Every single movement has s p ee d - i t ’ s u n i v e r s a l . A s h u m a n s , w e a r e d e f i n e d b y t h e s p ee d at w h i c h w e t h i n k , m ov e a n d p r o g r e s s . S p ee d m a y b e d e t e r m i n e d b y f o r c e , s pa c e , t i m e , g r av i t y a n d r e s i s ta n c e - t h i n g s t h at g i v e m ov e m e n t c o n t e x t a n d ta k e i t f r o m t h e m u n da n e to t h e s p e c tac u l a r - b u t i t ’ s p e o p l e w h o d e t e r m i n e s p ee d , p u s h i n g i t t o t h e next level, above and beyond the limits of ‘possible’. I n t h i s i s s u e , w e c e l e b r at e t h e p e o p l e , p l ac e s a n d t e c h n o lo g i e s at t h e c e n t r e o f t h e s p ee d w o r l d - s m a s h i n g w o r l d r e c o r d s and reshaping the world around them. S p ee d i s u n i v e r s a l , b u t o n ly y o u c a n make it unique.
COV E R ARTWORK b y CRAIG R E DMAN
Words ED ANDREWS
PHOTOGRAPHY RICHIE HOPSON
M oto rc yc l e r ac e r a n d n i n e -t i m e M oto G P Wo r l d Champ i o n Va l e n t i n o Ro s s i w i l l n e v e r sto p t r y i n g t o b e th e b e s t.
t’s a sunny June afternoon at the Dainese headquarters in Vicenza, Italy, when a black people carrier pulls up outside its futuristic exhibition hall. A tanned, lithe and bright-eyed man steps out in shorts, T-shirt and a rough Mohawk haircut. Everything from his custom luminous yellow Nike High Dunks to his cap, belt and socks have the same VR/46 logo – announcing to the world that Valentino Rossi has arrived. The thirty-two-year-old racer has flown here for the day from his hometown of Tavullia to shoot some photos for his long-time sponsor and meet with fans. He dons his AGV helmet and walks into a meeting room, surprising the crowd inside. The room erupts in a warm applause that quickly escalates to a standing ovation. Soon enough, he’s surrounded by an energetic swarm of fans brandishing cameras and pieces of paper to sign. Obliging and good-natured, he beams for photos and gives hugs and handshakes with a sparkle in his eye. Not many people in the world exude this elusive star-quality, but Rossi has earned his celebrity status. Born in the town of Urbino in 1979, Valentino Rossi embraced speed from a very young age. Inheriting a taste for going fast from his Grand Prix-racing father Graziano Rossi, he was racing karts when he was just five years old. After winning many regional championships in karting, Rossi moved over to get his motorcycle-racing baptism in the 50cc world of minimoto in 1991. With his talent on a bike clearly emerging, he was soon rising up the classes: 100cc then 125cc with his first 125cc Grand Prix in 1996. Just one year later, he was standing on the podium in Sentul, Indonesia having been crowned, in 1997, the 125 cc World Champion. But this wasn’t beginners luck. Every season since that historic victory he’s finished in the top three with a total of nine World Championship titles – claiming titles with three different bike teams; Aprilia, Honda and Yamaha. He currently holds the all-time record for most 500cc MotoGP race victories – a total of seventy-nine. Nowadays, Rossi is very much the renowned face of motorcycle racing. With flamboyant victory celebrations and his passion for unconventional helmets and race suits (look up his risqué ‘WLF’ moto), the man nicknamed ‘The Doctor’ brings life and character to a sport deafened by revving engines and shielded faces. He may fondly cling to the number 46 as his racing number – in tribute to his father – but Rossi is very much number one.
had in his first victory in the World Championships on a 250cc bike in 1979. It was also the year that I was born so I use it for that reason. The yellow is just because I like it, it’s very easy to recognise between all the bikes.
You’ve enjoyed a lot of success in your career, what are your priorities right now? The main priority now is trying to win with my new team, Ducati. It’s a new thing for us this season. We are working on the bike and the target is to fight for victory.
You also have a number of pre-race rituals. When did they start? At the beginning of my career. There’s a lot of different things like putting one boot on before the other and always getting on the bike from the right side. I know it’s very stupid – it’s useless [laughs] – but it helps me concentrate on the race.
Has your attitude to racing changed over the years? No, more or less it has always been the same: try to win, try to fight. What does winning mean to you? It’s the most enjoyable part of my work. To fight and stay at the top is always the right way. It gives you a lot of adrenaline and motivation. It’s hard work, you always have to give more than a hundred per cent. Physically, I have to train a lot. When you are younger, it’s easier. You don’t have to train as much and it’s less effort to stay at the top. Season by season, you need more effort and training to stay there.
Do you still get nervous? Yes, the feeling I get is exactly the same as the one I had before my very first Grand Prix. There’s a lot of adrenaline but it’s a good feeling. After the race starts, you are in another dimension. You get this high level of concentration and do what you have to do. Everything becomes clear.
You seem to have a strong identity while on the track. Why is that? When I was very young and watched races on television, I always had a great passion for the design of the helmets and the colour of the leather – it helps you recognise the different riders. I have a strong relationship with Aldo Drudi who worked with both my father and Dainese for years. We always try to have strange ideas for my suit and helmets, but we will always use the number 46 and the colour yellow. Forty-six was the number my father
How do you feel about your level of fame in racing? It’s great as I bring a lot of new fans to the sport, especially in Italy. People know a lot about motorcycles because they follow my races. That is one of the best things about my career. Does that put a lot of responsibility on you? Yeah, I know that a lot of young people follow me, so my behaviour is important when I’m on the track. I always try to give
the maximum and never give up – it’s good to give out positive energy.
arrive in MotoGP, they want to beat me because it’s like they are beating the past.
A lot of people enjoy your victory celebrations. What’s the reason for them? They are for the fans. I get the ideas for them from my friends or my fan club and it’s just for a laugh. In the last few years, the sport has become too serious and so have the riders, but that has happened in all sports. In the past, it was more about bravery but now everybody is more serious and athletic. They follow diets and they train a lot and they don’t have a normal life. I think it’s important to be able to have fun too.
You’ve always kept the same core team of people, even when you’ve moved to different racing companies. How important is it for you to be around people you know? It’s very important. In the end, motorcycle racing is a team sport. It’s the rider who goes on the track but there is a great amount of work to do together before that moment. It’s very important to have people you trust and have good personal relationships with. Also, you’ve got to want to stay together over the weekend so I’ve had the same team for the last ten years; it’s a good way to win.
How are your relationships with other riders? I have good relationships with the riders who I think are good men, not just good riders. But when we are on the track, we are enemies. There’s a strong rivalry because you are always fighting for the same thing. You all have a respect for each other, but sometimes relationships become difficult. Rivalries are always amplified by the media as it’s very important for them to have it.
