Five Races in One Day

For the first time ever we had five TT races in one day. A break in the weather gave the organisers a window of opportunity to race between Thursday morning and up until Friday lunchtime. Consulting with and taking consideration of the riders, teams and sponsors it was decided not cancel any races but to run the whole programme with reduced laps.

The road closed on time at 11:30 am and a one lap qualifying session took place for the Superbike / Superstock machines. This was followed by the second of the Monster Energy Supersport races, reduced to just two laps from the scheduled 4. The same three riders were on the podium at the end of the race, Peter Hickman (K2 Trooper Beer Triumph by Smiths) was on the top step with Dean Harrison (Silicone Engineering Kawasaki) to his right in second and James Hillier (Quattro Plant Wicked Coatings Kawasaki) in Third. Hickman's race average was 127.671 mph with a winning margin of 3.3 seconds.Hutchy's race was over by Quarterbridge on the first lap, his Honda Racing 600cc Honda expiring.

This is the only view Peter Hickman's rivals have seen this week so far

The two lap Locate IM Sidecar race began at 2 pm with the Birchall brothers (Haith / Live your Adventure LCR Honda) led the fied off the startline and lead throughout the race, this was seventh sidecar win in a row and a tenth in total. The brothers now equal Rob Fisher with ten wins a piece. John Holden and Lee Cain (Silicone Racing / Barnes Racing LCR Honda) again filled the runner up spot with Peter Founds and Jevan Walmsley (GLS Lift Services / Trustland Group Rowtec Suzuki) in third. This was John Holden twelfth consecutive podium position making him the most consistent podium finisher in TT history, moving above John McGuinness and Ian Hutchinson who are both have eleven. His previous results before his podium run was two fourth places in 2013, giving him fourteen consecutive top four places. This is true testament to the care taken in preparing his machines and is something he and his team should be rightly proud of.

Preparation is everything for the Birchalls

Next on the agenda at ten past three was the three lap RL360 Superstock race, this being held over three laps. The pit stop was required to be taken after the first lap, another first, in previous three lap races the riders / teams have made their own minds up when to pit. It was again a Hickman / Harrison contest with Peter Hickman again coming out on top, this time by a margin of just over 26 seconds. The Smiths Racing rider is imperious on the larger bikes, Dean and his Kawasaki will need to do something special in the Senior if he is to stand any chance of a win. The victory completed a hat trick of wins for the week; 58 years after Mike Hailwood first achieved this feat. I don't think anyone can deny either rider of their success, they are not only the current fastest riders on the course but also two of the most friendly and likeable, mixing with the fans and spending time with the kids who visit the paddock. The story of the race was not the battle for the top two places but that of third place between Michael Dunlop (MD Racing BMW) and Australian David Johnson (Honda Racing, Honda). Johnson pipped Dunlop by just 0.208 seconds after 113.2 miles of racing to the delight of the many antipodeans and of course Honda racing.

David Johnson thrilled with is Superstock third place.

The racing for the afternoon was over as the roads were required to be open on the lower parts of the course to allow the locals to get home from work. The roads closed again at 6 o'clock and the 2 lap (reduced from 4 laps) Bennetts Lightweight TT started 6:30 pm. John McGuinness (Norton Motorcycles 650cc Norton) went out at Ballaugh on the first lap, it is not being a great TT for John so far. Michael Dunlop (Paton SC Project Reparto Corse 650cc Paton) and Jamie Coward (KW Electrical / CMS / SB Tuning 650cc Kawasaki) challenged for the lead. jamie, being somewhat hampered by his lowly starting position of 15. The lead changed hands throughout the race but Michael triumphed by 1.299 seconds at the end of the race. Coward, although delighted with his first ever TT podium was disappointed not to have won the race. This was Michael's nineteenth TT victory and the fiftieth for the Dunlop family, a fantastic achievement and one that will probably never be bettered.

The final race of the day was the much maligned SES TT Zero Race. Since its inception the field has not developed and it is in danger of becoming a Mugen benefit. The late Daley Matthison was due to ride the University of Nottingham's electric bike, up until today, he was the second fastest ever electric bike rider. It came as a bit of a surprise to learn that Davey Todd had taken over Daley's ride and despite not practicing would take part in the race. Unfortunately for him he retired on the Mountain whilst holding third. The electric bikes are supposedly the future, the podium turned out to be the 'Dad's Army' of TT racing. Michael Rutter (Bathams Mugen) set a new lap / race record of 121.909 mph, beating John McGuinness (Bathams Mugen) into second place. John set his best ever electric bike lap of 120.979 mph in beating Ian Lougher (Idaten X RE / Team Mirai with ILR / Mark Coverdale) 102.690 mph into third place. You have to admire anyone who can lap the TT course in excess of 120 mph but in reality it is, at the moment, a two horse race. There needs to be a serious rethink if this class is to develop.

The final action of the day was a qualifying lap for the Senior race on Friday. This has been brought forward to a 10 o'clock start due to impending rain from Friday lunchtime onwards.

It was a long old day but thankfully everything went to plan. I am not a fan of two lap TT races however Gary Thompson was between a rock and a hard place and it has to be said he did a fantastic job. The fireworks off Douglas beach were brought forward to Thursday night due to the wind and rain forecast for Friday. Bushy's, in the Villa Marina Gardens, was again heaving with people after the races had finished.

Mike Hammonds

Photographs by Mike Hammonds: