The 2018 Isle of Man TT is underway and Asphalt & Rubber has you covered to get up to date with some of the biggest names at the Isle of Man TT.
The road racing capital of the world is rarely called a paradise, but it is hard to look past that word when the sun shines on this 200 square miles of rock in the Irish Sea.
This week the sun is certainly shining, and practice week has already been one to remember. Lap records look set to be shattered as this past winter is banished from memory by the burning sun.
Honda Motor Europe just announced its road racing squad for the 2018 season, welcoming Ian Hutchinson and Lee Johnston to team. The duo should be a strong lineup for Honda, and it is fairly big news to see Hutchy with Big Red for next season.
The bigger news though is that today’s announcement leaves us asking what happened to John McGuinness, the 23-time race winner at the Isle of Man TT being absent from Honda’s racing announcement.
Missing the 2017 TT because of injuries he sustained at this year’s North West 200, doubt had been cast over McPint’s road racing future.
Always chasing the high-water mark left behind by 26-time TT race winner Joey Dunlop, McGuinness has to contend with a new generation of fast racers, his age and health, and a troublesome racing package in the Honda CBR1000RR SP2.
This leaves the question, are we just marking time before we hear a retirement announcement? Or, is something else afoot?
Ian Hutchinson might have a broken femur bone right now, but all-in-all he is a pretty lucky man. Crashing during the Senior TT at the 2017 Isle of Man TT, the 16-time TT race winner had a horrific off while coming over the mountain section of the famed road racing course.
It is suspected that Hutchinson suffered from a punctured front tire, which caused the crash. That revelation though probably does little to change the fact that Hutchinson will once again have to recover from a serious injury to his left leg.
Hutchinson is expected to fully heal from his broken femur, though one has to wonder if he can ever truly recover from this crash at the 27th Milestone. You will understand what we mean, after you watch the embedded video.
The final race of the 2017 Isle of Man TT, the Pokerstars Senior TT is the competition that every rider wants to win. The “Blue Ribbon” event of race week, the six-lap Senior TT is the crown jewel to the TT fortnight.
Once again, a TT race was framed around two riders: Ian Hutchinson and Michael Dunlop. Hutchinson came into the Senior TT with two race wins on his tally, one from the Superbike TT and one from the Superstock TT.
Riding on the BMW S1000RR, Hutchinson has a race-proven machine under him, and he has been riding in the form of his life. Contrast that with Michael Dunlop, who has been doing the donkey work in developing the new Suzuki GSX-R1000R as a formidable TT racing machine.
Dunlop comes into the Senior TT with only one win – earned during the Supersport TT Race 1 – with the jump to the GSX-R1000R still not panning out like he would have hoped.
With this in mind, we head into the Senior TT – a race, once again, defined by two riders.
Wednesday saw a full schedule of racing slated, with the 2017 Isle of Man TT looking to catch up on a week that had been plagued with adverse weather. First up, was the RL360 Quantum Superstock TT, where competitors race 1,000cc machines in near-stock form.
Just because there was racing, doesn’t mean that the weather was perfect though, with riders advised that there were cross winds at Crosby Hill, along with damp patches at Ginger Hall, the Ramsey Hairpin, and Hillberry.
Monday’s racing action at the 2017 Isle of Man TT saw the supersport machines taking to the Mountain Course, for the four laps of the Monster Energy Supersport TT Race 1. Despite the change in the machinery, the narrative remained focused on two men: Ian Hutchinson and Michael Dunlop.
With Hutchinson already taking the honors in the opening Superbike TT, the question remained whether Dunlop would respond on the 600cc machines – a class where he typically goes quite well around the TT course.
The was a resounding yes, with Michael Dunlop taking Race 1 of the Supersport TT in a convincing fashion, making this his 14th Isle of Man TT race victory.
Racing for the 2017 Isle of Man TT finally got underway on Sunday, with the RST Superbike TT (often called the “Junior TT” by regulars, in contrast to the final Senior TT of the fortnight) getting underway.
The race framed an important narrative for this year’s TT, pitting Ian Hutchinson and Michael Dunlop against each other.
With Hutchinson on the race-proven BMW S1000RR, the question marks go to Dunlop, as he campaigns this year’s big-bike races on the new Suzuki GSX-R1000R superbike. So far in the practice sessions, both riders have shown considerable pace.
Last year saw the Isle of Man TT distilled into a rivalry between Michael Dunlop and Ian Hutchinson. They arrive on the island this year to once again take center stage. The rivalry between Michael Dunlop and Ian Hutchinson defined last year’s TT, and that is because the duo shared the five wins between each other, but at times it seemed as though shared respect was in short supply. Last year with both riders using BMW machinery for the big bikes, and the Yamaha YZF-R6 in the supersport class, there was no where to hide at the end of races. It simply came down to preparation and execution, and last year the score was 3-2 in Hutchinson’s favor.
John McGuinness claimed his 46th TT podium, with a 3rd place in the Senior TT.
Ben & Tom Birchall at Signpost Corner, on their way to victory in the Sidecar TT Race 2.
Bruce Anstey at Braddan Bridge.
The Senior TT is the blue ribbon event at the Isle of Man TT – it’s the race that every rider wants to win. Don’t let the name fool you, the Senior TT isn’t for riders that are over the hill; in fact, it is the most hard-fought class at the Isle of Man.
Most of the machines on the Senior TT grid are the same as those found in the Superbike TT, but in years passed we have seen specialty bikes built just for the class’s looser set of rules. The last race of the Isle of Man TT fortnight, the Senior TT ends things with a supreme spectacle.
For 2016 though, riders and fans would have to wait a considerable amount of time before the Senior TT would kick off, with the the fog and mist delaying the day’s start considerably. Thankfully the weather gods eventually gave way, and racing commenced. And it was good.
Michael Dunlop had a new engine flown in by private jet, and was up till gone 4am on the morning of the race fitting the engine.
Ivan Lintin, the winner of the Lighweight TT, was spectacular over Ballaugh Bridge.
William Dunlop was 2nd in the TT Zero on the Victory.