What do you do in your free time? I go to the gym and I do specific motorcycle training, but I also do a lot of other sports – I run, I play football. I also ride a lot of different motorcycles, like motocross and sometimes race karts. I understand you like to snowboard? Yeah, since 1997. But unfortunately I only get around two and a half weeks in a year. I see it as similar to riding a motorcycle; the way you do the corners on a motorcycle and the turn on a snowboard – you have to lean from one side to another and I like that very much. In terms of tricks, I just do 180s or 360s, not big jumps because it’s dangerous and I’m not trying to become a world champion in snowboarding. It’s
Do you think younger riders are particularly motivated to beat you because of your fame? The new generation of riders are very strong, like Dani Pedrosa, Marco Simoncelli and Jorge Lorenzo. The results of my career mean that I am a great motivation for them. When these young people
just for fun. I can’t afford to be injured again when it comes to motorcycle racing. You still live in your hometown, right? Yeah, I’m lucky as I have a lot of really close friends who I’ve grown up with so I usually spend time with them. In the summer, we go to the beach; we eat, we drink and we dance sometimes – it’s a normal life. In my town, all the people know me so I don’t have these pressures around. It’s very important for me to have friends from before I was famous. I trust these guys and I feel very confident when we are together, we share more or less the same life. Who are your heroes? I like football so in the past it was Diego Maradona, Ronaldo [Luís Nazário de Lima] and Lionel Messi. I also like basketball and the NBA, so Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki [are also my heroes]. I like the people who are able to be the number one in their sport, but who also stay at the top for a long time. I grew up following supercross and watching Jeremy McGrath win seven championships with different bikes. I want to follow him very much. And what pushes you to want to be number one? For me, it’s the taste of victory. It’s different from all other things; it’s like a drug. This is the main reason for racing. Unfortunately, it’s very short-lived – only three or four hours – the next day, you need more. It never stops
Some people find it hard to understand things they can’t see. But for Italian sculptor Arcangelo Sassolino, invisible forces are an inspiration. “My work often centres around themes of anxiety, weakness, transience, and the unexpected,” says the forty-fouryear-old artist. “But at the same time, it deals with elements that are seemingly at odds with fragility, such as force.” Fragile and weak are not words that spring to mind when you first encounter one of Sassolino’s works. Hanging overhead or sitting in the middle of a stone-cold room, the imposing forms of his industrial sculptures – all heavy-duty steel and oversized mechanics – look capable of delivering fatal blows. But what looks brutal on the outside is in fact soft and vulnerable at its core. “I’m drawn to the brutal, functional qualities of certain technologies, and the way different materials can be shaped by industrial processes,” explains Sassolino, who uses industrial mechanisms like hydraulic pistons and electromagnets to push his sculptures to the point of self-destruction. “These technologies give me the opportunity to replicate superhuman forces. And somewhere in that lurks a vision of vulnerability, frailty and annihilation.” Since his first exhibition in 2001, the Vicenza-based artist has shaken up the gallery world with his passion for functional craftsmanship – the roots of which go back to his youth. “I grew
I ta l ia n a r ti s t A r c a n g e l o Sa s s o l i n o i s s h o wi n g th e r aw p o w e r o f m o v e m e n t.
Words ANDREA KURLAND P H O T O G R A P H Y F au s t o C al i ar i & F eder i c o P ere z z an i
01. Untitled 2007 02. Untitled 2006 03. Figurante 2010
up outside of major cities, and there was no trace of art in my family,” explains Sassolino. “I travelled around a lot before I encountered the arts, but my passion for manual labour and the physical form comes from my childhood; I inherited it from my father, who was an excellent carpenter.” Using his father’s practical influence, Sassolino bypassed university and moved to New York to work as a toy designer for Casio. While his day job pivoted around play, a career in the arts was not what he had planned. Then in 1992, a Matisse exhibition at The Museum of Modern Art inspired him to try something new. “I realised that my three-dimensional thinking could easily be combined with more philosophical, poetic aspects,” explains Sassolino, who enrolled at the New York School of Visual Arts that same year. But the confines of New York life never felt right to Sassolino. Returning to Vicenza, Sassolino reconnected with the area’s industrial heritage. Today, his studio sits among the many factories that have made the city famous for its steel, textiles, computer parts and mineral mines. Here, Sassolino began to collaborate with artisans and industrial craftsmen. “Mechanics came easily to me,” he explains. “But more often than not, I put the work in the hands of local experts – manufacturing companies that work closely with the mechanisms
and materials I need – because I don’t have the skills. I stand aside and make way for those able to perform certain work, but I don’t lose control in the process.” With the aid of local expertise, Sassolino has elevated physics and engineering to the heights of fine art. In this world, a gigantic tractor claw is a dynamic, moving limb that opens out at a painfully slow pace before snapping shut with a loud crash. Another piece of work is a six-tonne mass of concrete that is fitted with a mechanism used in cranes. It defies expectations by dragging itself across the cement floor, leaving vibrations and deep scars in its wake, which demonstrate the force of this slow yet powerful speed. “I steal here and there what I want from technology, but I am not a fan of it,” explains Sassolino. “I don’t want to be a judge or make a direct comment on technology. But logically, if you break a block of wood with a hydraulic piston, then you always find someone who sees this as a metaphor for the nature of violence; submitting the forest to the impact of expanding technology.” So, would this interpretation be missing the point? According to Sassolino, the beauty of art is that we each take something different away. “From the moment your work leaves the studio and enters a public exhibition, it is no longer yours intellectually,” concludes Sassolino. “It opens the [dialogue] for different opinions, and rightly so.”
Words SHELLEY JONES
P H O T O G R A P H Y A lessan d o D i L u L L o
F o r F r en c h d o w nh i ll an d s u p e r en d u r o m o u n t a i n - b i k e r Ka r i m A m o u r , g o i n g fas t an d feel i n g g r ea t i s as easy as r i d i n g a b i k e .
A few kilometres from Cagnes-sur-Mer on the French Riviera – a beautiful coastline where the rich and elite holiday on yachts and in villas – is the small but cultural town of Vence. Many artists resided here during the last century, including Henri Matisse who designed the town’s chapel that he called his ‘masterpiece’. But Vence is home to another pioneer – downhill and super enduro mountain-biker Karim Amour. This thirty-six-year-old came onto the scene nearly twenty years ago, in 1992, before mountain biking went mainstream. Back then, there were no role models to follow down the hill. “When I started mountain biking it was the beginning of the mountain biking story,” says Karim. “Back in the nineties, it was mostly American riders and there was just one big name, John Tomac. [My heroes] were Nico Vouilloz and all the first famous riders in France. They were an example and style to follow.” Vouilloz and his peers may have inspired Karim along his journey, but he soon developed an individual riding style where speed and size were important factors. “It feels good when I’m going fast,” explains Karim. “I like to ride mountain bikes for the adrenaline, the speed and when you make a good turn. It’s a great feeling. I think it’s pretty similar to snowboarding; I get such a good sensation that I want to push the limits to make the sensation bigger. The faster and bigger I go, the better the sensation is.” But riding down a rocky hill at speeds of up to 60kph is a scary thing, where the slightest movement can send you off
course. So does Karim ever get scared? “Always!” he laughs. But that’s why he does it. “When you are scared you have the same sensation as speed. But when you control everything you can break through [that fear]. I control my fear, control my speed, and after, when I see my time and it’s good, it’s the best feeling in the world.” Karim’s love of speed was tested last year when he crashed out of a race in April 2010 and lost his spleen. The injury almost killed him, but six months later at the Roc d’Azur 2010 in October, Karim was a winner again. “I was proud of that race,” he says modestly. Super enduro mountain biking is all about stamina, and with intense training rides that can “start at nine in the morning and finish after three in the afternoon,” he and many other French riders are dominating the discipline. He is competitive, but Karim also just enjoys being out in the natural terrain. “I love crossing the backcountry,” he says, “when you’re riding different trails, it’s like discovering the past.” This dedicated guy isn’t slowing down anytime soon. From teaching mountain biking and maybe living in Whistler, Canada one day (“I have to talk to my wife about that!”), to more racing, motocross and some video parts (“If the opportunity is there.”), Karim has got a full schedule. But right now he’s happy in the beautiful French landscape he calls home. “We have a lot of hills so it’s easy to train and the weather is always good,” Karim says. “We have a lot of tourists coming to mountain bike here. They come to ride our hills, and sometimes they never leave.”
