It has been a while since the last update, but not because interesting and surprising stuff has not been happening! Several of my favorite races have already taken place this year, so this update covers a lot of time and ground. Off we go.
The Isle of Man TT took place in June and as previously mentioned, it is one of the last great road races where speed and bravery combine in at least equal measure if not skewed toward bravery. Unfortunately, the race claimed yet another life to prove the point. In the end, Ian Hutchinson won the Solo battle on his Honda, with Michael Dunlop (also Honda) in second. The winning speeds averaged in excees of 126 MPH !! William Dunlop finished well down the order, but if there is a royal family of the TT, the Dunlops are it and deservedly so. Big cajones in that genetic line. Klaffenbock and Sayle won the sidecar TT on their Honda, so the big H cleaned up this year.
Switching to Formula One for a minute, the season is now half complete. Surprisingly, Lewis Hamilton leads the championship with team mate Button close on his heels, and the two Red Bull drivers Vettel and Webber chasing. The way the Red Bulls began the season, one would have expected a runaway points lead at this point, but a series of crazy and stupid events have relegated them to chasing McLaren. By the way, there are a couple of drivers who are simply driving the wheels off their cars this year IMHO. One is Lewis Hamilton who has earned every point with his driving (now if he could just stay off the pit radio!). The other is Michael Kubica in the Renault where the package is not optimal, but he is making it competitive. The biggest non-story is of course Michael Schumacher who continues to struggle in mid pack or worse, and who is consistently outperformed by his team mate.
Need another surprise ? Try Moto GP. Valentino Rossi and team mate Jorge Lorenzo were slogging it out in one of the best seasons ever, when Rossi does a high side in practice and breaks his leg. Lorenzo now seems to be running away with it, and the fans have been robbed of one of the great championship battles. In world superbike, Max Biaggi and the Aprilia are a fantastic combination so far, and he just won both races at Imola. Haslam is chasing not far behind. Troy Corser on the BMW lies in 7th as the bike improves enough to get pole and lead the race, but then fades.
Say you'd like more surprises? In the WRC, Sebastian Loeb continues to lead the championship by a healthy margin, but the surprise is his closest competition. It is not Mikko Hirvonen as most (including I) would have thought. No, it is the other Sebastian, Ogier from the Citroen Junior Team. He has been challenging for the lead on the last several rallies, and just beat Loeb in Portugal. Ford cannot be happy with another Citroen 1-2-3. Ken Block can't be happy either as he crashed out again.
Not enough surprises? Try an Audi 1-2 at Le Mans !! In true tortoise versus the hare fashion, the Audis prevailed over the pair of Peugeots which dominated the entire race. Bernhard, Rockenfeller, and Dumas rolled home first for Audi with a record distance covered. All four Peugeots retired during the race with two suffering engine failure 2 hours from the end, leaving the slow (relatively) and steady Audi to claim the day. In order to finish first, first you have to finish.