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The TT Hiatus is over


The Island has geared itself up for the TT to recommence. For road users there are more temporary speed limits around the course to catch the inattentive out!! Already someone has been caught doing 110mph in a 50mph zone….oh dear!! For the first time in my memory petrol prices are actually cheaper on the Island than in the UK, a litre of unleaded costing £1 63.99p.


In Douglas there was a new big stage at ‘1886’ at the beginning of Loch Promenade. Performing there is a vast array of music talent form including Jessie J, Primal Scream, Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, James Bay and Madness. The traditional Bushy beer tent and music stage is in the Villa Marina gardens. 


The entertainment scene in Nobles Park, next to the grandstand, has massively increased in size with bands, films and live streaming of the qualifying and races being shown. There is of course the many clothing outlets of the Manx Motorsports enterprise to choose a t-shirt, jacket, fleece or a hat. The increased scale of the activities in and around the Grandstand is quite impressive. The major innovation is the live streaming from around the course but more about that later.


In a change from the traditional Saturday evening first practice TT 2022’s first qualifying session had been moved to Sunday. The course looked resplendent with banners having been put up all around the course and also Motul banners have been put on many of the lamp posts adding to the theatre. 


After reacquainting myself with my fellow marshals we closed the road at 12:30 pm and the whole circuit was locked down within a couple of minutes. It was a milestone for me, this being my 50th anniversary of marshalling at the TT. My 50th anniversary of marshalling on the Mountain Course would have been at the 2021 MGP but this was a victim of the Covid pandemic.


The Newcomers speed control lap was due to start at 13:30pm but was delayed until 13:50 due to the organisers moving marshals to cover all parts of the course. At the end of practice week in TT 2004 there was a press conference detailing the way forward for the TT and announcing the TT 2005 programme. At the end of the conference there was a Q&A session and I asked the then Clerk of the course, Neil Hansen, the following question: French newcomer Serge le Moal was sadly killed on first ever lap of the TT course at Braddan Bridge, he had been very fast and wide at Quarterbridge and failed to take the left hander at Braddan and collided with the oak tree. I simply asked in light of this tragedy would it not be safer for newcomers to be escorted on their first lap so that they could see the correct lines taken by a travelling marshall? The question was included in the Isle of Man Examiner’s report on the press conference and was introduced at the 2004 MGP. It not only happens on the TT course but also at the S100 where the newcomers get two sighting laps.

 Queuing up for scrutineering

Estelle LeBlond and dad Francoise after going through scrutineering

The star attraction of the 8 solo newcomers is BSB front runner Glen Irwin riding for the 

works Honda team. The other newcomers are Milo Ward, Ilja Caljouw, Jamie Cringle, 

Joseph Loughlin, Rennie Scaysbrook, Craig Sycypek and Jason Burrill. One hundred years ago at TT 1922 three of the newcomers were 10 times TT winner Stanley Woods, 4 times winner Wal Handley and the man who set the first 60, 70 and 80mph fastest laps Jimmie Simpson. Today’s newcomers have some legacy to follow. We can only hope that they do not do what Wal Handley did on his first lap, albeit in mist, and that was to head to Governors Bridge and not Bray Hill when he set off for his first lap!!


Richard ‘Milky’ Quayle, Ian Lougher and John Barton led the newcomers around on their first lap before they were let loose to go it alone. Rennie Scaysbrook, whose father rode in the TT between 1978 and 1984, had an electrical problem in the parc ferme and couldn’t go out with the others. It was finally solved and he was escorted round by ‘Milky’ near the end of the session. 


In the Superbike class Glen Irwin, Honda Racing UK Honda CBR100RR-R SP, was the fastest of the newcomers, lapping at 122.616mph, Milo Ward, TC Racing / DP Cold Planing Honda CBR1000RR-R SP,  was second at 116.575 and Dutchman Ilja Caljouw, Performance Racing Achterhoek Kawasaki ZX-10R, was third at 111.058mph. Joseph Loughlin, Team ILR / Mark Coverdale Yamaha YZF-R6 was fastest in the Supersport class at 114.992mph followed by Jamie Cringle with a lap of 109.845 mph on his AGR Motorsport / KPC Construction Honda CBR600RR. Joseph Loughlin, Team ILR / Mark Coverdale Paton S1-R, was fastest of the Supertwin newcomers at 113.361mph and Craig Sycypek, Pure Beauty by Tate RJB Motorcycles Suzuki SV-S50, lapped at 99.493mph. Rennie Scaysbrook didn’t manage to set a time due to the lateness in going out and only having his escorted lap. That will count as a lap towards qualification.

 Glen Irwin setting the fastest newcomers lap

Although the highest number in the sidecars is #40 there are only 34 machines competing. Virtually the whole field was out for the uncontrolled lap with over 10 new passengers and 7 new drivers competing. The busiest man is Michael Russell, fresh from competing in the Pre-TT Classic he has entered all of the solo races as well as the sidecar race. Maria Costello is the only other competitor to be in the solo’s and the sidecar races, she is competing in the Supertwin class on a Mark Coverdale / Ram Safety Solutions 650 Paton.
The impressive Joseph Loughlin Team ILR / Mark Coverdale 650 Paton


Harry Payne was the fattest newcomer, he had previously been a passenger in the TT but not as a driver. He was an amazing third fastest with a lap of 110.364 on his DAO 1886 Yamaha LCR, he was only headed by Pete Founds / Jevan Walmsley and the Birchall brothers. Lee Crawford, Team ARC / Marin / SJH Bodyworks Suzuki LCR,  with experienced passenger Scott Hardie in the chair were second quickest with a lap of 104.010mph.

A star in the making Harry Payne and Scott Hardie DAO 1886 600cc LCR Yamaha


The father and son outfit of newcomers Shaun and Ben Chandler, White Rose Racing 600cc Baker Honda


The qualifying started at a quarter past two and Michael Rutter, Bathem Ales BMW M1000RR, had the honour of being first away. He was also the first to complete the lap with a speed of 121.111mph. Davy Todd, Milenco by Padgetts Motorcycles Honda CBR1000RR-R,  topped the Superbike chart at the end of the session at 127.492mph. Peter Hickman, Gas Monkey Garage by FHO Racing BMWM1000RR, was fastest in the  Superstock class with a lap of 126.490mph. Michael Dunlop, MD Racing Yamaha YZF-R6, headed the Supersport times with a lap of 124.103. Fresh from winning at the Pre TT Classic Jaime Coward, KTS Racing Powered by Steadplan Kawasaki Z650, maintained his form and was fastest in the Supertwins 117.573mph. Pete Founds and Jevan Walmsley, FHO Racing Honda LCR, headed the sidecars with a lap of 112.462mph.

Sixty years ago the first practice took place on Saturday 26th May in glorious early morning sunshine. In those days the TT was very much part of the FIM World Champions, today’s MotoGP races. Luigi Taveri’s Honda headed the Lightweight 125cc class at 84.21mph, Bob McIntyre, Honda, topped the Lightweight 250cc class at 97.68mph. Bob McIntyre said that the road surface at Ballacraine was ‘a wee rough’. All the riders complained that it was cold going over the mountain!! Twenty riders were out in the 125 class and completed 25 laps and just 12 riders were out in the 250cc class and they completed 20 laps.


The previous evening was the Marshal’s event at the Empress Hotel, the course was fully manned but there was no information about sore heads or the state of the marshals!!


Mike Hammonds