TT2016

Road racing – fifteen things I’ve learnt about this year’s TT…

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1) The superbikes at Ballaugh are spectacular

2) Ballacrye is sooooo fast

3) Bruce Anstey’s RCV sounds mean

4) The Norton sounds better

5) The Suter smells so, so good…but the sound was slightly underwhelming. The Paton on the other hand sounded like victory

6) Cam Donald’s best days may be behind him

7) The Irish can spend all day talking to you about how flat and smooth the road surface is

8) It’s illegal to overtake in double whites on the Mountain, even when the traffic is one way. Sorry officer.

9) Graham Hill and Jimmy Hill are brothers. Possibly. Then again…

10) The peanut butter cheesecake at the Forge in Santon is to die for

11) NEVER try and do a Michael Jackson joke 

12) It takes three women to make tea at the WI in Ballaugh…Caroline pours it, Jennifer stirs, and Gladys adds the milk. Tastes mighty fine too 

13) Fastest I saw on the clocks on the Mountain was 143…and didn’t get overtaken either 

14) Johnny Foreigner still loves a random over (and under) take 

15) The flies seem bigger this year

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Road racing – Hutchy smashes 130mph lap during practice

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DAVE KNEEN/PACEMAKER PRESS, BELFAST: 31/05/2016: Ian Hutchinson (BMW – Tyco BMW) at Rhencullen during qualifying for the Monster Energy Isle of Man TT.

With glorious conditions once more all across the island, qualifying on Tuesday evening for the 2016 Isle of Man TT Races, went ahead promptly at 6.20pm and Ian Hutchinson recorded the first 130mph lap of the week with his fourth lap of the night stopping the clocks at 130.63mph.

Unlike the previous evening, the session was split into two with the Superbikes, Superstocks and Supersports away first before the latter were joined at 7.25pm by the Lightweights.  Michael Rutter and Steve Mercer, both Supebike mounted, led the field away followed by Dan Stewart and Bruce Anstey, also electing to go out on their Superbikes, the latter again on the RCV213S.

As expected, all the front runners were prominent with Ian Hutchinson in the third pairing away alongside Dean Harrison, while Peter Hickman, John McGuinness and Michael Dunlop weren’t far behind.

Hutchinson was quickest through the speed trap at 196.8mph and the Tyco BMW rider set the fastest opening lap at 129.120 although he was only slightly quicker than starting partner Harrison who lapped at 129.022. Anstey improved to 127.37 whilst Conor Cummins, Mercer, McGuinness and Hickman all broke the 127mph barrier

William Dunlop had stopped at Quaterbridge on his Superbike but returned to the paddock and rejoined the action on his Superstock bike while brother Michael also ran into trouble, pulling off the circuit before making his own way back to the Grandstand. However, the Ulsterman didn’t rejoin the session until 7.30pm on his Supersport bike.

Hutchinson switched to his Superstock BMW but Hickman, McGuinness, Cummins and James Hillier all went straight through and McGuinness went quickest at 129.62mph although he was only a fraction ahead of Hickman’s lap of 129.55. Cummins was also in the 129s whilst Mercer set his best ever lap of the Mountain Course, albeit unofficially, at 128.55.

Anstey improved again to 128.98mph while last year’s triple race winner Hutchinson went to the top of the Superstock leaderboard with a lap of 128.723mph. Meanwhile, newcomer Jochem van den Hoek from Holland was showing well with a lap in excess of 115mph.

Rutter then went second quickest in the Superstock class after lapping at 128.43 but a lot of attention was focussing on Anstey’s third lap on the RCV with his sector times showing he as on a flyer. However, he lost time coming down the Mountain and crossed the line at 128.85mph but Hutchinson had switched back to his Superbike with a lap of 129.5mph before saving the best until last with his 130.63mph lap.

