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ISLE OF MAN — Two hundred fifty-two people have died racing motorcycles here. There is no room for error at the TT.
Since 1907, the Isle of Man has hosted the “Tourist Trophy,” or TT, a 37-mile motorcycle race that winds through this small British isle at speeds matching that of a high-speed train. The high-speed train has it easy. Riders here must navigate through hairpin bends, bumps, jumps, and manhole covers while passing perilously close to stone walls, buildings, and roadside spectators — at speeds approaching 200 mph.
Medical volunteers travel to the island each year to try to save lives. STAT had exclusive access to these track-side doctors, paramedics, and marshals as they worked. Two helicopters, six ambulances, and a medical response car cover the course and allow the team to respond to incidents within six minutes. (Despite their efforts, four riders died during this year’s race.)
The race draws huge crowds and hundreds of riders from across the world to watch and take part in the spectacle.
“What the spectators see and the marshals and the medics see are riders doing things that are really a celebration of the human spirit,” said Gareth Davies, codirector of Manx Roadracing Medical Services. “There is no rationale for a riding around this track as fast as you can — as much as there’s no real rationale for climbing mountains as quickly as you can or as high as you can.”
The Isle of Man TT is celebrating its 110th year in 2017, and the medical team remains a crucial part of keeping the race as safe as possible. Watch STAT’s exclusive video now to see the challenges of delivering medicine under such extreme conditions.