Road racing

Road racing: Michael Dunlop switches to Alpinestars for 2019 campaign

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Michael Dunlop is the third most successful rider in the Isle of Man TT’s long and illustrious history and has 18 victories so far to his name. The northern Irish racer is widely recognised as one of road racing’s most determined and tenacious competitors, and the 2019 campaign sees him join the Alpinestars line-up as he races between the hedges in a bid to add more silverware to his name.

Michael will wear Supertech R boots and recently visited the company’s Italian HQ in Italy to get measured. He said: “Alpinestars is the best company in the world in terms of producing protective rider equipment. For 2019 my plan was to make sure I have the best materials available to me, and that is why I’ve chosen Supertech R boots. I firmly believe these boots are a different level. I’ve spoken to fellow road racer John McGuinness and I know the company listens to feedback from its athletes, and then uses this feedback to improve its products. It’s a good demonstration of the company’s commitment to protection.”

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Road racing: Dunlop finally gets his hands on new BMW S1000RR

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Michael Dunlop has taken to the track for the first time on the all-new Tyco BMW S1000RR during a shakedown test at the Kirkistown Circuit in County Down, Northern Ireland.

The latest version of the German Superbike was unveiled at the 2018 EICMA motorcycle show in November, but Dunlop’s Tyco BMW team and Peter Hickman’s Smiths Racing BMW team only took delivery of their machines in the last month. Since then it’s been a race against time for the teams to get the bikes prepared and built to official Superbike specification.

Despite their best efforts, neither team had their bikes ready for the official British Superbike tests in Monteblanco, Spain or Portimao, Portugal last month and they were also forced to miss the final BSB test earlier this week at Silverstone.

The BMW has been the weapon of choice on the roads since Dunlop took a memorable Superbike, Superstock and Senior TT hat-trick riding for the Hawk BMW team in 2014. Since then, 11 of the 15 1000cc races around the TT Mountain Course have been won on the BMW S1000RR with Dunlop, Hickman and Ian Hutchinson each winning for the German manufacturer.

Road racing: TT 2019 Superbike start numbers announced

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The top twenty seeded riders for the 2019 Isle of Man TT Races are confirmed as follows
 No. 1    Conor Cummins Milenco by Padgetts Motorcycles Honda
 No. 2    Dean Harrison Silicone Engineering Kawasaki
 No. 3    John McGuinness Norton
 No. 4    Ian Hutchinson Honda Racing
 No. 5    James Hillier Quattro Plant Wicked Coatings Kawasaki
 No. 6    Michael Dunlop Tyco BMW
 No. 7    Gary Johnson RAF Kawasaki
 No. 8    Michael Rutter Batham’s Honda RCV
 No. 9    David Johnson Honda Racing
 No. 10  Peter Hickman Smith’s BMW
 No. 11  Lee Johnston Ashcourt Racing BMW
 No. 12  Derek McGee Doyne/McGee Racing Kawasaki
 No. 13  Sam West Cycle Store BMW
 No. 14  Phil Crowe Sheffpack BMW
 No. 15  Jamie Coward PreZ Racing Yamaha
 No. 16  Derek Sheils Burrows Engineering / Kelly Developments Suzuki
 No. 17  Shaun Anderson Anderson Racing Developments Suzuki
 No. 18  Davey Todd Penz13.com BMW
 No. 19  Daley Mathison Penz13.com BMW
 No. 20  Dominic Herbertson Davies Motorsport Kawasaki

Road racing: Arai unveils 2019 Limited Edition TT RX-7V

Arai’s Limited Edition TT Isle of Man RX-7V is the latest in the line of stunning, collectible helmets which began in 2007. Renowned designer Drudi Performance has ramped up the colour this year with fluorescent yellow set against black with the three legs of man, the famous triskelion, picked out in gunmetal on either side. Details include the TT logo on the chin bar and TT Limited Edition printed on the back, set below atmospheric black and white chequers.

For 2019, riders including Michael Dunlop, Ian Hutchinson, Conor Cummins, Davey Todd, Derek McGee, David Johnson and Lee Johnston will be racing on the roads i n the RX-7V.

The Arai RX-7V IoM TT 2019 edition will be available in the paddock at the Isle of Man TT races and thereafter at every authorized Arai dealer.

Road Racing: Dunlop stays with Tyco BMW for 2019 TT

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Fan favourite Michael Dunlop will return to the Isle of Man TT Races with Tyco BMW for 2019.

Dunlop added three more wins to his tally at TT 2018, riding a combination of Tyco machinery and his own MD Racing bikes, to take him to third place on the all-time winners board behind legends John McGuinness and Joey Dunlop.

Dunlop has his sights firmly fixed on adding to his impressive tally of silverware. He said: “We grabbed a Superbike TT win last year, which was a good start, and the goal this year will be to go after both the Superbike and Senior TT wins.”

Although the team and rider are remaining the same, one element of the mix will be changing as BMW introduce the new S1000RR.

Michael confirmed he was expecting to test the new superbike shortly. He said: “With the added improvements to the package and a second season with the same team, we should be in a good place to go after both the big wins on the Island.

 

Road racing: Johnson joins Honda Racing Team for 2019 season

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The Honda Racing Team has annoucned that David Johnson will line-up next to Ian Hutchinson on the roads for the 2019 road race season.

Hutchinson and Johnson will spearhead Honda’s charge on the roads at The International North West 200 and the Isle of Man TT, with both rider contesting the Superbike and Superstock 1000 classes aboard the CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2, with the team also preparing a CBR600RR Supersport machine for Hutchinson.