At 7.25pm, it was the turn of the Lightweights to join the Supersports on course and TT Rider Liaison Officer John Barton was first to leave the line. Italian Stefano Bonetti was initially the quickest rider with his lap on the Paton being 114.611mph with last year’s Manx Grand Prix winner Rob Hodson not far behind at 113.545mph. However, there were all upstaged by last year’s race winner Ivan Lintin who went comfortably clear at the top of the pack after a lap of exactly 118mph.

Martin Jessopp went second quickest at 114.871mph with Bonetti’s opening lap seeing him hold onto third. James Hillier slotted into fourth (114.482) with Hodson (114.049) and James Cowton (113.444) completing the top six. Rutter did his first lap on the SGS International/KMR Kawasaki at 113.342mph.

In the Supersport class, Anstey was quickest with a speed of 124.51mph just ahead of Harrison and Hutchinson whilst Michael Dunlop got two laps in on his R6 Yamaha, the quickest of which was a fraction above 123mph.

Frank Gallagher (32nd) and Kamil Holan (Cruickshanks) both came off their machines in the session but both were reported as unhurt.

Road racing – Hutchy sets the pace

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DAVE KNEEN/PACEMAKER PRESS, BELFAST: 30/05/2016: Ian Hutchinson (BMW – Tyco BMW) at Gorse Lea during qualifying for Monster Energy Isle of Man TT.

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DAVE KNEEN/PACEMAKER PRESS, BELFAST: 30/05/2016: Bruce Anstey (Honda – Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Motorcycles) at Gorse Lea during qualifying for Monster Energy Isle of Man TT.

Monday night’s evening session at the 2016 Isle of Man TT races got underway promptly at 6.20pm with dry, sunny conditions all round the Mountain Course and the Bingley Bullet Ian Hutchinson continued his excellent form by setting the fastest time of the night with a speed of 129.964mph on the Tyco BMW, two seconds quicker than Michael Dunlop although the latter posted three laps over129mph.

However, one of the most impressive feats of the night came from Bruce Anstey who, after one sighting lap on his Valvoline Racing/Padgetts Honda Fireblade, switched to the hugely anticipated RCV213-V Honda MotoGP replica and recorded a speed of 127.071mph.

The evening saw the 1000cc machines take to the course for the first time and all of the leading competitors took advantage of the excellent conditions.  Anstey and Michael Rutter lead the field away down Glencrutchery Road followed by Hutchinson and Peter Hickman, Gary Johnson and James Hillier, Lee Johnston and Martin Jessopp, Dan Stewart and David Johnson and Dean Harrison and Cameron Donald, the latter the only rider to go out on his 600cc mount on the opening lap although the Australian was reported as an early retiree at Quarter Bridge.

First to complete a lap was Rutter at 125.152mph swiftly followed by Hutchinson (124.914), Hickman (122.324), Hillier (123.490), and Johnson (123.272). Harrison then went quickest at 125.404 but only for a short while as both Dunlop (127.395) and John McGuinness (126.285) went faster. Steve Mercer (124.881) and Ivan Lintin (123.823) were also going well on their Superstock machines.

Hutchinson, Hickman, Johnson, Dunlop and Harrison all pulled in as did Anstey who had a relatively slow lap at 117.828 but the Kiwi was soon back out, this time on the RCV213-V Moto GP replica machine. Ian Lougher was an early retirement on the Suter at Glen Darragh although the Welsh rider later completed a lap of 115.248 (19:38.571) on the two stroke Suter Racing machine.

McGuinness, Rutter, Hillier and Mercer had continued straight through for their second lap and Rutter was first to complete the lap at 127.031mph but McGuinness was faster, his speed of 128.871mph sending him to the top of the leaderboard. Hutchinson quickened his pace second time around to 126.470mph with Conor Cummins not far behind at 125.905mph.

As the session wore on, the majority riders swapped between their Superbike and Superstock machines and Dunlop’s fourth lap on his Superbike saw him lap at 129.497mph but Hutchinson went quicker at 129.96mph. Harrison jumped to the top of the leaderboard in the Superstock class at 128.044mph but Anstey was quickest through the speedtrap at 193.4mph on the RCV. With his second lap being a hugely impressive 127.071mph, he went quicker still on his third lap with a speed of 127.071 (17:48.916).

