way, the entire 37 mile journey is witnessed and protected, not unlike that of Xiang Xiang, the panda whose "return to the wild" was recorded in minute detail until her death.

In the past century the Isle of Man TT has claimed 226 lives. At current speeds, in the two-lap race, this is a death every 15 minutes. To add to this insanity of velocity, there is the annual "Mad Sunday" in which any member of the public can run the 1300 foot mountain section of the course. To those of you that wonder what this might have to do with architecture, may Marinetti visit you in your sleep (as the ghost of futurism's past, of course), crashing ancient motor cars into your dreams.

(All images courtesy of Wikipedia.)

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