W h i l e t h e m o u n ta i n s o f f e r p l e n t y o f f u n a n d a dv e n t u r e , t h e t h r e at o f a v a l a n c h e s i s v e r y r e a l . THEY a r e n o t rare or random, if a slope has snow on it and it’s steep enough to ski d o w n , t h e n a n ava l a n c h e c a n o c c u r . I t ’ s e s t i m at e d t h at ov e r a m i l l i o n ava l a n c h e s happen g l o b a l ly each y e a r , r e s u lt i n g i n a b o u t 1 5 0 d e a t h s , and a quarter of these occur in the European Alps. Whenever you are out i n t h e m o u n ta i n s , i t ’ s i m p o r ta n t to b e awa r e o f t h e r i s ks . B e s a f e o ut t h e r e .
Words ED ANDREWS
PHOTOGRAPHY Y A N N G R O S S
Cause The size and type of an avalanche is influenced by slope steepness, snow fall, temperature and wind. They are triggered by either movement or loud noise. Ninety percent of people caught in avalanches have triggered them themselves.
Debris Avalanches regularly pick up and carry ice, rocks, trees and other debris, dramatically increasing the risk of injury for those caught up in them.
Speed Avalanches can exceed speeds of 300kph and reach 10,000,000 tonnes in mass. Because of this, they can travel long distances along flat valley floors and even up the sides of mountains for short distances.
Flow A powder cloud forms above the avalanche as it accelerates over obstacles on the slope surface, such as cliffs and rocks. The snow mixes with the air but the density and turbulence of the mix means that the powder cloud flows down the mountain, pulled by the force of gravity like a liquid.
PATH The avalanche track is the path that an avalanche follows as it goes downhill. Gullies and chutes act like natural funnels for this path. Missing trees are a sign of a regular avalanche track, as well as large pile-ups of snow and debris at the bottom of a slope, known as the â€˜runout zoneâ€™.
TreEs Forested mountainsides are generally at lower risk of avalanches than open slopes as the trees can help trap and stabilise the snow. Lone trees or large rocks can weaken the stability of the snowpack by providing a point of fracture across the slope.
Safety Be Safe: Ski resorts monitor the risk of avalanches and provide information on the scale of the danger at any time. Always check the avalanche status before you venture out into the mountains. For those heading into the backcountry, a transceiver, shovel â€“ and training in how to use them is essential
H E M AY B E A D O R E D F O R P U S H I N G H I M S E L F A N D H I S M OTO R B I K E TO T H E L I M I T O N T H E WO R L D’S M O ST P E R I LOUS TRACKS, BUT FULL-TIME MECHANIC-TURNED-HOBBY R A C E R G U Y M A R T I N I S T O O F A S T F O R T H E L I M E L I G H T. WORDS GARY INMAN
PHOTOGRAPHY SAM CHRISTMAS
egret what I’ve done, not what I haven’t.” Guy Martin doesn’t have to think twice before he delivers his philosophy on life. It sums up a man who is in perpetual motion, doing many things at once; who’s experiencing a fascinatingly quirky life because he’s willing to say ‘yes’ more often than ‘no’. The speed of the answer characterises a man who seems pathologically programmed to say exactly what’s on his mind and then stand by it. Despite the fact that motorcycle racing is just a hobby to this full-time mechanic, Martin is easily Britain’s most recognisable racer. In many ways, this psyches him up to beat ‘them’ – the professionals with their personal trainers, media manners and serious attitudes. He competes at the front of the most dangerous motorcycle races on the planet, but he shuns sponsor engagements and regularly annoys team bosses by telling the truth as he sees it – an attitude that has made him a cult hero. It’s the last evening of practise for the 2011 Isle of Man TT, the celebrated annual race around the small, rugged island that sits in the Irish Sea. Only a few hours before the first crucial race, Guy looks the same as every time I’ve ever met him. His thick brown hair is messy and his Neolithic good looks are rounded off with extra-thick sideburns. He may be built like a cage fighter but he’s proud to say he’s never been to a gym. A tattoo of a flaming lawnmower piston – a tribute, perhaps, to the bizarre tradition of lawnmower racing he’s known to enjoy – sits on the back of one leg, but his first tattoos, the words ‘Market’, ‘Home’, ‘Roast Beef’ and ‘None’, are now pretty much worn off the bottom of his toes. As always, his powerful hands are deeply lined with oil and grease – they never come clean. When he’s not racing, Martin fixes lorries for a living. Because he loves his work ‘on the tools’ more than his racing exploits, he thinks his job defines him. But perhaps it’s just the way that a small-town boy with multiple talents and loads of charm deals with being adored and admired. Fans lurk around his team’s pit lorry for hours for autographs, and some even have his skull and spanners logo tattooed on their sunburnt skin. When it comes to racing Martin’s professional and meticulous, but maybe he uses the ‘it’s my hobby’ line because, despite coming agonisingly close, he’s yet to win a TT. His success in racing, however, is undeniable. In the past year, Guy has fronted a BBC prime-time TV series – The Boat That Guy Built, about the British working methods, techniques and discoveries that led to the Industrial Revolution. He was also the main focus of the hit 3D featurelength documentary film about the Isle of Man motorcycle races: TT 3D – Closer to the Edge. He’s gone from being popular in the real road racing world for his uniquely dangerous niche of motorcycle sport, to being recognised in the supermarket. And he doesn’t enjoy the transition. “I’m not being ungrateful, but this is my holiday and I get pestered non-stop,” he says. That’s why, for the 2011 TT, he’s hiding in a secret bunker on the outskirts of the island’s capital, Douglas. For most of the fortnight, he sleeps on a sofabed in a windowless industrial unit that has neither a toilet nor running water. “It’s mint,” he says, fondly. His work van is parked outside and inside is his brutal, turbocharged Suzuki street bike that he’s spending his evenings tinkering with. There’s also his beloved custom-built Orange mountain bike and his latest acquisition, a 101-year-old opencrank Ammanco chore boy stationary engine. During the TT, all the teams and racers must be on the island for two weeks or more and either side of the intense, mind-frying action there are long days with not much to do. Like a hunted fox, Guy goes to ground, returning to the constant in his life; his tool box and the precision-made, chrome-moly within.
I first met Guy in 2006, tracking him down for an interview after seeing a photo of him scraping his leg, elbow and large areas of his motorcycle on a grass verge during the Oliver’s Mount road race circuit near Scarborough in northern England – an event he later won. “If I get killed, so what?” he told me back then in an interview I’m unlikely to forget. “Yeah, I remember saying that in my mum’s kitchen,” he says today. “I don’t know if I can say it now. I’m not scared of dying. I wasn’t trying to kill myself back then. I just wasn’t bothered if I did. Now, I’m getting married, I can see a future. But if I was scared of killing myself I wouldn’t come and race at the TT, let’s be honest.” The TT is the most important event on the real roads racing calendar. It features one week of practise followed by eight races, five of which Guy will enter in the second week. But it’s only one date on the road racing calendar. There are races in England, Ireland, Northern Ireland and the island of Macau just off the coast of China. This is pure road racing; on closed public roads with high kerbs, garden walls, lamp posts, gate posts, sign posts, mailboxes, telephone boxes, spooked horses, suicidal hares, drystone walls, hedges, houses, shops and pubs! Guy doesn’t enjoy racing on ‘short circuits’, despite threatening to seriously commit to trying to master them. Short circuits are what real road racers call racetracks like Silverstone or Monza. Guy dismisses them as “riding round a supermarket car park”. While all modern circuits have run-off and gravel
traps to allow riders to slide to a stop before hitting something substantial, every road race circuit punishes errors of judgement. Some of the Irish road races even make the perilous Isle of Man look half-sensible. Having said that, Guy crashed at 275kph at the 2010 TT, while fighting for the lead of the Senior TT, the biggest race of the year, Guy crashed at 170mph. Some of the stats say the TT has averaged two competitor deaths per year for its 100-plus year history. That’s a lot of dead sons and fathers for any kind of sporting event, but witness the TT and it’s incredible the figure isn’t even higher. What stopped Guy becoming a high profile addition to the list was a supernatural level of skill. When he felt his front tyre losing grip, he made four or five small calculated efforts to save the slide. This was all carried out during a blink of an eye while virtually every other motorcycle racer in the world would’ve been considering the inevitable. Calmly attempting these minor corrections in throttle, brake and his body position meant he was still in some kind of control and continued travelling around the corner, rather than letting go and firing into the wall on the outside of the turn. It was on this corner, Ballagarey, that a racer died just two days before, but the extra few tenths of a second meant that he didn’t accept defeat until he was past the apex and heading down the road. He ricocheted into a wall, then across the road into another, before sliding into the 10m fireball caused by his exploding 1000cc Honda. “I wasn’t scared,” says Martin. “I didn’t think, ‘This is going to hurt.’ I just thought, ‘Whatever will be, will be.’” He cracked a few ribs, and singed his fringe and eyebrows, but four months later he was back, racing and winning – a fact that is testament to the Dainese and AGV safety gear he chose to compete in. And, of course, the spirit of the man. That was the last time he raced at the Isle of Man, but he says that fact barely even crosses his mind. “Yeah I thought about it on the drive here, but I’m not worried because I understood what went wrong,” he says. “I was trying too hard with a full tank of petrol [after a pit stop]. It’s a fine line. If you want to win that’s how fine the line is now.” But is it playing on his mind? Unlikely. Just a couple of hours before meeting us Guy put in a 210kph practise lap, very close to the overall lap record. This isn’t the top speed, it’s the average over a 60.72km lap of public roads. For some of the time, the bike is maxed-out at 322kph and they shoot through villages at 290kph-plus.
