The Isle of Man TT races are unique. Nowhere else on the planet is as committed to giving the heroes that race the roads such a place upon which to strut their motorcycle stuﬀ. In short – it’s awesome. And once again it’s time to revel in the skills of the fastest road racers of all time.
his year has seen a very different feel in terms of the build-up to the TT. We’re missing some people who should be here and – at the time of writing – the ‘King of the Mountain’, John McGuinness, is unsure if he’ll be able to swing a leg over the Norton and take part at all. With Bruce Anstey being sidelined by illness, ‘Hutchy’ facing another uphill battle and McG having re-broken the right leg that he shattered at the North West 200 last May, the casual observer might look at this year’s event and think that it won’t be quite as brilliant as it usually is. Wrong. The beauty of the Isle of Man TT races is that there’s ALWAYS the next wave of superfast superstars just itching to get up to the next level. And right now, with the likes of Hickman, Harrison and Hillier – plus at least 10 others you could throw into the pot – putting in the times and consistently great rides like they are, things are looking very strong indeed not only for TT 2018 but TTs to come. It’s true that all TT eyes will be pointed towards Michael Dunlop to see what the man who is riding, arguably, better than we’ve ever seen from anyone can do this year, but there’ll be lots of interest on those who are now stepping up and taking the fight to Dunlop this year. Can they do it? Can Dunlop feel the sting of a wave of riders who’ve been inching towards his playground in the 131mph+ club? Of course, some of them can. And will.
I’ve been covering the Isle of Man TT races since 1994 and over the past 24 years I’ve learnt one overriding thing: nothing is a done deal on the Island. You might have the fastest bike, but that doesn’t mean it’ll be the quickest around an entire lap. You might be at the peak of fitness, but that doesn’t mean you won’t suffer something to knock you off your stride. When every corner of every lap counts it comes down to a combination of machine, rider, prep, weather and – let’s be honest – having a bit of luck going your way isn’t bad either. That’s not to say anyone who wins a TT or gets on the podium is lucky, they’ve all worked unbelievably hard to get to where they are, but good fortune is always a plus. Anyone remember the Honda’s chain snapping in 2009 under John McGuinness? John says that the chain snapped because he used a powershifter going from first to second through neutral – the chain cried enough and that was it, his Senior for that year was over. Done. Gone in an instant. All that work, all that effort gone with the snap of a chain and a coast to the side of Parliament Square. Good fortune is always welcome during a TT race. So this year looks as though we’re not only going to get a typically brilliant set of races but that there’s a very good chance of some of the nearly men taking that step up to the dizzy heights of modern TT legend. And that makes this a very special year of TT racing, potentially. Our thoughts and heartfelt love go to all the riders sidelined this year. Be well and be safe.
YOUR ISLAND RACER | EDITION 2018 008 FLAG DOWN
Five iconic moments captured in time by the King of the snappers, Stephen Davison. Saviour his view of the Isle of Man TT races.
018 MCGUINNESS: THE COMEBACK
A leg shattered last year. A year on the sidelines. A year to focus on coming back and then, at the 11th hour, another setback. What can happen for the Norton rider now?
026 THE McGUINNESS YEARS
He’s been such a foundation of the Isle of Man TT races for so long that IR felt it only right to take a long look back over McG’s racing career via one man’s lens.
038 WHO’S WHO
The main runners and riders for both solo and sidecar classes at this year’s TT. Those you need to know, their details and why they feature so highly in the fun and games of TT 2018 are all here.
052 MANX MAN
Dan Kneen has been knocking on the door of great things over the past couple of years and now he’s got a superb TYCO BMW underneath him. One of the best teams in the paddock behind him and a belly full of TT desire driving him on. Why wouldn’t we go big on the Kneen Machine this year? Yeah, that’s what he’s known as. We like that. And we like him.