Harrison topped the Superstock class with a speed of 128.044 mph, followed by Dunlop (126.726), Hickman (125.725), McGuinness (125.574), Steve Mercer (124.881) and Daniel Hegarty (124.104).

Having had a lengthy session on Saturday evening, not many riders opted to take out their Supersport machines and Harrison was again quickest, as he had been in Saturday’s opening session, with 124.461mph followed by Lee Johnston, who completed his first laps having broken down on Saturday, with 122.067mph and Mercer at 122.067mph.

Meanwhile, the newcomers were also increasing their speeds steadily, Jochem van den Hoek lapping at 108.85mph, Alessandro Polita 108.831mph, Forrest Dunn 106.464mph and Mike Booth 105.135mph.

Karl Foster was reported to have sustained ankle and wrist injuries in an accident at the 32nd milestone and was taken by airmed to Nobles Hospital.

Road racing – Honda signs TT deal

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(Dave Kneen/Pacemaker Press) 14/4/2016: Isle of Man TT Travelling marshals will be provided with Honda bikes for the 2016 Isle of Man TT.

Honda is the new motorcycle partner for the 2016 Isle of Man TT Races, ammove which will see the manufacturer provide a fleet of CBR1000RR Fireblades to be used by the travelling marshals throughout qualifying and racing at the 2016 meeting.

Honda’s association with the Isle of Man TT Races can be traced back to 1954 when founder Soichiro Honda made his famous TT Races declaration ‘to participate in the TT races’ and to ‘pour in all of my energy and creative powers to win.’  The company made its first appearance in the 1959 TT Races, winning its first race in 1962.

Honda has the most race wins by a manufacturer with over 250 victories, the most recent of which was the closing race of the 2016 Isle of Man TT Races, the Senior TT, when John McGuinness clinched his 23rd TT race win, breaking the outright lap record in the process.

Travelling Marshals were first used in the 1935 TT Races. The marshals are positioned around the 37¾ mile course and are able to provide a rapid response to any incidents. All of the bikes carry medical equipment that can assist in managing a casualty. They also carry out duties such as course inspection, observe machines on the course for visible faults and review and report any course incidents.

The Travelling Marshals have previous race experience of the Mountain Course, having competed in either the TT or the Manx Grand Prix. The current team has eight Manx Grand Prix wins and a TT podium between them and all of them are first aid trained to a high level and play a vital role in the Isle of Man TT races safety programme, which relies on fast responses.

 

Road racing – Cam Donald returns to Wilson Craig for TT assault

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Two time TT winner Cameron Donald has rejoined Wilson Craig Racing for the 2016 road racing season.

His move back to the team he competed for between 2011 and 2013 marks the end of his disappointing two-year campaign with Norton.

The hard charging Donald, who has ten TT podiums to his name, was delighted with the move. He said: “I’ve signed with Wilson again to race at the front of the Superbike field. He’s always prepared great bikes for me and I’m really comfortable with the team and see Wilson as a friend.

“I know that I can still win races on the Isle of Man and riding for Wilson Craig Racing will give me every chance to have a go for the top spot in the big bike class as well as the other races.”

Wilson Craig Racing team owner, Wilson Craig, was equally confident the move would see his team fighting for honours. He said: “It’s no secret that I’ve always wanted to win a Superbike Race at the Isle of Man TT and with Cameron Donald we’ve undoubtedly got a chance to win one.

“We’ve got a real affinity with Cameron and he’s always been consistently challenging in every class when he’s raced for us.”

The move will see Donald back on Honda machinery in the Superbike, Superstock, Supersport and Senior races.

Donald has languished in the midfield during his time at Norton, but there’s no mistaking he has the pace to run at the front, having won the 2008 Superbike and Superstock TT races, as well as being the first man to break the 131mph lap time, albeit unofficially, during practice week at the TT in 2009, he became the first rider to lap in excess of 131 mph.

