Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Trivia: Great rivalries and epic battles

The history of motorcycle racing is the history of great rivals. For the next week or so, I'll post notes on memorable battles between worthy opponents, either in a single race or over a season. But I'll begin with a battle between a lone rider, a race course, and his own fate...

David Jefferies’ fastest lap of the Isle of Man 

After the death of Joey Dunlop in 2000, David Jefferies assumed the mantle of “greatest living TT rider.” Where Dunlop had always been fast, he hadn’t always looked fast since he rode with a very tidy and economical style. Jefferies was... different. The big man put so much physical effort into riding that his mechanics had to replace his bikes’ footrest hangers after each practice session – he bent them that badly when he was weighting the pegs! That made watching “DJ” memorable – and frightening. He set the outright lap record for the TT course during the 2002 Senior TT, at an average speed of 127.29 miles an hour.

I was on the course myself, in practice, when this 2002 on-board video was shot...
Eerily, at about the 1:50 mark of this video shot during a 2002 practice session, DJ describes one corner as really scary. The next spring, he was killed at that spot.

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