WHEELIE IN­SANE

It looked im­pos­si­ble at times, Dougie danc­ing all over his tri­als bike like a man try­ing to wres­tle a goat to the floor as the wind buf­feted him re­lent­lessly over the Moun­tain. But the tri­als leg­end grit­ted his teeth, dug deep and de­liv­ered one of the mos

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Oli Rushby

Tri­als hero Dougie Lamp­kin made his­tory last Sun­day when he be­came the first man to wheelie the en­tire Isle of Man TT Moun­tain Course. Lamp­kin set off down Bray Hill shortly af­ter 5pm to nav­i­gate the gru­elling 37.73-mile Snae­fell cir­cuit on the back wheel of his mod­i­fied Ver­tigo Ice Hell 300 tri­als bike, be­fore rolling back down Glen­crutch­ery road to suc­cess­fully com­plete his at­tempt just over an hour and a half later.

The Isle of Man’s no­to­ri­ous mi­cro­cli­mate had nearly put an end to the York­shire­man’s at­tempt, with high winds over the moun­tain sec­tion forc­ing Lamp­kin and his team to post­pone from Satur­day evening to Sun­day, when calmer – but far from per­fect – con­di­tions paved the way for the in­cred­i­ble feat.

“I’d say this has been as hard as pre­par­ing for a fi­nal round of the world cham­pi­onship,” Lamp­kin told MCN af­ter step­ping off the bike. “I’ve worked for seven months to make this hap­pen and when it comes down to it you have to make it work on that one at­tempt.”

Lamp­kin ad­mits he might have un­der­es­ti­mated just how hard it would be, and came very close to throw­ing the towel in on the project in June af­ter strug­gling to keep his front wheel up for much more than a mile.

“On June 3 this year the fur­thest I’d wheel­ied was 1.3 miles. I was in mas­sive trou­ble and just wanted to call it off, but ap­par­ently that wasn’t hap­pen­ing! I had to pull my­self to­gether with my team and we got the job sorted. A lot of the ef­fort came in work­ing on the bike – we worked hard on it for what was prob­a­bly months to get where we needed to be.”

In or­der to make the at­tempt pos­si­ble, Lamp­kin’s team at­tached foot­pegs to the rear axle of his ma­chine to al­low him to stand up while on one wheel.

“There’s not a book you can look at to see what you need to do with the bike. That just added to the chal­lenge, we knew we’d have to mod­ify the bike but we had to fig­ure out ex­actly how.”

The in­fa­mous TT course is renowned for be­ing the ul­ti­mate test for both man and ma­chine, and Red Bull statis­ti­cians gave Lamp­kin a 50/50 chance of suc­cess ahead of the at­tempt, fac­tor­ing in weather, me­chan­i­cal is­sues and po­ten­tial dis­trac­tions.

Some­thing else the 12-times world tri­als cham­pion had to con­tend with was that the 37.73-mile course wasn’t com­pletely closed. While he did have the buf­fer of a rolling road block, he also had a lot of traf­fic to con­tend with from both di­rec­tions.

“There are so many dif­fer­ent corners on this course and then you’ve got the bumps mean­ing there’s no rest any­where,” he said. “It’s the same for the road rac­ing guys, there is just so much go­ing on all of the time. But on top of that, we had traf­fic com­ing the other way! There were a cou­ple of is­sues with parked cars and a bus des­per­ate to pull out com­ing through Kirk Michael. All of those things are out of your con­trol so I just had to con­cen­trate on my job. But it made it more in­tense!”

Lamp­kin may have been the first to com­plete the feat, but he wasn’t the first to try – with stunt rider Dave Tay­lor first at­tempt­ing it on­board a Yamaha XT500 in the 1970s.

That, ladies and gen­tle­men, is the face of vic­tory – and of great re­lief

Un­du­lat­ing course – and on­com­ing traf­fic – made it harder than Dougie an­tic­i­pated

High winds on the moun­tain had dropped by Sun­day

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