FIRST TIME AT THE TT
| TT 2010 - Reports from Simon Crellin in the TT Press Office, dateline 22/03/2010:
All the stars of 2009 are returning, more high calibre newcomers making their TT debut and a number of teams also making their Island bow ensuring that the strength in depth is as strong as ever. It's no exaggeration to say there are at least ten potential race winners in each solo class, all capable of lapping at the same pace, a sidecar grid again the best in the world whilst this year's solo entry sees no less than 11 former winners and 50 riders who have already lapped in excess of 120mph!
Heading the entry once more is the reigning King of the Mountain, John McGuinness and with 15 wins now to his name, the Morecambe rider has deservedly earned his status as a TT legend. As we have now become accustomed to, the now 37-year old will line up at number 2 in all of the five solo races, riding for HM Plant Honda in the two Superbike races and Padgetts for the Supersport and Royal London 360 Superstock Races. The outright lap record holder is still very much the man to beat and the one the rest of the field use as the benchmark for success.
Alongside McGuinness at HM Plant Honda once more is last year's Senior Race winner Steve Plater and he too continues with the same number as 2009, setting off at number 7. It's easy to forget that it was as recently as 2007 that the Lincolnshire rider made his TT debut but the double winner has certainly proved that he's now one of the best around the Mountain Course. The reigning British Supersport Champion will be in HM Plant colours for all bar the Supersport Races where he'll also be on board a Padgetts machine.
The Yorkshire motorcycle dealers will again be supporting Ian Hutchinson, a double winner in 2009 and ten times podium finisher in total. 'Hutchy' heads into the event well capable of winning any race from his number 4 starting position as does Guy Martin who continues at number 8. Now riding for Wilson Craig Racing but continuing with Honda machinery, could 2010 finally be the year the enigmatic 28-year old opens his account?
Leading the field away at number 1 will be Kiwi Bruce Anstey, the seven-times winner keen to put a disappointing 2009 season behind him whilst the same can also be said of team-mate Cameron Donald. The Australian, who stays at number 6 for 2010, lapped at more than 131mph in practice last year but 24 hours later his TT was over so there's plenty of unfinished business there too. Two more Suzuki riders in with a great chance of glory are Gary Johnson (AIM Racing) and Adrian Archibald (AMA Racing), the duo lining up at number 11 and 9 respectively.
Kawasaki have strong representation at TT2010 with Conor Cummins, at number 10, arguably their best chance of success on the McAdoo Racing machines but Ryan Farquhar (no12) and Ian Lougher (no3) can never be ruled out whilst James Hillier (no19) comes into his third year at the TT and is sure to be even closer to the front.
Michael Rutter (no15) will ensure the Italian's are well represented with his British Superbike Championship Ducati and although he recently split from the JMF/Millsport Yamaha team, Keith Amor is scheduled to go off at number 5 in all five races and, as providing he gets his plans finalised, he's yet another rider who can grace the podium.
Meanwhile, the Dunlop brothers both enjoyed a highly successful TT in 2009 with Michael, of course, claiming a superb victory in the second Supersport Race and, with strong machinery in all classes, he's going to be there or thereabouts in all of them. He lines up at no9 in the Supersport division and no14 in the larger capacity races. William also starts higher in the 600cc class, at number 14, with number 22 his number in the Superbike and Superstock Races.
Number 13 proved lucky for Dan Stewart 12 months ago as he claimed 6th in the Senior, his best ever position, and that's again his number for 2010 whilst fellow leading privateer Carl Rennie goes one place further back, in the 1000cc capacity races at least. Other notable numbers in the Superbike class include Dan Kneen (18), Olie Linsdell (30), Senior Manx GP winner Michael Russell (52) and James Edmeades (57) - Linsdell moves up to number 20 for the Supersport races. Leading newcomers include Stephen Thompson (50), Hudson Kennaugh (54), David Johnson (58), Dan Hegarty (62) and Kenny Gilbertson (70).