Road racing – fastest ever line up for TT Superbike races

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PACEMAKER, BELFAST, 7/6/2015: John McGuinness leads the Superbike race off the line on the Glencrutchery Road today on his Honda Racing Fireblade. PICTURE BY STEPHEN DAVISON

This year’s TT races promises to see some of the fastest racing in the competition’s history, with the top 20 seeded riders all having lapped comfortably over 127mph.

Honda Racing’s John McGuinness is again the man leading the field away with the number one plate. The 23-time TT race winner has re-established himself as the ‘King of the Mountain’ with last year’s stunning Senior TT victory and new outright lap record of 132.701mph (17:03.567).

He will be followed by the flying Kiwi Bruce Anstey, the rider who with the exception of 2010, when he started at number one, has had the number five plate every year since 2004.

James Hillier, one of last year’s stars, moves back a place to number three on the Quattro Plant Muc-Off Kawasaki, while there’s also change at four with last year’s triple race winner Ian Hutchinson moving up the order from his 2015 starting position. The Bingley Bullet has switched to the Tyco BMW for 2016 and takes over the number that he had in 2010 when he won five races from five starts.

Ten seconds behind him is another of last year’s revelations and another potential race winner in the shape of Peter Hickman. The eighth fastest rider of all time will line up on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki and has the ideal target in front of him in Hutchinson, although he could well be occupied with the rider starting behind him – Michael Dunlop.

After a problematical 2015 TT campaign, Dunlop is back at the start number that saw him claim a hat-trick of 1000cc wins in both 2013 and 2014 and he will be hoping that it proves to be a lucky six.

Previous two time Supersport TT Race winner Gary Johnson will again have the number seven plate, this time on the Penz13.com BMW, and will be followed down Glencrutchery Road by William Dunlop (CD Racing Yamaha) and the evergreen Michael Rutter (Bathams/SMT Racing BMW). As in previous years, Manxman Conor Cummins completes the top ten on the second Honda Racing machine.

Just behind the popular Manxman will be Cameron Donald, who will be number 11 on the road. The Australian took second in the Superbike race for three successive years between 2011-2013 and the Adelaide based rider will again look to be back up at the front of the field on his return to Wilson Craig Racing.

Silicone Engineering is a new team among the seeded outfits in the number 12 spot but it’s familiar territory for rider Dean Harrison who starts one position ahead of Lee Johnston on board the East Coast Construction BMW. Dan Kneen on the Mar-Train Racing Yamaha starts ten seconds later with Australian ace David Johnson completing the top 15 on the factory Norton.

Going off at 16 will be Ryan Farquhar, who rides the second Tyco BMW. Dan Stewart (Wilcock Consulting Honda), Martin Jessopp (Riders Motorcycles BMW), Steve Mercer (Jackson Racing Honda) and last year’s Bennetts Lightweight TT winner Ivan Lintin who’s amongst the Superbike seeds for the first time on the Devitt RC Express Racing Kawasaki, complete the top twenty.

Road racing – Arai launch new limited edition TT lid

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One of the highlights in the Arai range is undoubtedly the introduction of the new limited Isle of Man TT Races helmet, and the helmet manufacturer has just launched this year;s limited edition TT lid.

As a result of Arai’s exclusive license and official partnership, Arai is the only helmet that carries the world famous official TT logo as part of the helmet design and once again worked his magic.

As well as the famous three-legged symbol (the ‘’Triskelion’’), the words ‘’Ellan Vannin’’ which is the Manx-language name of the Isle of Man have been used on every design, and these features once again these form an integral part of this new 2016 design.

The very first Isle of Man TT 2016 helmets will be available in the Arai village on the first TT practice day on Saturday 28 May from the Arai service centre in the Isle of Man TT paddock. From then on, the Arai Isle of Man TT 2016 Limited Edition will be available through all European Arai dealers.