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Isle of Man TT

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The Lightweight TT each year proves itself to be one of the most popular classes at the Isle of Man TT. Originally conceived as a three-lap race, where pit stop strategy added to the intrigue, the “junior” class is now a four-lap affair.

Designed to be a proving ground for younger riders, now we see the big names in the class as well, with Ian Hutchinson, Michael Dunlop, Peter Hickman and others testing their mettle on the 650cc twin-cylinder bikes.

The final race on Wednesday, TT fans were treated to a strong race, which had several lead changes, and plenty of lap records.

After two years of stagnation, 2018 was do or die for the TT Zero electric race in terms of forward progress. Before the race even started, the race saw some drama, with Team Mugen’s three-bike strategy having to be rethinked due to news from John McGuinness and Bruce Anstey.

As such, Mugen ultimately would field a two-man team, with Michael Rutter and Lee Johnston on the helm of the Mugen Shinden Nana.

In total, only seven entries would lineup on Glencrutchery road for the TT Zero race, with all eyes wondering if we would finally see a 120 mph lap from the electric bikes.

The sign at the starting line said “conditions excellent” as the Isle of Man provided another perfect arena for motorcycle racing, as Race 2 of the Supersport TT got underway.

With Michael Dunlop setting a 129 mph lap during Race 1, conversations already started about whether we would see a 130 mph lap from the supersport machines, an almost crazy average lap speed to consider from the 600cc machines.

While we wouldn’t see the record books change that entry today, we did see an eventful Supersport TT Race 2 at the Isle of Man TT.

After a thrilling start to race week, today’s action has a lot to live up to. Wednesday’s lineup will offer nine laps of racing across the Supersport, Lightweight, and TT Zero classes.

The trio of Michael Dunlop, Peter Hickman, and Dean Harrison have dominated the week so far, and it’s almost certain that they will once again be the men to beat in the Superport class.

But in the Lightweight class, the likes of Ivan Lintin and a host of others will feel they can contend.

Peter Hickman and Josh Brookes are two riders who have proved that short circuit riders can still make the switch to the roads.

Twenty years ago the, top British short circuit riders were all racing on the roads. Whether you were an up and coming John McGuinness, or an established star like Michael Rutter, it was expected that you would join the list of short circuit racers that raced on the roads.

The practice was as old as factory contracts, and it was expected that if you wanted to have the best bikes in the British championships, you would race at the North West 200 and the Isle of Man TT.

That practice has slowly faded out, but in recent years the move has been made by some short circuit riders to return to the roads.

Josh Brookes and Peter Hickman have both shown exactly what short circuit riders can do on the roads, and with Hickman having won a series of international races, and Glenn Irwin's recent North West 200 victory, it's clear there are still some short circuit riders keen to test their nerves.

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It is a trite thing to talk about the weather, but when you are racing on an island where the weather can drastically change from day-to-day, the weatherman is one of the most popular people (or unpopular, depending on the prediction) during the TT fortnight.

Warm weather during the practice week is key too, as it allows riders to hone their setup, and unsurprisingly the more sunny days we have at the Isle of Man TT, the more records we see fall. 

Monday has been another sunny and warm day for the Isle of Man, and so we shouldn’t be too surprised to then see more records written in the history books – this time in Race 1 of the Supersport TT event.

With the sun shining at the Isle of Man TT, the Superstock TT go underway with the fire-breathing superbikes that feature treaded tires and near-showroom specs. That’s right, it’s the RL360 Superstock TT race.

The Superstock TT has been treading on Superbike TT territory for several seasons now, with not very much separating the two bike categories on the course. Chalk this up to the level that production superbikes have achieved, especially with electronics, and the diminish returns that come with horsepower.

With a Saturday’s Superbike TT race showing three big names – Dean Harrison, Peter Hickman, and Michael Dunlop – Monday’s Superstock TT race promised to be a good scrap. As it turned out, TT fans were not disappointed.

Episode 79 of the Two Enthusiasts Podcast is out, and in it we get a little dirty. Fresh from Eric Bostrom’s flat track school, Quentin tells us a story about sliding the rear wheel, which contrast Jensen’s dirt-bike crashing ways very nicely.

We then take a look at the new Honda CRF450L, which brings a street-legal 450cc dirt bike from a Japanese brand finally back to the US market. This also leads us into a conversation about the Erzberg Rodeo, which Alta Motors will contest in.

Racing is the topic of the day, with more talk about the Dakar Rally maybe moving back to Africa; the MotoGP Championship silly season showing just how silly it can get; and the start of the Isle of Man TT.

It’s a fun episode, with lots of side-stories. It might even make you hungry…hungry for more.

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

Having claimed his 16th Isle of Man TT victory on Saturday, Michael Dunlop will start as the firm favorite when the second day of solo racing begins on Monday.

The Northern Irishman led the way in Supersport and Superstock practice during practice week, and his confidence will be high when he takes to the start line on Glencrutchery Road for the Supersport race.

Riding a self prepared Honda CBR600RR, he comfortably led the way in practice with a 127mph-lap, but he’ll know that winning on Monday will be a much tougher task than his Superbike victory proved to be.