Hat’s off to the Isle of Man. You’ve probably never heard of this tiny state, it’s more Nauru than Monaco but for two weeks every year the Isle of Man is to motorcycles what Monte Carlo is to gambling and I love stories of autonomous regions so let me share this one with you.

What does this have to do with Liberty? Well for history’s sake let’s point out that the tiny state lies between Ireland and England but has maintained a serious home rule so it isn’t just another small piece of England. They do use England for most, but not all, international relations (i.e. it is not part of the EU) but locally things tend to be run by the Manx (now you know where the Manx cat is from) people and it houses the oldest continually running government in the world. Small state, low number of people, fairly stable, low taxes, outsourced international affairs – you might think it sounds pretty nice, like sea-steading without buoyancy.

The key international draw is the Tourist Trophy which is two or four 60km timed laps around the island on regular roads at speeds up to 300km per hour. Oh yeah sidecars also compete! This type of racing could happen anywhere but not so – that’s why local autonomy is the highlight here. The Isle of Man being separate from it’s behemoth neighbors never quite banned street racing and to this day that aspect brings race crews and fans from around the globe as the route is closed to traffic during this unique event. Spectacular events pushing individuals to the edge and technology beyond it are rare but even rarer in heavy top down governments. The smaller the better – right down to the man or woman. Cheers to this unique race the riders who compete and the islanders hosting it.

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Like hundreds of areas around the globe there is a Manx movement pushing for ever more autonomy and I wish them the most luck with that! And for those more environmentally minded the TT does have zero emissions races to showcase that all racing is not driven by fumes.

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