SHEFFIELD rider Karl Harris is no newcomer to a high-speed challenge.
Since he was a teenager, he has been tearing up Britain’s race tracks on his motorbike, gradually working his way up from club racing to prestigious World Superbikes.
Now, after a one-year hiatus, 32-year-old Karl is back on racing form.
And he is preparing to compete at the TT Races on the Isle of Man next month - the longest and most challenging motorcycle race in the world.
Karl, from Aston, said: “I’m really looking forward to it.
“The TT’s a big deal and that’s why I’m not doing British Superbikes this year. I want to focus on the TT.”
This year will be Karl’s debut TT and it won’t be easy. TT riders spend months, if not years, revising the various sections that span the course’s 37-and-three-quarter miles.
Speeds can soar from 30mph on the tight hairpins to 200mph on the long straights. Racing takes place on regular roads, which are closed to the public during practice week and race week.
And there is little room for error at the TT. A foot too wide on a racing line or an engine seizure can result in a rider crashing into a wall, house or lamp post.
But Karl - triple British Supersport Champion and British Superbike podium finisher - is aware of the dangers involved.
He said: “I know the risks, and there are some riders who ‘get their life in order’ before they go just in case something happens, but I’m not going to ride at 100 per cent at the TT - you can’t. It’s not like a short circuit. You have to ride within your limits on the Isle of Man.”
He admits his participation at the TT is nerve-wracking for his family.
“My wife and kids are staying at home and my mum’s not coming either,” he said. “I think mum’s a bit nervous - she says when you see your son going round on two wheels it’s scary - but she’s used to it because I’ve been racing since I was a kid.”
The TT Races run from May 28 to June 10 on the Isle of Man.