TT 2006 PREVIEW

Riders’ Liaison Officers Paul Philips and Richard ‘Milky’ Quayle have, with the backing of Minister David Cretney and the TT Organizing Committee, been successful in attracting to TT 2006 the strongest line-up seen for many years.

The first thing for fans to do is to change the mounts of three times winner Adrian Archibald from Team Yamaha to TAS Suzuki. Adrian has returned to the team that he left at the end of last season; replacing Ryan Farquhar who broke his femur in a crash at Cookstown. Ryan will be out of action until at least the Ulster Grand Prix. We hope that he makes a complete recovery from his injury. Ryan would have been a strong contender to add to his two victories.

The programme has some great photos, interesting articles, a few errors and one absolute howler for the anoraks to find. At £7.50 it may seem a tad pricey, but bear in mind that there is no entrance fee to pay at most vantage points so travel and hotel aside it may be all you pay to watch two weeks of the greatest motorcycle action in the world. The programme is a must have for any fan. Another compulsive read is Island Racer, this has a good review of TT 2005 and many other excellent articles and at £4.95 is good value.

2006 may be the year in which the first 130mph lap is seen; even though it may be more fitting for that landmark to be achieved next year; the event’s centenary. A much smoother Mountain Mile and the re-aligned and widened Windy Corner will certainly see speeds raised. Outright lap record holder John McGuinness said last year that he could achieve 130mph if necessary. This year with Windy a 4th gear rather than 2nd gear corner it seems virtually guaranteed that the 130 mph barrier will be breached. John is the favourite to do it, but there are others capable of achieving it.

John will head Honda’s quest for glory on the factory backed HM Plant machines. These machines showed that are ideal tools for the roads at the recent NW200 where Steve Plater, took the Superbike laurels. John has ridden factory Hondas at the TT previously, his best lap on a Honda being 125.55mph set in 2002; the current bike is much superior to that model. John will start as favourite for victory in the Superbike and Senior races providing that the Honda handles the bumps of the circuit well. Backing John will be seven times winner Ian Lougher who will be on the Paul Bird team’s Eddie Stobart backed Hondas, in essence another works set up. Ian proved that he is still a winner by taking the spoils in last year’s Supersport A race. He also cleaned up at last year’s S100 and had this Honda handling like it was on rails there, so he knows how to set the machine up for the island’s roads.

Ian is the most experienced of the leading riders having competed on the Mountain Circuit since 1983, when he finished third behind Robert Dunlop and the late great Steve Hislop in the Newcomers MGP. Ian has recorded more 120mph+ laps than any rider; his best being 126.49mph on the TAS Suzuki in 2002; he also has the distinction of recording the fastest ever lap on a 500cc machine, 122.93mph set in the 1999 Senior. His best chance may well be in the Supersport race but he is still capable of winning either the Superbike or Superstock races on his day. The fastest ever lap on a Honda belongs to Lusk’s Martin Finnegan who has the full World Superbike specification Klaffi Hondas. Martin had his first rostrum place last year in the Superbike race, but became only the third rider to lap at over 127mph in last year’s Senior. Martin has gone about the TT sensibly building his speed at each appearance and is now ready to challenge for the top step of the podium. If you want to test your maximum heart rate go to Ballaugh Bridge; the rider with the fastest take off speed; highest and longest jump will be Marty – absolutely unforgettable.

Other Honda riders to watch are: the Kyoto Bullet; Jun Maeda, now a very experienced TT rider, but who last year really moved up the curve and lapped at over 124mph in the Senior. Les Shand who last year became only the second newcomer to lap at over 120mph; is on one of the Uel Duncan machines, providing that his collar bone heals from his off at the NW200. His second year will be too early for a victory, but if fully fit he will in the top ten. His partner is Aussie Cameron Donald, another newcomer last year who took to the TT like a duck to water; his performances on Mick Charnock’s Honda were fantastic, his best lap being at over 119mph, just 3mph off the best lap ever by a 600cc (John McGuinness 122.87mph). He had a couple of offs at the NW200 and needs to avoid doing that at the TT; again a top ten placing seems possible in the big bike races and perhaps better in the 600cc race. Former MGP winner Davy Morgan will be one to watch on his DMRR Hondas, he is certainly a class act around the circuit. Top locals Paul Hunt and Chris Heath are Honda mounted and will be looking for a leader board place; Big H could well be on the rostrum in the Superstock.

