First Practice completed at Classic TT
The 2015 Classic TT Races presented by Bennetts finally got underway on Monday evening after Saturday’s session was cancelled because of bad weather.
Three Classic TT newcomers were first on the Mountain Course for their speed-controlled lap, under the guidance of experienced campaigner Dave Madsen Mygdall. Joe Ackroyd from Knaresborough on a 250 Suzuki, Preston’s Jaeson Caunce and Lee Jennings from Mold, North Wales on a Manx Norton had the honour of getting this year’s meeting underway and all three duly completed their first laps.
Michael Dunlop on his F1 Team Classic Suzuki was first away in the qualifying session with David Johnson on The Team York Suzuki following shortly after. Australian Johnson has the honour of the number 1 plate and will be the first away in the Motorsport Merchandise Formula 1 Race on Monday 31st August.
Other riders away early in the session included William Dunlop on the distinctive sounding Team National Motorcycle Museum/Crighton Racing Rotary Norton while Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Motorcycles pair Bruce Anstey, again riding the YZR Yamaha that he won last year’s race on and Dan Kneen on the Yamaha OW01 were also among the early group away.
Nostalgic race fans were treated to their first sight of Michael Rutter, riding an identical machine, complete with matching livery, to the one that his father Tony achieved podiums on in the 1984 Formula 1 TT and TT Formula 1 World Championship.
However, shortly after the session began, reports came through of an incident at School House on the approach to Ramsey featuring MGP rider Adrian Bowman, which resulted in the session being red-flagged at 7.20. The rider was reported as conscious at the scene and was taken by airmed to Nobles Hospital where he was later reported to have arm and leg injuries.
Most of the riders were already through School House when the incident took place Notable opening laps were achieved by Ryan Farquhar, who posted the fastest of the night with 117.70 on the Team Winfield Yamaha with Johnson (116.84) and Team Classic Suzuki’s Michael Dunlop (116.11) also signalling their intent. Although the session was red flagged and a number of riders were brought back behind a travelling marshal, they will be credited with a qualifying lap.
After the delay, the 350/500cc session eventually got underway at 8pm. In the 500 class five riders posted laps in excess of 100mph with last year’s race winner Ian Lougher on Giovanni Cabassi’s Flitwick Motorcycles CMM Paton clocking the fastest time of the evening with a very credible 104.20 (21:43.539). John McGuinness (Team Winfield Paton), Michael Dunlop (Norton/Team Molnar Manx), Jamie Coward (Craven Honda K4) and Olie Linsdell on the Flitwick Motorcycles Royal Enfield were the other riders over the ‘ton’.
In the concurrent 350cc session Michael Rutter on the Ripley Land Racing Honda, Bill Swallow on the AJS and MV Agusta/Black Eagle Racing teammates Lee Johnston and Dean Harrison posted the four fastest times.
The session was eventually flagged shortly before 8.30pm with the light deteriorating with the majority of the riders in the 350 class achieving their first qualifying laps.
TT Greats and World Champions to line-up for 2015 Classic TT Lap of Honour
This year’s Classic Racer Magazine Classic TT Lap of Honour is set to be one of the highlights of the Classic TT presented by Bennetts with the entry packed with both legendary riders and iconic, and exotic, machinery.
This year’s ‘lap of honour’, which takes place on Bank Holiday Monday 31st August, is a celebration of some of the UK’s finest ever road racers, as well as the career of TT legend Geoff Duke, and the line-up includes riders with a combined total of no less than 95 TT victories and 209 TT podiums.
Fifteen former TT winners will be on the grid out of a total field of over 150 riders who will take to the Mountain Course. Twenty-three time TT Race winner John McGuinness leads the way with the ‘Morecambe Missile’ fresh from his win and new outright lap record in this year’s PokerStars Senior TT. McGuinness will ride his own 600cc Triumph Daytona, the same machine he rode at the 2003 TT Race meeting.
Bruce Anstey, another 2015 TT winner who will be appearing in the parade is now third on the all-time list of podium finishers. Anstey has 10 TT wins and 35 rostrums to his name following this year’s races, which saw him win his first Superbike race and take three runners-up spots. The Kiwi will ride a 500cc Manx Norton in the parade as part of the tributes to Geoff Duke.
The evergreen Jim Redman MBE, a six time World Champion, returns to the Isle of Man where he achieved a unique hat-trick of double Junior and Lightweight wins in 1963, 1964 and 1965. He will be riding a 500cc Honda in the parade, similar to the bike he rode during the 1966 season.
Four past and present Northern Ireland TT legends – Brian Reid, Phil McCallen, Con Law and current star Michael Dunlop will appear. Reid’s memorable TT career included being the first rider to lap the Mountain Course at more than 112mph on a 250cc machine, in 1985, and he took his first of five TT wins in the 1986 Formula Two race. McCallen’s highlight was undoubtedly his four wins in 1996 and he’ll take part in the parade on board one of his race winning RC45 Hondas while Law’s short five year career included consecutive Junior TT race wins in 1982 and 1983.
Dunlop has already matched McCallen’s 11 wins and while 2015 wasn’t as successful as previous years, he still stood on the podium in the RL360 Superstock race and became the second fastest rider of all time with a lap of 132.515mph.
Three great Scottish riders, Ian Simpson, his father Bill and Alex George – all TT race winner’s – will grace the Mountain Course again. Five time British Champion Ian Simpson took TT three victories including a superb F1-Senior double in 1998 and eight podiums in his 21 race TT career, following father Bill’s 750cc production race win in 1976. Alex George is best remembered for his double victory in 1979 when, deputising for the injured Mick Grant at Honda Britain, he took both the F1 and Classic races, the latter coming after a titanic battle with Mike Hailwood which saw him come out on top by just 3.4s.
Close friends Steve Plater and Mick Grant, who worked together in Norton development, will parade Norton’s SG3 and SG2 respectively. Plater’s three-year career included victory in the 2009 Senior TT while multiple British Champion Grant has seven TT victories to his name.
Charlie Williams, one of Mick Grant’s contemporaries in the 1970’s and 80’s will parade on his own 350cc Yamaha. Williams, who finished a superb ninth in last year’s 500cc Classic TT, has an impressive nine TT wins to his name including two TT race wins in a day – the Junior and F2 races in 1980.
Matt Oxley and Malcolm Wheeler, two riders who have swapped their leathers for journalism, will be temporarily putting their pens down. Oxley’s undoubted highlight was victory in the 1985 250cc Production race, becoming the first rider to lap the Mountain Course at more than 100mph on a 250cc Production machine while Wheeler, who will ride his own Ducati TT2, achieved three podiums in the 1980’s.
Dave Roper will add a transatlantic flavour to the lap. Roper became the first American to win a TT with victory in the 1984 500cc Historic race. He returns to the Island riding an AJS Porcupine, one of the more exotic machines that will be appearing during the Classic TT Festival.
Other star riders taking part in the Lap of Honour include Ian Richards, who unluckily broke down on the last lap of the 1980 Senior while leading, Glen English, Ian Mackman, Tony Duncan, Rex Butcher, James McBride, Mike Seward (the first rider to lap at more than 110mph at the Manx Grand Prix), the Isle of Man’s Nigel Beattie. David Cretney MLC and Derek Crutchlow, father of current MotoGP rider Cal are also participating in the parade while Peter Duke will ride a 500cc Gilera in memory of his late father and six times TT winner and World Champion Geoff Duke.