American stars Mark Miller and Jimmy Moore again spearhead the overseas challenge, starting at numbers 17 and 33 in the big bike races (Moore up to number 17 for the Supersport class) whilst a lot of eyes will fall upon German rider Rico Penzkofer and the BMW who goes at number 31, just ahead of Italian regular Stefano Bonetti. Luis Carreira is at 37 whilst an interesting entry has been received from former podium finisher and 500cc Grand Prix rider Peter Linden, the Swede riding Honda machinery in all five solo classes.
It's a similar story in the Formula 2 Sidecar class where the field contains no less than 3 World Champions and 9 crews who have lapped the Mountain Course in excess of 110mph. Arguably the man they all have to beat and the favourite for honours is again local hero Dave Molyneux although the 14-times winner has a double challenge with a new manufacturer and passenger on board, Kawasaki and Gary Partridge respectively. The pairing will go off at number 1, ten seconds ahead of the leading Suzuki-powered outfit, John Holden and Andrew Winkle getting their highest ever start number at 2 with the new pairing of Simon Neary and Paul Knapton, supported by 5-times winner and outright lap record holder Nick Crowe, at number 3.
Tim Reeves, another major contender for honours with passenger Dan Sayle, is the first World Champion to leave the line at number 4, just ahead of the second, Klaus Klaffenbock who is reunited with Christian Parzer. Reigning World Champions Ben and Tom Birchall come into their second year of TT competition and their debut performance is rewarded with a start number of 7 whilst Conrad Harrison/Kerry Williams (6), Roy Hanks/Dave Wells (8), Steve Coombes/Jamie Winn (9) and Gary Bryan/Mark Sayers (10) complete the first 10 in the field.
The returning Tony Elmer is at number 12 with Gary and Dan Knight, 4th in the 2009 World Championship, the first of the newcomers at 34.
Some teams have already announced their involvement in the clean emissions TT Zero race ahead of the end of March deadline. Defending champions Team Agni will be returning with two bikes, ridden by 2009 overall race winner Rob Barber and fastest female around the course Jenny Tinmouth.
The Isle of Man based team ManTTx Racing have also confirmed their participation. They recorded a time of 70.677 in the first qualifying lap in 2009 but overheated the motor during the race and were forced to retire. They return with rider James McBride who will be looking for better luck this year.
Also returning to compete is MotoCzysz, the motorcycle team founded by designer Michael Czysz. Their MotoCzysz E1pc electric motorcycle generated a huge amount of interest during the inaugural event in 2009 and was widely accepted as having a similar level of integration as a traditional race bike.
A new entrant in 2010 will be SERT (Swedish Electric Race Team). The team has been formed and is led by Lars "Lasse" Nilsson, a former motocross and road racing competitor. They have also brought popular former MGP and TT racer Mats Nilsson on board as the team TT liaison officer and have confirmed TT veteran Chris Palmer as their rider.
All the 2009 race winners: Left to right Michael Dunlop (Supersport 2) Ian Hutchinson (Supersport 1
& Superstock), Steve Plater (Senior and overall champion), Dave Molyneux (Sidecar 1), John McGuinness (Superbike), Rob Barber (TTXGP). (TT Press Office)
The recruitment of new talent has been one of the undoubted success stories in the Isle of Man TT's recent history with numerous recent newcomers going on to take wins and rostrums and this year will be no exception.
2010 sees a new group of newcomers, all intent on following in the footsteps of some of the stars of today and all of whom have tremendous road racing experience, particularly at British Championship level, and the majority of whom are under the age of 30 and keen to have an extensive TT career.
It's easy to forget that the likes of Guy Martin, Cameron Donald, Conor Cummins and Steve Plater made their Mountain Course debuts in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 respectively whilst that period has also seen Keith Amor and Gary Johnson tackle the famous 37 and ĺ mile Mountain Course for the first time. All of the afore named have taken podiums in a short space of time with Plater and Donald already double winners and Plater and Cummins are amongst just three riders to officially break the magical 130mph barrier.
It doesn't end there with James Hillier, William Dunlop, Mark Buckley and Ian Mackman all having recorded top ten finishes with Les Shand, Mark Miller and Jimmy Moore also impressing. Last year saw Steve Mercer and Ben Wylie both impress and sure to improve further in 2010 whilst the same can also be said of impressive European stars Luis Carreira, Michal Dokoupil and Rico Penzkofer.
