Meet the rider who has been racing the Isle of Man TT course for over 40 years

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Oxfordshire born road racer Dave Madsen-Mygdal has further cemented his record of having the most starts in the history of the Isle of Man TT, lining up for what’s believed to be his 150th and 151st taps on the shoulder at the year’s two-week event.

The 68-year-old rider, who now lives in Douglas on the island, made his TT debut in the 1985 Junior race aboard a Yamaha, finishing 28th overall. He’s since raced in a variety of two-stroke, four-stroke, and electric classes, with a best finish of fourth place in the 2003 Lightweight 400 TT – continuing to compete on litre-capacity machinery up until 2018.

“My nerves aren’t that bad,” Madsen-Mygdal calmly told MCN, cigarette in hand. “The only time I’d feel nerves would be if you knew you were going to do well and you didn’t!

Dave Madsen-Mygdal at the 2024 Isle of Man TT races

“Here, because you start on your own, you haven’t got anybody to beat, and you can only go as fast as you want to,” he added. “As long as you’re happy you’ll go quick. And you’ve got to be happy, otherwise there’s no point.”

Mygdal made his Mountain Course debut in 1981 at the Manx Grand Prix and had been an accomplished national level club rider on the mainland prior to his TT debut. He was also previously the President of the TT Riders Association, who look after racers.

“Years ago you’d have gone out in the rain, but it wasn’t very safe,” Mygdal continued – speaking with MCN during a drizzly practice week. “I actually came off in the first Manx I did in morning practice, and it was foggy. I couldn’t come back in the ambulance until the road was open again.”

Dave Madsen-Mygdal stands with many of his Isle of Man TT trophies

Back in 2013, Mygdal became the first ever TT rider to complete 100 races around the 37.73-mile course. This has now climbed to 130 finishes, according to the team, following two successful outings in the Supertwin class aboard his Kawasaki Z650 in 2024.

“It would be nice to look after someone if they want to chip in – knowing we’ve got the infrastructure as a team, and that would be fun still,” he added, when asked about the future.

The next closest rider in the record books is 10-time winner Ian Lougher, who made 136 starts during his TT career. This is followed by Jim Hodson on 123.

Dave Madsen-Mygdal

“We are a family team and that’s what makes the difference,” Team Manager and close friend Richard Abbatt added. “Dave always says his own opinion, and you’re entitled to it!”

The 71-year-old has been coming to the Isle of Man TT races since 1968 and has been working alongside Dave for around 20 years. He’s been to every TT since his first, only missing his annual island trip when the racing was cancelled in 2001 due to foot and mouth disease, as well as the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

In recognition of Dave’s achievements, a pair of filmmakers on the island have also produced a documentary about his career, following him and his team from 2019 through to the 2022 TT races.

Faster Than Life film poster

Called ‘Faster than Life’, the 85 minute film was produced by Chip Gulland and Felipe Costa and is now nearing completion. A version of the film is available to view online behind a paywall – with the funds needed to pay for the final the colour grading and audio, before taking it out to film festivals.

“He’s a natural on camera,” Gulland told MCN. “Them trusting us with the story, that’s been a big part of it,” he continued. “We’ve tried to create it in a way that it’s not just for people who love bikes and the TT, but it’s accessible for anyone.” To watch the film, visit now.