Kiwi road racing legend Bruce Anstey doesn’t know how he’s still riding after battling two cancer diagnoses.
Anstey has 13 Isle of Man TT wins across an elaborate career on two wheels.
He made his competition debut at the Whanganui Cemetery Street race on boxing day in 1990.
Six years later, Anstey made his first race start at the hallowed Isle of Man TT Mountain Course.
His mother, Maureen, was born on the Isle of Man. So, the place has always appealed to Anstey since he was young.
But shortly after his debut, Anstey was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
At the time, doctors didn’t expect Anstey to return to competitive riding. Yet, he came back to the island circuit just two years later.
His determination to fight through the setback claimed the praise of the entire paddock.
He finished 20th that year in the senior class.
Anstey’s first Isle of Man win then came in 2002, and he won the North West 200 race that same year.
Yet, after several wins and lap records later, Anstey revealed in 2018 that he had multiple lung tumours and a tumour affecting his spine.
“I had cancer 25 years ago and it decided to come back in 2018,” Anstey told the BBC.
“I’ve been struggling with that, going through all the chemotherapy again. It’s been a bit of a slog.
“The doctors still don’t know if the cancer was the original one or the new one. They don’t know how I’m still here really. I’m a bit of a mystery to them.”
Once again, Anstey’s grit to not let the second wave of cancer sideline him from racing prevailed.
In 2019, he won the Classic TT in the 250cc class.
“I had a small operation in 2019 to get rid of the last of it and I’ve been clear since then although I am still having blood tests every three months.”
Unfortunately, the now 52-year-old may have ridden his last Isle of Man TT.
The world’s most dangerous race is becoming too demanding for Anstey.
However, he intends to return for the Classic TT as soon as next year.
“I don’t know if I’ll do the main TT again as I don’t think I’m strong enough to do six laps,” he said.
“But I want to get out in the Classic TT again. That’s my goal, and hopefully, that will happen in 2022.
“I’m just glad to be here and plan to get out there, enjoy life and have as much fun as possible.”