TT 2006 NEWS

AN all-star line-up has been secured for the 2006 TT, practising for which is now only seven weeks away.

Most of the current top name riders attended a TT press conference in the Colonnade Suite of the Villa Marina complex last Friday evening, together with a number of what look to be promising newcomers.

There’s quality in abundance, from World champions to British champions, British Superbike riders to American Superbike riders and from European stars to some of real road racing’s finest, this year’s entry list has it all.

Heading the formidable entry list is the current outright lap record holder and eight-times winner John McGuinness. Having taken three of the last four Superbike races, the Morecambe rider has been snapped up by the official HM Plant Honda team for 2006.

Supporting him in Honda colours will be Ian Lougher, riding for the Paul Bird-run Stobart team, while Martin Finnegan will line-up for the Austrian Klaffi Honda squad, one of the leading lights in World Superbike.

Japan’s Jun Maeda is a fourth Honda rider capable of glory and having excelled last year much is expected of the Kyoto man.

Yamaha also have three riders capable of winning with young sensation Guy Martin replacing McGuinness at AIM Racing, two-time Senior race winner Adrian Archibald riding for Ulster-based Team Racing, and Ramsey based Jason Griffiths never far away from a podium finish.

Raymond Porter is a dark horse for honours and having stepped on the podium in the Junior race last year, the Lifford man could well get in amongst the ‘works’ Yamaha riders.

The all-conquering TAS Suzuki squad are back for more with Bruce Anstey and new signing Ryan Farquhar. With six wins between them already, there’s every likelihood that this tally could increase.

Laid-back Kiwi Anstey came out of winter hibernation to attend the meeting in Douglas last Friday, albeit too late to give any official comments in front of the invited audience as he fell asleep in his hotel room!

‘I’m taking things easy this time,’ he said, when did he never? ‘I had a bad cold coming into the TT last year and didn’t feel 100 per cent for the whole of it. But I won a Superbike race at the North-West and the Superstock event at the TT, so upon reflection it didn’t go too badly I suppse.’

Meanwhile, the fourth of the Japanese manufacturers, Kawasaki, will be represented by McAdoo Racing with another of the young stars, Ian Hutchinson, and the Hawk Kawasaki British Superbike squad with team principal Stuart Hicken announcing TT regular Carl Rennie as his rider for the Isle of Man.

In addition, a whole host of privateers will be eager to prove themselves. The impressive Uel Duncan Racing squad has secured the services of Australian Cameron Donald and Scotsman Les Shand – two of the star newcomers of 2005.

Other leading lights include Mark Parrett, Rob Frost, Ian Armstrong, Dean Silvester, David Bell, James McBride, Ian Pattinson, Phil Stewart, Kevin Mawdsley, Seamus Greene, Davy Morgan, Ken Doherty, John Donnan, Keith Stewart, John Burrows and Victor Gilmore.

The Isle of Man will be well represented with the likes of the fastest ever Manxman to lap the course, Paul Hunt, plus Chris Heath, MV-mounted Chris Palmer, Gary Carswell, Nigel Beattie, John Barton, Paul Duckett, Derran Slous and Dave Madsen-Mygdal.

From overseas there is American Thomas Montano, Italian Stefano Bonetti, Belgian Michael Weynand, New Zealanders Daniel Jansen and Paul Dobbs, and Germans Dirk Kaletsch, Thomas Schonfelder and Manfred Vogl.

Newcomers likely to make a big impression include the AMA Superbike duo of Mark Miller and Jeremy Toye, former European Supersport Champion Angelo Conti of Italy, 20-year-old William Dunlop, Ramsey’s Conor Cummins, 19, Scottish rider Mark Buckley, Englishman James Edmeades, 22, and former Superbike and Superstock champion of Hungary, Sandor Bitter.

‘We have seen an amazing transformation with the TT over the past two years and 2006 looks like being one of the best ever thanks to the hard work of a lot of people,’ said TT co-ordinating committee chairman and Minister for Tourism and Leisure David Cretney.

‘The entry is the strongest I can remember and this should provide the fans with an amazing spectacle of close and exciting racing.

‘One of the biggest changes is the support from the manufacturers to such a degree, plus the involvement of other large teams from World Superbike, British Superbike and Irish road racing.

‘The level has been raised significantly, which can only be a good thing, and makes our event stand out from others, with an amazing cross-section of talented riders and quality machinery. Personally I can’t wait for it all to start on May 27.

 

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