South African rider Hudson Kennaugh is, arguably, the leading name on this year's list having finished runner-up in the 2008 British Supersport Championship and fifth in that year's World Championship round at Brands Hatch whilst Stephen Thompson has long been a leading contender at both the Macau Grand Prix and North West 200.
The Northern Ireland rider has also been a long time fixture in the British Superstock Championship and that's where Daniel Hegarty, Kenny Gilbertson and James Hurrell have all starred in recent years. The trio, all under the age of 25, have regularly featured in the top ten with Gilbertson having a podium finish beside his name and all three are exciting youngsters whose progress at the TT will be eagerly watched. Meanwhile, David Jones will be one of the youngest riders on the grid, the 21-year having finished in solid fifth place in last year's British Supersport Cup.
An interesting entry was received from Gary May, one of Britain's leading 250cc riders at the end of the 90's and MRO Champion as recently as 2006, the Berkshire rider having also excelled on four-stroke machinery in the last decade, whilst Irish Superbike Champion Brian McCormack finally gets to make his debut after being forced to miss out twelve months ago.
There's further overseas representation with Australian ace David Johnson, the Adelaide rider having commenced his UK career back in 2002 against Cal Crutchlow, Tom Sykes, Craig Jones and a certain Guy Martin in the Juniorstock Championship whilst recent years have seen him frequently picking up points in the formidable British Superbike Championship.
Swiss rider Herve Ganther, a former star of the European Superstock Championship, will be bringing his Honda Switzerland machines with him whilst Clinton Pienaar is one of South Africa's most highly respected, and successful, riders so it's clear to see the lure of the TT is continuing to reach all corners of the globe.
There are also a number of newcomers in the Formula 2 Sidecar class led by highly experienced British driver Gary Knight who finished 4th in last year's World Championship with son Dan in the chair. Austrian driver Michael Grambuller brings further World Championship experience to the grid with young Yorkshire driver Carl Fenwick also expected to shine. Meanwhile, Dean Lindley, Nigel Mayers, Matthew Dix, Nicholas Dukes and Richard Lumley all have experience at British Championship level and/or at the Southern 100 and Scarborough.
Newcomers (L-R) Hudson Kennaugh, Dave Johnson, Stephen Thompson at the launch
of TT2010 in Douglas, Isle of Man (TT Press Office)
Isle of Man TT legend Molyneux set sights on Kawasaki sidecar victory
With 14 TT wins under his belt and 22 podium visits in all sidecar ace Dave Molyneux has announced that he and new passenger, Gary Partridge, will be the official Kawasaki Sidecar entry at the 2010 Isle of Man TT Races.
The 46 year old Manxman Molyneux, who has won 14 TTís and is currently level in third place with legend Mike Hailwood on the all time TT winners list, is feeling confident that he can add to the total in 2010
Moto2 GP bike set for sensational Isle of Man TT debut
Olie Linsdell teams up with FTR to bring state of the art prototype machine to the TT
The Isle of Man TT Races are again proving their worldwide importance and value to the motorcycling world with the sensational news that one of the all-new Moto2 GP bikes will be contesting the Senior TT. The 600cc bikes have replaced the two-stroke 250cc machines at GP level and the 2010 TT will be the first place that race fans will see the bike being raced in the British Isles.
British chassis manufacturers FTR will be supplying the Honda-engined machine. It will be a similar spec to that being ridden in the Grands Prix by riders including former 125cc World Champion Gabor Talmacsi and GP winners Alex Debon and Andrea Iannone. British rider Graeme Gowland has also had considerable success on the machine when he raced in the Spanish Championship at the end of 2009.
Bedfordshire based Olie Linsdell will be riding the special GP bike, which should be able to mirror the speeds of the Supersport bikes. Olie will be following in his fatherís footsteps in riding a revolutionary machine on the Mountain Course. Steve Linsdell was the last man to ride a GP bike in a Senior TT when he rode the 500cc Paton in 2007 and he has also ridden bikes like the GTS1000 Yamaha and Triumph Saxon at a high level
JENNY TINMOUTH RETURNS