“The bike is hitting bumps and doing things a bike shouldn’t be doing at 290kph. If it did it on a short circuit, people would be screaming that the thing’s unrideable, but you can’t get a perfect handling bike at the TT,” Guy explains. “You’ve just got to let it do things like that and not fight it. While you’re fighting against it you’re making it hard for yourself. You’ve got to ride that thing for two hours. So you let it do it for as long as it’s in hand, as long as it’s not going to throw you through someone’s garden fence, as long as it’s not going to kill you. My bike’s not going to kill me,” he says, like the bike has decided. “Running over white lines and manhole covers at mental speeds: that’s the buzz. That’s why I race,” Guy continues. “It’s like I’m watching myself. I’m in the zone. There’s no other race in the world like this. It’s not about how late you can brake, it’s about keeping the momentum, braking less. It’s just the same as downhill mountain biking. Keep it flowing.” It’s this buzz that brings him back to these races – not glory, machismo or money, but the excitement of doing something the rest of the world thinks is suicide. Guy is in the eye of the storm: “I’m calm, picking out these spots on every piece of the track I have to hit. The fastest laps are the calmest. When you’re a few kph down that’s when you’re thinking, ‘shit, shit, shit’, and making it hard work for yourself.” During the conversation, as his fiancée Steph looks at her watch, conscious of the big race looming, it’s obvious Guy has evolved. He’ll be thirty before the year’s out and while it seems like he’s had a dream year, the attention the film and the BBC TV series has brought him still irritates him. “This is my holiday,” he says of racing. “I don’t want to be famous. When I get back to work on Monday there will be a big list of jobs to do and it doesn’t matter who you are, just do them. I’m just a lad who takes time off work to go race his motorbikes for that one thing; not to be seen to be racing my motorbikes.” But his continued success has got to put that last statement into doubt. Guy Martin is a complex character. Just before we split he adds his bombshell. “Life without racing: I wouldn’t be happy. I need it. It’s like a drug. I’m addicted to it. I want to win a TT, then pack it in. I haven’t told anyone that. I haven’t told you that,” he says to Steph, before backtracking a little, “I think I will. But I need something to replace that buzz.”
C A M I L L A S TO D DA R T
hours to travel
W h at i s s p e e d ? I t ’s j u st a c o m b i n at i o n o f d i sta n c e a n d t h e t i m e ta k e n t o t r a v e l i t. A s p e e d i s o n ly a s s l o w o r f a s t a s w h a t i t ’ s c o m p a r e d to : i t ’s a l l r e l at i v e . S o a r e t h e s e t i m e s s low o r fa st ? Yo u d ec i d e .
the Apollo 11 space mission took 3 days, 3 hours and 49 minutes to travel the 384,403 km to the Moon
HOURS TO LAP THE
IT TOOK VALENTINO ROSSI A RECORD 1.56145 MINUTES TO LAP THE 5.4 KM BRNO CIRCUIT IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC IN 2009
THE TIME IT TOOK
PEMBA DORJEE SHERPA TO CLIMB THE
INCLINE FROM BASE CAMP TO
T h e w o r l d r e m e m b e r s t h o s e w h o d o t h i n g s f i r s t; T h e p i o n e e r s w h o t r y s o m e t h i n g n e w, s o m e t h i n g d a r i n g a n d s o m e t h i n g e x t r a o r d i n a r y. W h e n i t c o m e s t o s p e e d , t h e r e a r e s o m e p e o p l e w h o s e a tt i t u d e s a n d a c h i e v e m e n t s h av e h e l p e d c h a n g e w h at t h e r e s t o f t h e w o r l d t h i n k s o f a s ‘ f a s t ’ . A n d f o r t h i s , t h e s e i c o n s w i l l a l w a y s BE r e m e m b e r e d .
Chuck Yeager 1923For pioneering pilot Chuck Yeager the sky was the limit. In 1947, he took up the challenge to become the first man to fly at the speed of sound – an epic 1236kph, or ‘Mach’ as it’s also known. After proving himself as a fighter pilot in the US Air Force during World War II, Yeager was chosen for this experimental mission thanks to his flying skills, combat leadership and excellent eyesight. It was on October 14, 1947 that Yeager climbed into the cockpit to fly the prototype Bell X-1 jet at the Muroc Army Air Field in Southern California. He was so determined to complete the mission that he kept secret the two ribs he had broken horse riding a few days before. Not wanting to be taken off the mission, he got treatment from a veterinarian but was still in great pain on the day of the flight. “We didn’t know if we could break the sound barrier. But it was our duty to try. That’s the way I looked at it,” said Yeager. Yeager’s record was broken by pilot Scott Crossfield in November 20, 1953, when he flew at Mach 2 – twice the speed of sound, an epic 2125 kph. But soon after, Yeager set a new speed record, flying at Mach 2.44 (2989 kph). But Yeager has remained humble about his achievements. He said recently: “Now you’ve got guys in space vehicles, smoking along at thousands of kilometres per hour. Speed is relative.” Ed Andrews
Bruce Lee 1940-1973 On his legendary quest to become the best fighter in the world, Bruce Lee discovered that you always had to be faster than the other guy. Lee brought whole new ideas to the speed at which the human body can move through his experimental training techniques in the late fifties and sixties. “All the strength or power you have developed from your training is wasted if you are slow and can’t make contact,” wrote Lee in one of his many papers on speed training. “Power and speed go handin-hand; a fighter needs both to be successful.” Lee focused his rigorous training on practising the art of movement with some odd exercises, such as trying to extinguish a candle merely from the draft caused by the acceleration of his punch. The results of Lee’s focus and tireless dedication saw him achieve some extraordinary feats of speed: he could snatch a coin from a person’s open palm and leave another behind before they could close it; and strike someone from a metre away in just 1/500th of a second. Lee’s incredible speed meant that many of his fight scenes and nunchaku routines needed to be slowed down on film so that people could see the action. Lee sadly passed away in 1973 but in the thirty-plus years since his death no one has come close to the way in which he mastered moving the human body. Ed Andrews
Simone Origone 1979Flying down a mountain at over 200kph is not for the fainthearted, but for record-breaking speed skier Simone Origone, it’s no big deal. As the fastest skier on the planet, he’s defied the limits of what is possible on snow. Growing up in the town of Aosta in the Italian Alps, Origone was practically raised on the mountain. His childhood was busy with regular coaching from his father who helped him grow his unrelenting hunger for speed and guided him into speed skiing. His career moved as fast as he did and in 2004, during his debut year on the speed skiing circuit, Origone earned his first victory at a World Cup contest in the resort of Sun Peaks, Canada, hitting a speed of 200.89 kph. His talents were spotted and he joined the Italian national team. Simone Origone went on to rule the sport and won a number of World Cup gold medals in Austria, Italy and Sweden in the 2005 season. The next year at the famous Kilomètre Lancé (flying kilometre) would be the defining moment of his career. Origone set a new speed skiing world record of 251.4kph, making him the fastest non-motorised man on land. Five years may have passed since that record, but Origone’s career is not over and there’s a chance he will smash the record again. Jon Harris
