National Geographic : 1972 Sep
Glory and bedlam descend on Man each summer when snorting motorcy cles invade the island. Simultaneously come swarms of racing fans, who perch along normally peaceful roads to watch riders jockey their shrieking steeds. At peak season thousands of cycles thun der over the island, briefly dividing the Manx into those who favor tourism and those who prefer tranquillity. Most frenetic is the "T.T." -the In ternational Tourist Trophy Races when normal traffic is officially banned from a 3 7:,-mile course (map, page 428). While a helicopter ambulance stands by, groups of two and three throbbing machines rocket out of Douglas, reach ing speeds as high as 150 miles an hour in races that go as many as six laps. Death sometimes draws the finish line for drivers, and injuries stop others. Biting a towel to blunt the pain of a broken leg, a race casualty rides a stretcher toward help (lower left). But next year he and the other contestants probably will be back, pulled like moths to the flame of cycling's fame and danger.