John McGuinness heads line up for Senior Classic TT
This year’s Bennetts Senior Classic TT Race will again signal the start of the 2018 Race programme for the Classic TT Races presented by Bennetts and with an 80-strong grid, another fiercely contested Mountain Course Race is expected.
Heading the entry at number one is 2016 Race winner and current Senior Classic TT Race lap record holder John McGuinness who returns on the Team Winfield Paton. After almost 18 months out of racing, 23-time TT winner McGuinness’s comeback is eagerly anticipated.
The twin-cylinder Paton has won no less than four of the five previous Senior Classic TT Races but there are plenty of other riders capable of stopping their domination, perhaps none more so than ten-time TT winner Ian Lougher (#5) on the John Chapman Racing MV Agusta. Lougher won the race in 2014 and will certainly be aiming for the top step again.
Maria Costello (#10), third in 2016 and fourth last year, will again be mounted on the Team Beugger Racing Paton but perhaps the biggest threat to the Italian multi-cylinder machines will come from the three pronged attack of the Davies Motorsport Honda team.
Works Honda TT rider Lee Johnston will, arguably, be their strongest challenger as he sets off at number 13 but both Alan Oversby (#2) and Dominic Herbertson (#8) will be pushing for a podium – at least – with the latter finishing in fifth place twelve months ago.
The field is packed with potential rostrum men riding British machines led by last year’s runner-up Jamie Coward (#3) on the Ted Woof/Craven Manx Norton. The Yorkshire rider has the distinction of setting the fastest ever lap on a British single-cylinder machine during last year’s meeting.
Six-time TT winner Michael Rutter (#4) will again ride the Ripley Land Racing Matchless with former World Championship 125cc and Moto3TM competitor Danny Webb (#17) on board the Dunnell Racing Norton with Michael Russell (#19) riding a similar machine for Izzard Racing.
Olie Linsdell, the maiden winner of the Senior Classic TT Race in 2013, will again be on the Flitwick Motorcycles/Steve Bond Royal Enfield, this time with the number nine plate, while the CSC Racing Honda pairing of Daniel Cooper (#11) and James Hillier (#14) and the father and son duo of Bill and Chris Swallow also feature in the top twenty. Bill goes at number 15 on a Ducati while Chris is a place behind on the grid on another Royal Enfield.
Austrian ace Horst Saiger rounds out the top twenty on the Egli Motorradtechnik Vincent machine but there is also quality throughout the field and other riders outside the top twenty include Mark Parrett (Norton), Mark Herbertson (Matchless), Peter Boast (D&M Engineering Honda), Phil McGurk (Dave Hardman BSA), Dave Matravers (Round Oak Services Paton), Steve Ferguson (Greenall Racing Honda) and John Barton (Wemoto.com Matchless).
The Welsh family of Hefyn, Bob and Mereydd Owen are back for another attempt as are David Madsen-Mygdal, Lancelot Unissart, John-Leigh Pemberton, Alex Sinclair and Chris McGahan.
Josh Daley, Matt Mylchreest, Barry Lee Evans and Dean Osborne are amongst the debutantes in the four-lap race which is scheduled to get underway at 11.00am on Saturday 25th August.
Michael Rutter to defend Junior Classic TT title in 2018
2017 Champion, Michael Rutter, will return in 2018 to defend his Junior Classic TT, with close racing and thrilling action sure to be on display as almost 80 racers line up for a chance at this year’s championship title.
As an added bonus to spectators, Team Obsolete has also been invited to the Isle of Man Classic TT to display and parade a genuine exotic bike from its world renowned collection.
Defending champion Rutter returns with the Ripley Land Racing Honda, which he also took to victory in 2015, and he will set off at number four again in a race which looks set to be dominated by the Japanese marque.
The Davies Motorsport trio of Alan Oversby (#2), Dominic Herbertson (#8) and 2014 race winner Lee Johnston (#13) are all race contenders, as is Jamie Coward (#3) who returns on board the Ted Woof/Craven Honda that he took to third place twelve months ago.
Daniel Cooper on the CSC Racing Honda has the honour of setting off first down Glencrutchery Road and he will be looking to get back on to the Classic TT podium for the first time since 2014.
Rutter has a team-mate this year in the shape of Derek McGee – the Irish rider, who achieved his maiden TT podium in this year’s Lightweight TT Race – who will go ten seconds behind his team leader with Olie Linsdell (#9), Conor Cummins (#10) and Phil McGurk (#11) adding further weight to the Honda challenge.
Only two of the first ten starters won’t be Honda mounted – Danny Webb (#6) on the Dunnell Racing Norton and Chris Swallow (#8) on his Velocette both fly the British flag.
Classic racing legend Bill Swallow (#17) is also on board a Velocette and aside from Bob Owen (#20) on an Aermacchi, the remaining top twenty are all on the favoured 350cc single cylinder Honda with Hefyn Owen (#14), Alex Sinclair (#15), David Madsen-Mygdal (#16), Peter Boast (#18) and Steve Ferguson (#19) all top ten contenders.
There are a number of other riders more than capable of finishing inside the top ten seeded outside of the top twenty including Chris McGahan (#21), Mark Herbertson (#22), Dave Matravers (#26), Chris Moore (#30), Lancelot Unissart (#33) and Sam Johnson (#39). A number of regular TT competitors have also entered the Junior Classic TT Race including Timothee Monot, Dave Moffitt and Forest Dunn.
The four-lap race is scheduled to get underway at 10.15am on August 27.
Ex-Renzo Pasolini 1967 Benelli 350/4
This year Team Obsolete will be bringing the Ex-Renzo Pasolini 1967 Benelli 350/4 to participate in the Classic Racer Magazine Classic TT Lap of Honour on the Mountain Course on Monday 27th August, part of a stunning parade that will feature a number of memorable pre-1992 Race bikes. The iconic machine will be ridden by 1984 Senior Historic TT Race winner Dave Roper. The bike will also feature in the VMCC Festival of Jurby on Sunday 26th August.
The bike is the very same seven speed Benelli that Renzo rode to an amazing 2nd place finish in the Junior TT in 1968 behind Agostini on his MV. It is also the very same bike that rider Dave Roper so famously rode to victory at the 1993 Daytona 350 ‘Historic GP’ and later crashed at Kerrowmoar while leading the 1993 Junior Classic Manx GP.
Robert Ianucci – Team Obsolete Manager
“After an extensive rebuild the Benelli has been run several times in preparation for the coming event. We are excited to return the machine to the island 50 years after Pasolini’s podium to share its song with the faithful once more.”