Gl e n n C u r t i ss 1878 - 1930 Considered as one of the great aviators of the twentieth century, people often forget about Glenn Curtiss’ huge contribution to motorcycling. But with incredible engineering skills and a love of motorcycles, he set many land speed world records. Growing up in New York, Curtiss began exploring his interest in speed as a bicycle messenger, manufacturer and racer in his late teens. But with the growth of the internal combustion engine, Curtiss’ interests moved towards motorcycles, and from 1902, he manufactured his own single-cylinder engine motorcycles. With a strong desire to go faster than the rest, he broke the World Land Speed Record on a motorcycle in 1903, hitting ground-breaking speeds of 103kph. Not easily satisfied, Curtiss continued to make and break his own speed records. One of his most famous achievements came in 1907 when newspapers called him “the fastest man in the world” after he hit the dizzying speed of 219kph on Florida’s Ormand Beach – on a selfbuilt motorcycle. With the outbreak of World War I, Curtiss focused his engineering skills on aviation, causing a standstill in the development of motorcycles for the next thirty years. Curtiss would later prove hugely influential in the aviation industry, building the first airplane to fly across the Atlantic. His developments proved highly influential to both the war efforts and the long-term development of air travel. And so, Curtiss not only revolutionised the speed at which people could travel on land, but also the speed at which they could travel the world. Jon Harris
Giacomo Agostini 1942Italian racer Giacomo Agostini is the undisputed king of motorcycling. With fifteen World Championships to his name and more victories than any other Grand Prix motorcyclist in history, he was the first to show the world that speed is nothing without consistency. Agostini, or ‘Ago’ as he’s known to many, was a natural speed demon and fell in love with motorcycles when he was very young, despite the fact that his father didn’t approve. His skill on a bike was soon discovered and, by the age of twenty-two, he took the racing circuit by storm, finishing fourth in his debut race at the Monza Grand Prix, close to his hometown of Brescia. Ago soon dominated the motorcycling world like no one else before. He smashed all previous motorcycling records by winning over eighty Grand Prix races in just four years. But Ago’s greatest achievement isn’t just the record 123 victories in his career, it’s also his ability to adapt and consistently win on both 350cc and 500cc motorbikes. He reluctantly retired from racing in 1977, but Ago’s heart never left the racing world and he continued his success as a team manager. Although Valentino Rossi is getting close to the legend’s incredible number of victories, nothing will erase Agostini’s name from the history books. Jon Harris
S e t i n th e sh a d o w o f th e l e g e n d a r y M a tt e r h o r n , th e t o w n OF Z e r m a tt i n S w i tz e r l a n d i s th e e p i t o m e o f e v e r y th i n g th a t i s b e a u t i f u l a b o u t th e m o u n t a i n s . Its l u sh f o r e sts , r u sh i n g r i v e r s , c l e a n a i r a n d s n o w y p e a k s m a k e f o r o n e st u n n i n g p l a c e . O n o n e f i n e d a y, f o u r f r i e n d s h e a d o u t t o e n j o y a l l th a t th i s a l p i n e p a r a d i s e h a s t o o f f e r .
P h o t o g r a ph y G r e g F u N n e l l
Marco wears GT Helmet, GT Goggles.
Luca wears Soft Pants Short, Flip Air Back Protector.
Left to right: Luca wears Everest Evo Down Jacket. Marco wears Albertville Evo D-Dry速 Jacket.
Top left: Kara wears Waistcoat Soft Lady. Bottom left: Kara wears Calgary Evo D-Dry速 Jacket and Pants. Marco wears Second Skin D-Dry速 Jacket and Pants. Main image: Luca wears Carbon Tech New Gloves D-Dry速.
Left to right: Luca wears Ultimate Bap Back Protector. Marco wears Action Wave Back Protector.
Main image: Marco wears Chamonix Evo D-Dry速 Jacket. Luca wears Niseko Evo Gore-Tex速 Jacket. Top right: Suze wears Waistcoat Soft Lady. Kara wears Ultimate Bap Back Protector. Bottom right: Kara wears Jet Evo Helmet and D-Performance Evo Goggles.
Left to right: Luca wears Garmisch Gore-Tex速 Jacket. Marco wears Second Skin D-Dry速 Jacket. Kara wears Vail Evo Gore-Tex速 Jacket.
On the table: V-Jet Helmet, Performance Colour Helmet, D-Impact 5 D-Dry速 Gloves. Suze wears Paris Down Jacket.
Thanks to Zermatt Tourist Board (www.zermatt.ch) and Hotel Post (www.hotelpost.ch).
C A M I L L A S TO D DA R T
Words ED ANDREWS
PHOTOGRAPHY Sammy Minkoff
W o r l d C h a m p i o n a l p i ne s k i er Mar i a H ö f l - R i esc h i s m a k i n g f ear h er f r i end .
“I love speed generally and skiing is my passion. Therefore a combination of both is the best,” says professional alpine skier Maria Höfl-Riesch. “Also, the competition and to be able to practice my sport in such a beautiful natural environment is amazing.” Growing up in the mountain town of GarmischParternkirchen in southern Germany was ideal for this 26-yearold to indulge her passion for tearing down snowy slopes. It’s an addictive feeling; the rush of wind and the forces of gravity bearing down on you as you carve a line through the snow. But speed is nothing without control and the disciplines in alpine skiing – downhill, slalom, giant slalom, super-G and combined – are the ultimate test of this control. And it just so happens that Maria is pretty damn good at them all. Maria started competing when she was just sixteen. Season by season, she steadily climbed up the ranks and won gold in Slalom at the 2009 World Championships in Val d’Isere and then gold medals in both the Combined and Slalom races at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. The year after, she also claimed bronze in both the Super-G and Downhill in the 2011 World Championships, and won the overall World Cup title too! This success doesn’t come easily though. It’s something she
puts down to six to eight hours of cardio training each day, and a lot of time on skis. “I train throughout the summer, preparing myself for all the disciplines with technical training in New Zealand and then speed training in Chile,” says Maria. “I have less time to prepare myself for the different disciplines than those skiers who specialise in one discipline, but it seems that this doesn’t cause me too much trouble! This kind of training is very hard, but it’s the biggest reason for my success, for sure.” It also helps that Maria is a natural sportswomen. As well as skiing she’s a nationally-ranked tennis player – although she insists it’s “just a hobby” – and alongside these natural physical talents comes a unique mental focus to be the best. “Normally I’m in a tunnel before the race and fully concentrated on myself,” says Maria. “The race is the only thing in my head, but when I’m racing, it’s just instinctive.” But at such speeds, the threat of injury is just a slip away, no matter how well protected you are. Maria, however, has learned to embrace the danger and won’t let it hold her back. “After two serious injuries, I’m sometimes worried about my safety, but I have learned to live with it,” she says. “Fear does not slow me down. Occasionally, it even pushes me. You have to use it as an energy.”
FA m o U S I tA L I A N A L P I N e S K I I N G D U o to m A N D j e r ry A r e P roV I N G t H At G o I N G FASt IS ALL ABoUt WorKING AS oNe.
