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Isle of Man TT

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A few days ago, we sat down with Peter Hickman to figure out what it takes to find the limit at the Isle of Man TT. Now today, we get up-close and personal on the machine he is campaigning in the Superbike and Senior TT races.

A 2020 BMW S1000RR, the race bike is put together by Smiths Racing BMW, with the hope that the German superbike’s supremacy on the Mountain Course continues with this next generation of the machine, and thus add to Hickman’s two-win tally at the Isle of Man TT.

As we can see from Steve’s photos though, this is not your ordinary BMW S1000RR…in fact, it is not your ordinary superbike.

David “Davo” Johnson is back at the TT, and the Australian keeps learning and keeps improving. The Honda rider has spent ten years keeping a lid on expectations, and he’s now keen to put his lessons to good use

The Isle of Man TT is sink or swim. Some riders take to it like a duck to water, and others realize that it is just not for them.

It is the most unique race on the motorcycle calendar. It is you against the track. It is you against the clock. It is you against yourself.

For David Johnson though, this year is different. He is a factory Honda rider for the first time, and the Australian is doing all he can to make sure that he keeps the pressure to a minimum.

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There is nothing quite like the Isle of Man TT. It is the most spectacular race on the motorsport calendar. The Senior TT is the Superbowl and Indy 500 combined. It is a national holiday where the race track takes center stage.

It is also one of the most dangerous races in the world. For every rider that swings their leg over their bikes at the TT, they know the risks and they accept them.

But what is it that makes a rider willing to take those risks? The “buzz” is obviously high on the list but another factor for some is a simple basic fact of life; they need to work.

Last year he broke the lap record and claimed the Senior TT, and while Peter Hickman might start this year’s TT as the firm favorite for overall honors, the 32-year-old faces the end of his career unless he was willing to race on the roads.

The Isle of Man TT is 37.75 miles of asphalt through small villages and beautiful Manx countryside - the goal is to complete it in under 17 minutes, and at an average speed of over 135mph. Any mistake can be your last.

This is the most spectacular race track in the world. This is the Isle of Man TT Mountain Course.

Learning your way around the Isle of Man TT course is a mammoth task though. There is literally too much going on for your brain to comprehend it.

When riders talk about the course they piece together section by section. Where are the bumps? Where are the traffic lights? Where are the road signs? Where are the painted kerbs?

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This year’s Pikes Peak International Hill Climb continues to get more interesting with each passing. First, there is the news that Ducati will show up with an unnamed “exhibition” bike with Carlin Dunne onboard, which very well could be a prototype for the widely anticipated Streetfighter V4 model.

And now, we get word that Michael Dunlop – one of the hottest riders at the Isle of Man TT races right now – will race to the clouds this year as well, riding on a 2019 model year BMW S1000R.

Dunlop will be joined on the Wunderlich MOTORSPORT powered by ProKASRO team by 2018’s rookie of the year (with a 10:21.932 run) Lucy Glöckner, both of who will be racing in the Heavyweight class at Pikes Peak.

Episode 80 of the Two Enthusiasts Podcast is out, and it is a lesson in how not to record a podcast, as the first 30 minutes of show were lost to some technical errors.

We recouped though, and the show is even more entertaining the second time around…maybe.

First, we talk about Quentin’s recent stint as an endurance racer, as he participated in a six-hour race at a local go-kart track.

After a lengthy discussion, we turn our attention to other racing events that happen to be going on, namely the MotoGP round at Mugello, the Isle of Man TT, and the Erzberg Rodeo.

The episode is a bit late to get out, so not all the racing news might be current, but we think it is still a pretty interesting show.

You can listen to the show via the embedded SoundCloud player, after the jump, or you can find the show on iTunes (please leave a review) or this RSS feed. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well. 

We hope you will join the conversation, and leave us some audio comments at our new email address: twoenthusiasts@gmail.com.

Amongst the top riders at the Isle of Man TT, victory or defeat can come in pit lane, as crucial time is either won or lost in front of the TT Grandstand on Glencrutchery Road.

But, a pit stop at the Isle of Man TT is not a straight-forward affair, and as such the top teams have choreographed a precise dance in order to extract the maximum performance under tight circumstances.

For TT riders, the biggest rate-limiter during a pit stop is fuel, and a good pit stop will see teams waiting for their fuel tanks to fill, rather than losing time on changing a rear tire, attending to the rider, or some other mechanical issue.

In the video attached to this post, we see Peter Hickman come into the pits, on his way to winning this year’s Senior TT – setting a course record of 135.452 mph along the way as well. It is an interesting insight into this often over-looked aspect of TT road racing.

If you ask the racers at the Isle of Man TT which of the nine races they would most like to win, the Senior TT is always the answer. They call it the “blue ribbon” event, and that is because it features the fastest bikes on the grid, racing over a grueling six laps – it also has the largest trophy.

With the TT fortnight acting like a crescendo to Friday’s race, the Senior TT is final cacophony of noise at the Isle of Man, and today’s race was the epitome of that notion.

Once again, the weather smiled upon this tiny island in the Irish Sea, as it has all fortnight. This not only meant a day for perfect racing, but it also meant that racers had two weeks of honing their craft and their machines for the Senior TT race.

Lap times were going to drop; records were going to be broken, and benchmarks were going to be set, which is exactly what you should expect from the Senior TT.

All this being said, I still had my reservations this morning about publishing a story where Dean Harrison said that a 135 mph lap time was a necessity if he wanted to win the Senior TT. Just a few years ago, 135 mph seemed unthinkable. Two weeks ago even, a 135 mph lap seemed too far away.

My apprehension seems to have been unnecessary though, but even that wasn’t immediately clear at the start of The Senior.

On Saturday during the RST Superbike race, Dean Harrison smashed the outright Isle of Man TT lap record with a 134.432 mph lap of Mountain Course.

It was the culmination of a long apprenticeship on the roads for the Bradford rider, and having claimed a second career TT victory this week, he'll be out to impress once again during the Senior TT on Friday.

Road racing is in his blood, his father Conrad is a sidecar race-winner, but for Dean the challenge has been to gain the experience to show what he can do on the 37-mile long circuit.

That experience has been taking place on the roads, at home studying videos, and racing in the British Superbike Championship to understand more about what it takes to reach the limit of his Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR.

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Senior Day dawns on the Isle of Man, and this national holiday is far from a day-off for the riders.

With six laps of the fearsome Mountain Course, the top riders will have just over 100 minutes to etch their names in the history books. The list of past winners is a who’s who of road racing, and brings to a close two weeks of helter skelter action at the road racing capital of the world.

Mike Hailwood and John McGuiness are the most successful riders in the history of the Senior, with seven wins apiece, but with only two active riders, Michael Dunlop and Ian Hutchinson, having claimed a win in the blue ribbon race, we could see a new victor added to the 45 names on the winners list.