060 TT RACES 2018 – THE INS AND OUTS
What is a TT superbike? How does it differ from a superstock bike? TT Zero – what’s that all about? All this explained in full, plus other questions you might have, here.
066 THE NEXT WAVE
Kyle White looks at the next wave of riders coming through the ranks. Keep an eye on all of these riders because they’re already mustard hot and it’s only going north for them.
078 HUTCHY – HOW TO BATTLE
075 ON AIR WITH ATTITUDE
You listen to them, we listen to them, the whole world listens to Manx FM when it becomes Radio TT during the TT event. But what goes into the shows? Who are the team behind it all? And who makes that weird advert with the old bloke doing an impression of his own grandson?
Ian Hutchinson is the type of rider who would race for food. His skill level is without question and his ability to dig in when faced with almost insurmountable odds is just jaw-dropping. An appreciation of Hutchy.
084 UNDER THE SKIN
Taking the clothes off the TYCO BMW superbike and having a poke around. Or, at least, telling you what they bolt on to the weapon for Island duty.
088 WHAT’S ON Practice week, race week and a load of other stuff too. Things to know about for the TT 2018.
092 SPECTATE! GO HERE
Places to watch from, the speeds and information as the superstars blast past. Handy to know.
100 HAILWOOD’S RETURN
Never-seen-before reports from back-in-the-day and the true story of what really happened 40 years ago. The story of 1978.
120 KIT AND KABOODLE
Dean Harrison gives a guided tour of what goes into being protected when dashing around The Island.
126 THE KNOWLEDGE
Stats, who won what and how. It’s everything you’d ever need to know.
146 TAKE THE TT PHOTO YOU WANT
And not the blurred one where you miss out most of Dunlop as he comes by. How to do the job properly.
EDITOR: TONY CARTER DESIGNER: HOLLY FURNESS SPECIAL CONTRIBUTORS: GARY CHAPMAN, STEPHEN DAVISON/ PACEMAKER PRESS, BRIAN GOLDIE, DAVE KNEEN, ROSS MOWBRAY, JOHN WATTERSON, MALC WHEELER, PHILIP WAIN & KYLE WHITE PRODUCTION EDITOR: PAULINE HAWKINS GROUP KEY ACCOUNTS MANAGER: STEFF WOODHOUSE 01507 529452 | 07786 334330 SWOODHOUSE@MORTONS.CO.UK PUBLISHER: MALC WHEELER COMMERCIAL DIRECTOR: NIGEL HOLE PUBLISHING DIRECTOR: DAN SAVAGE TT 2018 ISLAND RACER
ISSN 1743 - 5838 ALL MATERIAL COPYRIGHT MORTONS MEDIA GROUP LIMITED, 2018. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. PUBLISHED BY MORTONS MEDIA GROUP LIMITED, MEDIA CENTRE, MORTON WAY, HORNCASTLE, LINCOLNSHIRE LN9 6JR. TELEPHONE 01507 529529. PRINTED BY WILLIAM GIBBONS & SONS OF WOLVERHAMPTON. DISTRIBUTED BY COMAG. FOR MORE COPIES OF ISLAND RACER OR FOR INFORMATION CALL 01507 529529 OR VISIT WWW.ISLANDRACER.CO.UK
This is my office during at least one night of TT practice week. When the sun is shining and the water is glistening on Ramsay Bay there are few nicer places than Guthries where you can watch Bruce Anstey get the back wheel of the Padgett’s RCV213S Honda off the ground under braking. At least that is until the sun starts to go down and the midges come out to bite…
WORDS BY: STEPHEN DAVISON PICTURE BY: STEPHEN DAVISON
WINNING MOMENT This is what it looks like to win the Senior TT. A moment of pure rhapsody that even the sun came out to celebrate with Michael Dunlop in the Senior winnerâ€™s enclosure. And Dean Harrison, what was he thinking as he looked on? WORDS BY: STEPHEN DAVISON PICTURE BY: STEPHEN DAVISON