Alpine skiing is a tough sport. It requires a technique as sharp as skis themselves, great strength to hold a line against the forces of gravity, and a huge amount of nerve to charge down a slope at speeds of up to 140kph. Now imagine doing it with your eyes shut. This is the world that visually-impaired skiing team and Paralympics gold medallists Tom and Jerry – Tommaso Balasso and Gianmaria Dal Maistro – excel in. Gianmaria was born in Vicenza, Italy, in 1980, with a visual impairment that allows him to see just ten percent of normal vision. From a young age, he took a great interest in sport and skiing became a great passion of his despite his virtual blindness when on snow. By the time he was fourteen, he had achieved a place on the national alpine Italian Disabled Ski Team. But it was when he teamed up with photographer and ski racer Tommaso in 2003 that his skiing went to the next level. With Tommaso acting as Gianmaria’s guide, leading him through the gates with a series of directions delivered through a microphone, the pair’s unique bond proved to be a formidable weapon in ski races the world over. Together, they have become two of Italy’s most successful athletes. Highlights of their career together include gold in Super-G and silver in Giant Slalom at the Torino 2006 Paralympic Games as well as bronze in Slalom and Giant Slalom and silver in SuperCombined at the Vancouver 2010 Paraylmpic Games. As the duo are quick to recognise, their success has been down to hard work, dedication and a unique understanding of each other.
WorDS ED ANDREWS
PHotoGrAPHy CARLO PERAZZOLO
“I first met Gianmaria ten years ago when I was doing a photo essay on the world of disabled skiing. I didn’t know much about it so I asked Gianmaria for help. He immediately seemed humble and friendly. Despite his sporting success he has always been a very approachable person. Gianmaria knew I used to compete in ski races and after my photo essay was done, he asked me to be his guide. At first I was scared as I had to look after another person as well as myself, but since that day I have only skied on my own for about ten days. We’ve skied together for 150 days a year for eight years. In these eight years, we have shared everything; joys, sorrows and many bedrooms! This is the magic of the sports world: being able to live the same life with someone and to share the same goals. It’s created a deep and successful friendship. Blind Paralympic skiing is a peculiar discipline because it’s not an individual sport, it’s a team sport. For Gianmaria to ski blind and for me to guide him requires a great affinity between us. It’s essential to have harmony in our relationship off the piste. That’s where we ultimately win the race.”
“I first met Tommaso back in 2001 when he was doing a photo story on disabled skiing. I invited him to come to the European Cup in Sestriere [Italy] to capture a story that is not only about what’s on the piste. What struck me immediately about Tommaso was the curiosity and interest that he had for our sport, not just the racing side. He’s very open to new ideas and quick to develop a passion about new things that interest him. He easily has a thousand emotional ideas in his head, but he’s also clear about what he wants. In recent years, in addition to our training on skis, we’ve also worked with a psychologist. This was to make sure that although we don’t always think and act in the same way and have different attitudes to things, our goals are still the same. Our goals are so big that it’s important to resolve any misunderstandings very quickly. Our friendship has evolved into a professional bond aimed at achieving one goal: to win! As Tommaso always says, we spend more time together than we do with our girlfriends. Ultimately, I think the reasons we are successful are hard work, sacrifice and us sharing the same goal at all costs.”
S e t i n t h e r u gg e d p e a k s h i g h a b o v e t h e m o u n t a i n resort of Les Deux Alpes in the French Alps, the M o u n ta i n o f H e l l b i k e r a c e i s a s to u g h a s i t g e t s . T a k i n g p l a c e i n J u ly 2 0 1 1 , t h i s t h r e e - d a y e v e n t s a w a r o u n d 4 5 0 r i d e r s b at t l e i t o u t d o w n t h e s u b - l u n a r a l p i n e t e r r a i n . W i t h p e r i lo u s r o c k y pat h s , h a r s h w e at h e r a n d l o a d s o f f i e r c e c o m p e t i t o r s , r i d e r s n e e d ED b o t h s k i l l a n d b r a v e r y t o g o f a s t e r t h a n t h e r e s t. . .
Photography Greg Funnell
- Above The gondola, crammed full of bikes and riders, as they make their way up to the start line just under the Jandri Express II ski lift at an altitude of 3200m.
- Left Soon after the start, the 450 riders taking part in the race cram into the first narrow gully of the course. Amid the shoulder-barging, a few riders are taken out, not helped by the fact that here at the top, there are 120kph winds with a chill factor of about -5°C. One pro British rider, 26-year-old Alex Stock from Manchester, claimed it was “the worst conditions I’d ever ridden in”.
- Above With wet weather on the final day, the final stretch of the track got very muddy. It’s nothing a powerful hose can’t handle, though. A lot of the sponsored riders taking part have their own crew servicing their bikes, making sure they are in the best possible condition for the next race.
- R I GHT The sun setting over the formidable peak of the Aiguille de Vénosc that overlooks Les Deux Alpes.
- Above The carbon fibre wheel of British rider Alex Stock snapped under him in the final race and is a brutal reminder of the dangers all around. Stock was thrown from the bike and had to walk down the rest of the course with the other riders passing him by. The most common injuries are people breaking collar bones and fingers, and Alex already had his thumb in a splint from an accident the previous week. For the Mountain of Hell, all riders are required to wear protective gear such as back protectors, shin pads, knee and elbow pads, gloves and, of course, helmets.
- Left To get to the start of the heats, there was a 20-minute up-hill walk from the lift station. At such a high altitude, itâ€™s an exhausting struggle before the race has even started
C A M I L L A S TO D DA R T
F o r a f e w w e e k s e a c h s u m m e r , a s m a l l i s l a n d i n th e I r i s h S e a b e c o m e s th e c e n t r e o f th e m o t o r c y c l e r a c i n g w o r l d . T h i s i s th e l e g e n d a r y I s l e o f Ma n T o u r i s t T r o phy, o n e o f th e m o s t d a n g e r o u s a n d m o s t l o v e d r a c e s a r o u n d .
Words Gary Inman
P H O T O G R A P H Y S AM C H R I S T MA S a n d P a c e m a k e r P r e ss
most famous motorcycle circuit in the world is not even a racetrack. For forty-eight weeks a year, this 60.72km circuit is used by taxis, school buses, cars and vans, and has oil and cigarette butts scattered all over it. It has many names – Glencrutchery Road, Peel Road, Ayre Road, May Hill – and parts of it are not glamourous at all. But for two weeks a year, these mundane roads combine to become the motorcyclist’s Mecca. This is the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy road racing circuit, and there is nothing like it. The Isle of Man TT is the most famous and infamous motorcycle race there has ever been. In June, the motorcycling world gathers to watch riders race around every corner of these dangerous, winding island roads. The risk attracts the bravest riders who then attract a huge number of highly committed fans to make it an amazing event on and off the track. It manages to be both at the cutting edge of motorcycle racing as the most rigorous testing ground for the twenty-first century road-legal superbikes, and unapologetically outdated as it clings to the traditions of its 100-year-plus history. The first Isle of Man TT race took place back in 1907. The world has changed dramatically since then, but for the TT there have only been very minor changes – to the layout of the circuit – and, despite being cancelled for two world wars and the outbreak of foot and mouth disease, it’s been raced on every single year. Throughout this time, the TT has become one of the most popular race events in the world. But there are many things that make the TT special. Here are just some of them...
