The Isle of Man has played an important role in Dunlop’s 125 years of heritage. This island has become a pilgrimage for driving and riding enthusiasts alike thanks to its epic sweeping roads fit for one of the world’s most iconic motorsport events, the Isle of Man TT.
It’s fitting that with Dunlop’s success on the Isle of Man that it is the location for the last of our three dream drive blogs for Tyres On The Drive.
Closer to the Edge
Such a fearsome road needed an epic car to tackle it, welcome the Mercedes A45 AMG. The Autocar team were ready and raring to go when they landed on the Isle of Man, but there was one little problem, the mountain section of the TT course was closed. Thanks to the local council repainting the white lines and mending gutters our dream drive was nearly over. But after a couple of frantic calls to the local tourist board, the team were invited to meet Dave whose job it is to maintain the legendary 37.7 mile TT course. Thankfully Dave took a liking to the team and waved on their A45 AMG as it drove straight past the “road closed” signs. So in the end the team had the fastest section of the world’s fastest road-race track all to ourselves, all afternoon, give or take a few paint wagons along the way. Pure driving bliss.
Steve Sutcliff from Autocar continues our story. ‘What happened next I don’t think I’ll ever forget – because for five hours straight I drove the 355bhp A45 AMG, shod with Dunlop’s new Sport Maxx RT tyres, pretty much as fast as I could. From the legendary Joey’s corner (names after Mr TT himself, 26 time TT winner Joey Dunlop) at the 26 mile post, to the highest point on the mountain at Hailwood Rise (after Mike Hailwood, one of the greatest motorcycle racers of all time) at 31.5 miles, I had the road completely to myself.
In fact I even had to have a quiet word with myself on a couple of occasions. At one point I looked down and the speedo was reading 130 something and at the time a typical Isle of Man shower had come in for a few minutes before blowing away again just as fast. But that’s what happens when a) you’re a car nut, b) someone throws you the keys to a car as quick as the new A45, c) you find yourself on arguably the world’s scariest, most fantastic piece of road, and d) a man called Dave has said you can do pretty much whatever you want, within reason, as long as you “mind out for any ambulances that may be coming the other way.”
I made the most out of the empty road truth be told. But under the circumstances it seemed like an appropriate thing to do. The TT course and the mountain section specifically, is a spooky kind of road, one that goads you into driving – or riding in most cases – faster than you probably should. It is beguilingly insane, stomach sickeningly fast in places and – be in no doubt about this whatsoever – very, very dangerous if it goes wrong. It’s why even the world’s best bike racers have been known to ride down the mountain and into Douglas in tears, apparently, having stared so deep into the abyss.
I didn’t get quite that far, but on occasion I get close enough to the edge to make me think that maybe it might be time to quit while we’re ahead.’
Wow now that sounds like an amazing dream drive. It just goes to show that the A45 AMG is one heck of a car and luckily for the team one heck of a road to drive on. But ultimately isn’t that what the TTs all about – taking your chance and pushing hard.
Watch the video here.
– Written by Anna Stanley @ Dunlop www.dunloptyres.co.uk