A Sidecar Passenger Fails a Drug Test and the Lieutenant Governor becomes a Marshal

It wouldn't be the TT if there wasn't rumour, conjecture and controversy. A routine and random drugs test after Monday night's qualifying produced a positive result resulting in sidecar passenger Jake Lowther being banned from the meeting. The details will be reported to the ACU who will investigate if an increased suspension is required. He and driver Alan Founds had been third quickest on the night with a lap of 113.485mph

Queuing for the technical inspection at the scrutineering bays

This, of course, has left driver Alan in a predicament, now without a passenger. Months of planning and getting back to full fitness after a serious crash before last year's TT has been thrown out of the window. Colin Smyth, who was to passenger Maria Costello but who had to withdraw on medical grounds, has stepped in to replace Lowther. His only previous race was at the 2011 TT where he was a passenger for Mick Donovan. They came 18th in the Sidecar A Race with an average of 103.90mph, Klaus Klaffenbock and Dan Sayle won with an average of 114.26mph.

Maria Costello wasn't the only rider to have an incident on Monday afternoon. Paul 'Potchy' Williams crashed at Laurel Bank when he hit a pheasant which stopped in the middle of the road. Fortunately Paul was okay which is more than can be said of the pheasant or his bike which was pretty much destroyed.

The Crowe brothers also had an incident at Laurel bank which resulted in passenger Callam requiring stitches. They didn't go out on Tuesday evening but returned to the action on Wednesday evening after being passed fit by the doctor.

The Lieutenant Governor, Sir John Lorimer and his wife, Lady Phillippa Lorimer, have signed up to be marshals and were on duty at Gorse Lea and the Black Dub before moving on to Signpost Corner. It is great they are getting involved and supporting the TT. The future of the TT & MGP will be dependent on recruiting and maintaining marshals and bringing the current average age down.

Tuesday's qualifying session for Supersport and Supertwin machines was red flagged and cancelled before a lap was completed. Mark Goodings bike dropped oil between Barregarrow and Westwood necessitating the road to be cleaned. Prior to the oil spill Peter Hickman, BMW M1000RR K66 Monster Energy by FHO Racing, topped the Superbike times with a lap of 132.079mph. Michael Dunlop, Honda CBR 1000RR-R Fireblade SC 82 / MD Racing, headed the Superstock times. Dafabet's Matt Stevenson crashed at Creg-ny-Baa and was lifted by Airmed to hospital with a fractured femur.

The sidecars eventually got away at 25 minutes past eight, 27 laps were completed before the session ended The Birchalls, 600cc Honda LCR Wyckham Blackwell - Birchall Racing led the way with a lap of 118.316mph followed by Peter Founds & Jevan Walmsley, 600cc Honda LCR FHO Motorsport, with a lap of 116.110mph. Twenty two crews completed at least one lap.

Two times TT winner John Holden with Maxime Vasseur in the chair, Yamaha LCR Barnes Racing & Carl Cox Motorsport

Gary Bryan and Philip Hyde, Honda Baker SWC Groundworks / TTS Support, they are 7th fastest in qualifying.

Wednesday's qualifying schedule was changed to include the Supertwins after Tuesday's cancellation. Jamie Coward, Kawasaki z650 KTS Racing powered by Steadplan, was the quickest of the night with a lap of 120.912 mph. Dean Harrison, Kawasaki ZX 10-RR ZXTO2N / Dao Racing, set the cat amongst the pigeons when he lapped at 133.514mph in the Superbike session. A total of 6 riders went over 130mph including Jamie Coward, Honda CBR1000RR SP SC77 KTS Racing powered by Steadplan and John McGuinness, Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP SC82 Honda Racing UK. The latter being the fastest 51 year old ever around the Mountain Course.

Michal 'Indy' Dokoupil preparing for qualifying.

Peter Hickman, BMW M1000RR K66 Monster Energy by FHO Racing, wasn't going to be out done and he topped the Superstock timings with a lap of 133.284 mph. The action, like the weather, was sizzling. The Milenco by Padgett’s Motorcycles boys of Connor Cummins and Davy Todd were amongst those who broke the 130mph barrier. Peter Hickman, Triumph Daytona ST765RS K2 Trooper Triumph by PHR, topped the Supersport times with a lap of 127.206mph.

The Crowe brothers and Alan Founds with Colin Smyth returned to action on Wednesday evening. The Crowes, 600cc HAven Homes Honda LCR, finished third quickest at 114.128mph. Founds and Smyth completed two laps, the fastest being 100.252mph, they were 19th out of the 24 outfits. The Birchalls, Honda LCR Wyckham Blackwell - Birchall Racing, topped the charts from Pete Founds and Jevan Walmsley, Honda LCR FHO Motorsport, by 3.528 seconds.

Away from the track there is a new supplier for producing and selling the TT merchandise. It is not cheap, a cap costs £26, a t-shirt is also £26 and an adult hoodie is £50. Kids t-shirts are £20 and hoodies £35. Quite a hike from last year's two t-shirts for £20!!



Mike Hammonds