T H E G EO G R A P H Y
T H E F A NS
The Isle of Man is a 51km-long and 22km-wide island halfway between England and Ireland. The self-governing tax haven is surrounded by the Irish Sea and, on a fine day, it’s stunning. Around the coastline, there are many towns with some dating back to Viking times. However, Mann – to give the island its ancient name – has been inhabited since 6500 BC. Small villages consisting of a few sturdy houses, a shop and, sometimes, a pub are found all over the island with a 621m-high mountain, Snaefell, sitting right in the middle. If you stand on the summit on a clear day it’s said you can see six kingdoms: Mann, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and heaven. The TT circuit runs through all of this and it’s nature, not a 3D computer model and bulldozer, that has shaped the circuit. There are huge differences in elevation, leading to some difficulties for the race schedules: the start line in the capital of Douglas can be sunny; Ramsey can be rainy; and the mountain road foggy all at the same time. The race is just too risky to run in unpredictable conditions, but the organisers still try. On the track, the riders charge through the landscape so fast that racer Guy Martin says they’re “sucking rabbits from the hedges”. Spectators use dirt roads and small lanes to find the best places to watch the event after the roads have been closed for racing. They sit in the weather-beaten countryside with their radios to keep up with the action. You don’t watch a TT race, you experience it. The circuit is so big and the speed of the race so fast that during a two-hour six-lap race, a spectator may only see the winner for just ten seconds. It seems a huge investment for little return but those ten seconds will stay in their memory forever.
“It’s almost impossible to explain,” says American Midwesterner Jeff Wright about his motivation for coming here. “I like World Superbike and MotoGP, but between you and the action there is 12m of grass, a tyre wall, a fence, another fence... at the TT the riders are close enough to touch. It’s insane.” Jeff and his three friends are just one example of the dedicated fans who come to the TT from all over the world. They flew over the Atlantic to Manchester, caught the train to Liverpool and then took a late-night ferry to Douglas. It’s their first visit and they’ve spent all the money in their bank accounts to make this pilgrimage. Many other motorcycle race events have been compromised and lost their appeal, but the TT hasn’t. If anything, its mystique and mythology grows each year. This is in part thanks to TV coverage in over 100 countries and support from high profile partners like Dainese and Monster Energy, but also the fact that TT fans don’t pay to watch the action unless they wish to buy a ticket for the grandstand. Fans don’t need a special pass to walk into the pits, they just need to find them. Behind the grandstand are the team trucks and tents selling T-shirts and other souvenirs. Some people complain the area has a disorganised feel, but that’s the charm of the TT. It isn’t pretentious, pompous or fake: it’s real and honest, and it attracts loyal support and commands respect for it. “I love everything about it,” says Jeff. “I love the pubs, the history [and] going through villages I’ve been watching on videos for twenty years. My dad used to buy motorcycle magazines when I was a kid and every year there’d be a report from the island. I’ve always wanted to come here.”
T H E T RUS T
T H E LOC A LS
“There’s nothing like this race for the pressure that it puts on mechanics,” explains Guy Martin’s mechanic, Danny Horne. “If you’re at a normal circuit race you know where the rider is every twenty or thirty seconds, but here you don’t see then for seventeen or eighteen minutes. I don’t care how good a mechanic you are, you can’t help thinking, ‘Did I do that? Did I tighten that?’ Especially when you consider what happens to riders who do crash. It’s a lot more pressure. The riders talk of the buzz, but it’s a buzz for the mechanic too.” The relationship between mechanic and rider means that trust is a big deal at the TT. “Guy puts a lot of trust in me. I know it’s got to be right every time,” says Danny. “There’s no better testing environment in the world for a race bike. If something’s going to break, it’s going to break here. If his bike comes in after six laps and nothing has broken, it’s down to the mechanic. I want my work to be at the highest level and that’s what it’s got to be around here. I’ve never had a bolt fall off around here. If anything goes wrong, I don’t want it to be down to me.” But despite Danny’s vigilance, things beyond the mechanic’s control go wrong at the TT. Last year, Guy Martin crashed at 270kph. “We’d just done the pit stop, Guy was on the pace, and then I saw the travelling marshalls [a fast response crew made up of ex-racers] go out,” remembers Danny. “We thought, ‘That’s not good.’ Next the fire engine went out, but I still didn’t know it was Guy. Then a mechanic from another team told me, ‘Guy didn’t go through the next checkpoint.’ I had a terrible sinking feeling. Everything went through my head. It’s not a very forgiving place, and my brother was killed racing, so it brought back a lot of feelings.”
“Oh, I’m deeply involved with motorcycles,” says Bobby, just one of the many Manx residents whose house sits right beside the track. “I raced, my son raced, my daughter raced, my son-in-law raced, my granddaughter races.” Fourteen people are in Bobby’s small, tidy front garden that he shares with his wife Jean. Four are perched on a makeshift platform to see over the hedge onto Bray Hill – the legendary flat-out descent from the start line – and the rest are crammed into the corner near the tree, where the hedge is lower. A radio, tuned to the commentary on Manx Radio TT, is hung from the tree. This is just one of the many garden parties that people have all around the course. The first race is under way and everyone is standing like meerkats peering out at the road. Every few seconds a blur passes, accompanied by a sonic boom of harsh, metallic noise that feels like a punch in the side of the head. The violence of the bikes passing along with the suburban surroundings makes the TT like nothing else on earth. Every house on the mountain course is immaculately clean. It seems that no one wants to let the island down by having paint peeling off their garden gate or an untidy lawn. Perhaps that’s one of the reasons people think the Isle of Man is old fashioned? “I think 99 per cent of people on the island support the TT. Only a few, mainly those who moved here recently and bought a house on the course might think it’s a nuisance,” says Bobby. “They should have thought about that before.” Every ten seconds another hero launches themselves on an intense journey; a true adventure, a life or death experience. When they pass Bobby’s front gate the fastest will be doing over 290kph, 80m per second.
T H E LE G A C Y
T H E RIDERS
Opposite the twenty-year-old grandstand is the 100m long scoreboard that dates back to the 1920s. It’s complicated and it takes a while to understand it. A man in bib-and-brace overalls paints lap times while the local Scout group, who have been working the scoreboard for 100 years, update the lap positions and list of retirees. Behind this scoreboard is Douglas Cemetery, a small piece of land that’s crammed full of headstones and the occasional statue. In the corner nearest the race start line, a memorial wall has been erected with small plaques for some of the riders who have lost their lives at the TT and its amateur equivalent, the Manx Grand Prix, which is held on the same course later in the summer. Among the many tributes one in particular that stands out. It says, ‘Lived life and loved to race.’ It could describe every racer that lines up ready to be waved off at the start line just 20m away. Lots of riders may have lost their lives at the TT – it averages at about two a year – but many, many more go home safely with the self-confident glow of living life to the fullest.
The TT attracts racers and factory teams from all over the world. It’s a proving ground for motorcycle racers and they’re keen to make the pilgrimage and compete. “The TT is why I started riding motorcycles and it’s why I started racing, so I thought I had to come here to race,” says Yoshinari Matsushita, a Japanese biker who is here to fulfill a dream. He raised the money to compete with the help of some personal sponsors and is being lent a BMW S1000RR bike by a German team. “I wasn’t good enough to be a professional,” he explains. “I almost gave up. Before my mother died she told me that if I had the chance I should grab it. I’ve lost friends in racing accidents in Japan and it reminded me that life is so short – I had to try it.” The forty-one-year-old has been on the island for three weeks to learn the track. He’s done seventy-five laps of the course and ridden a total of 4586km to memorise the 200-plus corners and their relationship to each other. Before he came here, he watched DVDs of onboard footage from top racers lapping the course. How many times? “Two hundred,” he laughs. Yoshinari also had to regain his fitness after his first visit to the TT, two years ago. “I had a big crash here in 2009, at Black Hut on the mountain. During the Superstock race [a race of 1000cc-modified production road bikes], I felt really good and was going faster and faster, but I missed a braking point by a little bit. I couldn’t stop and I hit a wall. I broke my ankle, shoulder blade, ribs and had to go to hospital by helicopter,” says Yoshinari as he bursts out laughing. “I know it’s dangerous and I don’t come here thinking, ‘I’m not bothered if I live or die.’ People will die sooner or later. Life is short, you only get one life and I had the chance, so I grabbed it. My wife and daughter are not too happy I’m here, but it’s my life too. The achievement outweighs the risks.”
S i n c e 1 9 7 2 , Da i n e s e ha s b e e n c o m m i tt e d t o m a k i n g p e o p l e s a f e r . W e ta k e a l o o k A T what g o e s o n b e h i n d th e s c e n e s at th e i r b a s e i n V i c e n z a , Ita ly.
Words ED ANDREWS
PHOTOGRAPHY RICHIE HOPSON
T he V isionar y
f o u n d e r a n d p r e s i d e n t L i n o Da i n e s e s ta r t e d th e c o m pa n y i n 1 9 7 2 .
01 A signed photo from astronaut Michael J. Massimino. Dainese is working with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston and NASA to develop a new type of space suit for a manned mission to Mars planned for 2030.
Daineseâ€™s headquarters in Vicenza, Italy. The instantly recognisable black cube houses Daineseâ€™s â‚Ź17m distribution warehouse. Every Dainese product that is on sale goes through this state-of-the-art automated system.
03 Prototype AGV helmet shells sitting in the research and development facility in Molvena just outside of Vicenza. It takes two years of research, development and testing before these helmets reach the market.
Valentino Rossi’s suit is handmade especially for each race. Each one features his trademark yellow, the number 46 and his nickname, ‘The Doctor’. All of his suits are made out of kangaroo leather to offer both great protection and a soft-to-the-touch feel. Nothing but the best for the number one.
05 Designer David Sheridan in Dainese’s research and development facility. It takes on average six months to bring a product to market, from initial sketches to the final design. This process ensures that each product is the best it can be.
The suit room in the research and development facility in Molvena. This room smells of rich leather and houses a complete archive of Dainese’s race suits and jackets, including those used by racing legends such as Marco Lucchinelli, Kenny Roberts and Barry Sheene.
07 Despite their tough leather and titanium plates, Dainese’s race suits take some punishment when keeping riders safe in an accident. Each scrape tells its own story, but more importantly, they help the rider live to tell their story too.
08 Inspired by humans. Physiology and ergonomics are at the forefront of Dainese’s work, helping to make products that work in harmony with the wearer.
Dainese’s wall of accomplishments charts the pioneering events in the company’s history. For example: in 1978, Dainese collaborated with Barry Sheene to produce the first composite back protectors; in 1981, Dainese adapted to new styles of riding and made the first ‘porcupine’ knee-sliders, which allow plastic cushions to emerge when the knee is flexed; in 1995, Dainese was asked to develop protection for sports outside of motorcycling, including mountain biking, skiing and snowboarding; and in 2000, Dainese presented D-Air, a new airbag protection system for motorcyclists.
This machine heats up allowing the designer to mould the perfect glove
DA I N E S E PA RT N E R W I T H T H E I N T E R N AT I O N A L S K I F E D E R AT I O N TO MAKE THE WORLD OF ALPINE SKIING SAFER FOR ALL
Every season, alpine skiers go faster and faster. But as world records are smashed and humans push their bodies to new levels, the threat of serious injury also increases. That’s why Dainese has teamed up with the International Ski Federation (FIS) to develop new ways of protecting athletes. With their D-Air airbag technology – a shock-absorbing system in which an airbag inflates during an accident to reduce the risk of injury – Dainese and FIS hope to help make athletes more resistant to the forces of nature, allowing them to ski faster and more safely than ever before. “FIS understood that there are several problems if an athlete injures themselves in a crash,” says Vittorio Cafaggi, the Strategic Development Manager at Dainese who is working closely with the regulatory body on the project. “First of all, the athlete is hurt. Secondly, the FIS World Cup can be badly affected by the loss of an important athlete. Also, in all sports, there’s a feeling that there should be more research and development to improve safety.” With FIS looking to improve safety in skiing, and Dainese looking to develop their pioneering D-Air technology in a new sport, FIS met with Dainese in 2009 to discuss the project. Dainese presented their D-Air Racing motorcycle system to the FIS conference in Zurich in 2009 and everybody agreed that it was a great idea for the future of skiing safety. The next year, Dainese and FIS launched a three-year research project –
working closely with many professional FIS skiers to create the best system possible and, most importantly to make skiing safer. The development of the D-Air ski system has two parts. The first part is to collect data from ski racers in order to understand the movements involved in accidents. This is very important as the deployment of the airbag is based on complex mathematical algorithms that can tell the difference between normal skiing movements and the movements in an accident. “The line between normal movement and an accident is very thin in skiing, even more than in motorcycling,” says Cafaggi. “The airbag should only inflate when it’s clear an accident is happening: when they are tumbling, flying upside down or horizontally and the athlete cannot recover.” The second part of the project is to design a whole new protector. The airbag must be shaped so it can protect the athletes’ shoulders and collarbone and limit the movement of the neck, but also fit within the helmet. “We have followed the philosophy of designing from head to toe,” explains Cafaggi. “You shouldn’t only design one piece of the system, but all the pieces that relate to it.” Dainese will continue their testing for the new winter season in October 2011, recording data from over 100 race accidents. The goal is to have a fully-working prototype available for athletes at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics. Thanks to Dainese and FIS, the future of ski racing should be safer than ever
WORDS ED ANDREWS
Dainese Presents: Speed 08 Va l e n t i n o
R o ss i
N u m e r o Un o
16 Ar c a n g e l o S a ss o l i n o Monumental force
K a r i m
18 A m o u r
20 Av a l a n c h e s W H ITE T H U N DER
22 M a r t i n
G u y
30 t i m e s ?
Fa s t
speed is relative
32 S p e e d I c o n s Pioneers of Movement
38 i n Z e r m at t
W I N TER F a s h i o n
M a r i a
54 H Ă– F L - R i e s c h
Sp e e d Q u e e n
56 J e rr y
Th e B o n d
58 M o u n ta i n o f
H e l l
the Rugged Race
68 P e rs p e c t i v e s
Views from the Isle of Man
B e h i n d
74 D a i n e s e
From Vicenza with Love
80 D - A i r S k i Th e F u t u r e o f P r o t e c t i o n
Ed A n d r e w s
G a r y I n m a n , Sh e ll e y J o n e s , Andrea Kurland
Th e Chu r c h of L o n do n 71a Leonard Street L o n do n EC 2 A 4 Q S , uk
S O RRE L NE U SS editorial
Jon Harris creative
Ro b L o n g w o r t h designers
Angus MacPherson & Anna Dunn
S a m Ch r i s t m a s , K a r e n D e s j a r d i n , G r e g F u n n e ll , Y a n n G r o s s , R i c h i e H op s o n , Bl a k e J o r g e n s o n , Al e s s a n do D i L U L L o , Ch r i s t oph e M a r g o t , S a mm y M i n koff , C a r lo P e r a z z olo , C a m i ll a S t odd a r t , M a t W i ll i a m s
w w w . t h e c hu r c hoflo n do n . c om Th e a r t i c l e s a pp e a r i n g w i t h i n t h i s pu b l i c a t i o n r e fl e c t t h e op i n i o n s of t h e i r a u t ho r s a n d n o t n e c e s s a r i l y t ho s e of t h e pu b l i s h e r s o r e d i t o r i a l t e a m .
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Aksel lund svindAl â€” Winter Olympics Medallist
Product: action wave back Protector Since 1972, Dainese has designed human body protection to push dynamic sport to the limits. That means 40 years dedicated to professional exploration and technological innovation, to provide maximum safety and total freedom. Dainese apply their expertise to the exhilarating world of Winter Sports that demands freedom of movement and safety assurance to achieve individual expression on the edge. The Dainese Mission: Ultimate human body protection for all dynamic sport.
First issue of Dainese Magazine (winter 11/12): "Speed".