Book review: The Racer’s Edge: Memories of an Isle of Man TT Legend by Dave Molyneux with Matthew Richardson

For 31 years, Dave Molyneux has dominated thrilling sidecar racing at the famous TT events in the Isle of Man ... but his love affair with the sport began at the tender age of just two.

Wednesday, 13th July 2011, 7:00 am

‘I was in it, with it and loved it straightaway,’ says 47-year-old Manx- born Molyneux in a new autobiography which charts the compelling inside story of a career packed with victories, defeats and the inevitable accidents.

The 37 and three-quarter mile TT Circuit is widely recognised as the toughest mountain racing venue in the world and if a motorcycle can survive its rigours, it can survive anywhere.

The tough challenges – a course lined with trees, telegraph poles, stone walls and houses – leave only narrow margins for error and they certainly sort out the men from the boys.

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The sidecar branch of motorcycle racing (in which the rider usually adopts a kneeling rather than sitting position) is in many ways unique and, in terms of sheer spectacle, there is little to compete with it.

Molyneux is one of the most controversial, prolific and determined sidecar racers in British history. Mainly through his own perseverance and dedication, he has dominated the sport with an exceptional tally of

14 wins.

Along the way, his outspoken views have sometimes made him unpopular in the paddock and his need to achieve total concentration before a race has earned him the nickname ‘Moody Molly.’

But, an accomplished engineer as well as racer, he is still the most successful ever Manx competitor and ranks alongside other greats like Mike Hailwood, Joey Dunlop and John McGuinness.

Molyneux has competed in British and European championships and Grand Prix and holds the race record for the Sidecar TT at 58 minutes 59.28 seconds, an average race speed of 115.132mph over three laps, achieved in 2009.

As well as dominating the event as a competitor, he has also established an exceptional reputation as a sidecar designer and constructor and as a sometimes forthright commentator on the sport.

A complex character, Molyneux’s outlook on life and racing has been coloured by personal tragedies and a serious high-speed crash in the summer of 2006.

His machine was burned out in the catastrophic accident and Molyneux announced from his hospital bed that he had decided to abandon racing.

One year later, he bounced back and, in front of one of the biggest crowds the Isle of Man had seen in a quarter of a century, he won both of the sidecar races.

Full of race history, anecdotes and photographs, this is a fascinating and revealing account of a man who has always loved to live on the edge.

(Wharncliffe Books, hardback, £19.99)