‘Davo’ made his debut at the TT in 2010 aboard Honda machinery where he claimed the accolade of fastest newcomer that year. The Australian has since racked up three 4th place finishes at the Mountain Course and was close to a podium last year in the Superbike race. His best result at the Ulster GP has been 3rd (2018) and 7th at the NW200.

Johnson said: I am really happy to join the Honda Racing Team for this season. Over the years they have been incredibly successful on the roads and won a lot at the TT; I feel that I will gel with the Fireblade, so I’m very excited to get started.”

Hutchinson continues with Honda after a valiant return last year, while recovering from injury. Displaying incredible drive and determination throughout 2018, the ‘Bingley Bullet’ is coming into the new road racing season with more bike time under his belt as he looks to return to winning form.

The Honda Racing team will now embark on a comprehensive testing programme before tackling the road circuits, starting with the North West 200 in May.

 

Road racing – William Dunlop dies after crash during practice at Skerries 100

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William Dunlop has died after a crash during practice for the Skerries 100 in County Dublin.

The 32-year-old rider from Ballymoney, County Antrim, was a member of the Dunlop dynasty of racing greats and a repeat winner of the North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix.

Dunlop enjoyed a distinguished career on Ireland’s national road racing scene, accumulating some 108 wins, including four victories at the North West 200 and seven at the Ulster Grand Prix since beginning his career in 2000.

A statement released by the the Skerries 100 organisers, said they “deeply regret” to announce he “passed away following injuries received in a tragic accident”.

“The Loughshinny Motorcycle Supporters Club extends their heartfelt sympathy to William Dunlop’s family and friends,” the statement added. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them at this very sad time.”

Following lengthy discussions with the family, their sponsors and few riders, the club has taken the decision to continue the Skerries 100 races, with he entire prize fund going William’s family.

It will be a non-champiuonship meeting which the club hopes everyone will consider a fitting tribute to William and his previous race performance and results at the Skerries 100.

Tragedy has struck the Dunlop family before; his father Robert died as a result of an accident at the North West 200 in 2008 and his uncle Joey was killed racing in Estonia in 2000.

 

Road racing – Manxman Dan Kneen dies in practice crash

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It’s been confirmed local rider Dan Kneen has died following a crash in Wednesday evening’s TT practice session.

The 30-year-old was involved in an incident at the Churchtown area of the course, which resulted in a tree catching fire and the session being red flagged.

Kneen had been in promising form in previous practices; not least on Tuesday evening when he was almost 2mph up on his previous best.

That came back in the 2017 Superstock race where he registered the one and only podium finish of his TT career.

He was third quickest on his Tyco BMW on Tuesday night with a 132.26mph lap.

The rest of Wednesday’s action was called off following the incident at Churchtown on Wednesday, with police later confirming the competitor involved was Kneen.

A statement from TT organisers read: “ACU Events Ltd regrets to confirm that Dan Kneen, 30, from Onchan in the Isle of Man died this evening following injuries sustained during the Superbike qualifying session on the Isle of Man.

“Dan had an accident at Churchtown on the first lap of the session and died at the scene of the incident.

“Dan made his mountain course debut at the Manx Grand Prix in 2008 and won an unprecedented three races – the Junior, the Newcomers C and the Ultra Lightweight MGP Races.

“He achieved his first TT podium in last year’s Superstock Race, finishing third in the Superstock TT Race. He has a fastest official lap of 130.347mph which he set in last year’s Superstock Race and recorded a lap of 132.258mph (17:06.994) in last night’s Superbike qualifying session.

“ACU Events Ltd wishes to pass on their deepest sympathy to Dan’s partner Leanne, his family and his many friends in the road racing community and beyond.”

 

Road racing – McGuinness suffers injury setback

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Roads racing ace John McGuinness has revealed that he has had a set-back in his recovery from the broken leg he sustained in an accident at last year’s North West 200.

The 23-time TT winner, who recently signed for Norton after years of racing for Honda, broke his right tibia and fibular last year when he was thrown from his Honda Fireblade at the North West 200 course following a problem with the machine’s ECU.

He had been making good progress in his recovery and was hoping to get his first ride on the Norton SG7 V4-RR this month, but he has revealed he’s suffered a ‘set-back’ – on Twitter he posted: “Not sure what to say, unfortunately my leg has had a bit of a set-back. Sorry I’ve not said sooner, I’ve just been trying to get my head around it all first. To say I’m gutted is an understatement.”

Road racing – Flying Kiwi to miss the 2018 season through illness

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Bruce Anstey is set to miss the 2018 road racing season as he battles illness, his partner has revealed.

The 48-year-old has ‘multiple tumours in his lungs and a tumour on his spine’ as well as a blood clot on the lung, meaning he is highly unlikely to take part in any form of racing this season as he focuses on recovery, but his long-term partner Anny Ramsey refuses to rule the flying Kiwi out of racing in 2018 altogether.

“Unfortunately, Brucey has become ill,” Ramsey posted on her Facebook page. “He has multiple tumours in his lungs, a tumour on his spine, and a blood clot on the lung just to kick him while he’s down.

“I doubt very much Bruce will see any racing this year, but we won’t rule that out lol! He is waiting for a treatment plan and should be starting it very soon. I will try to keep you all updated.”

Get well soon Bruce, wishing you a speedy recovery.