Saturday 18 June 2011

Pushing the Envelope

To write or shoot for the big magazines, you need immense talent. For me, the UK magazines have always been the benchmark of great automotive journalism - Octane, Bike, Practical Classics, Evo, Classic Bike... They're a cut above the others.

You also need the big ideas - and the stones to carry them through. In the latest edition of Bike, writer Gary Inman and photographer Chippy Wood took current TT winner (and known full-on nutcase) Michael Dunlop to the Isle of Man with a new Norton 961 cafe racer to see if he could beat the legendary Geoff Duke's Senior-TT winning lap time. On an open public road.

Dunlop wasn't mucking around. Chippy Wood has stood in front of some of the fastest bikes in the world to get amazing mid-corner shots. During the shoot, Dunlop came around a car and through a stone-walled corner so close and so aggressively that Chippy jumped back off the wall in to the scrub.

In the end, despite having twice the capacity and twice the power of Duke's Norton Manx, Dunlop didn't beat the record. But at the Senior in '52, Geoff Duke didn't have to stop to wait for a tram to pass.

The article and photos are amazing. I'd love for Dan and I to do something so audacious, but I'd want a major magazine's legal team behind me first.


  1. I thought they'd run out of Dunlop brothers?
    Pommy mags seem to be the last ones not afraid of telling it how it is - threats of manufacturers removing their advertising and threats of litigation have turned american mags into little more than 116page advertising brochures... Then you get nutty challenges like this one... long live the British motoring press!

  2. This bloke is a nephew - There's basically an endless supply of Dunlops.

    I'm constantly surprised about some of the tests in UK mags - talking casually of how bikes or cars handle at a constant 100mph on the motorway etc. It's a wonder the coppers aren't outside the magazine's offices every Monday morning!