The TAS Suzuki team is now the same as for last year. Kiwi (but with a Manx mother) Bruce Anstey, a four times TT winner was right on the pace at the NW200and will be challenging for another win at the TT. He was unwell at last year’s TT, but picked up a victory in the Superstock when his team mate ran out of fuel when leading comfortably. Bruce has the ability to win in any of the classes as does Adrian Archibald, a three times winner for the team. He will want to put a disappointing start to the season behind him and claim he victory that he was denied last year. The machines and riders are good enough for at least one victory; the Superstock may well be their best chance. Away from the works bikes watch for Ian Pattinson on Martin Bullock’s Suzuki in big bike races, he is Honda mounted in the 600cc race.

Yamaha have TT sensation Guy Martin leading their challenge on the AIM machines. Guy’s third year will see him challenging at the front if his progress continues, he was the first newcomer to lap at over 120mph in 2004 and lapped at over 126mph in last year’s Senior. The Yamahas handle well on the circuit so Guy will be at the business end of events and should be able to add to his one rostrum finish to date; last year’s Senior. Yamaha’s other front runner is Ramsey’s Jason Griffiths who is surely the best rider never to have reached the top step of the rostrum. Jason had two more top three finishes last year. His best chances will come in the 600cc and Superstock races, his lack of regular racing may mean that he will not quite be able to force his way into the top 6 in main Superbike races. Raymond Porter has shown what a good rider he is and will be challenging for a leader board finishes on his DJ’s Motorcycle’s machinery. Other Yamaha riders to watch for are Ian Armstrong, NW200 winner Nigel Beattie, former MGP winner Mark Parrett and likely best newcomer Tim Poole who is no stranger to the island having ridden in the S100 on many occasions.

Kawasaki have a less well known line up. Ian Hutchinson is their best chance for a win on the McAdoo Racing machines. The team so nearly won the Senior race with Bob Jackson; a filler cap problem handing the victory to Ian Simpson. Ian stood out when he made his course debut at the MGP and has continued to progress in the TT. He has already shown that he is a serious contender with his rides at the NW200 where he won the second 600cc race; setting a lap record. With works machinery Ian will be looking to convert last year’s ton ten placings into top six at least and is certainly capable of that, if the machines handle well. The Hawk Kawasaki team make a much welcomed appearance with Carl Rennie as their rider. Carl is another who made an immediate impression with his debut ride at the MGP. He has never been fortunate enough to have absolutely top spec. machinery until now. Former MGP winner Gary Carswell returns to Kawasaki in the Superbike races for the Wilson & Collins team; another to look for is David Bell who is second only to Marty at Ballaugh Bridge.

Some more interest will be provided by the ‘works’ MV of Chris Palmer, a double winner on 125cc machines and former British Champion. He should be able to push the relatively lightweight MV around at well over 120mph; to date only Thomas Montano has lapped at over 120mph on the exotic Italian machinery; this year Thomas has defected to Ducati.
Some quality newcomers have been attracted to the event. The Dunlop name returns to the TT with Robert’s son William entered in the Junior; he is making a name for himself at home and will have the best possible tuition for his TT debut. Others likely to impress include top R6 riders from recent years James Edmeades and Conor Cummins who rode brilliantly on his NW 200 debut. We have AMA Superbike stars Mark Miller and Jeremy Toye, both of whom have ridden superbly on the roads, including the daunting Macau GP. Ian Lougher protégé Mark Buckley will be one to watch in the 600cc class.

The sidecar class is brimming with class, but if the machines stay the distance the first three pick themselves, on paper at least. Dave Molyneux, reunited with Craig Hallam is the best sidecar driver to have put his wheels on the line at Glencrutchery Road. He completely destroyed the lap and race records last year with Daniel Sayle and will be third on his own in the all time victory list if he wins one this year: two wins and he would be just one behind the legend that is Mike Hailwood.

Nick Crowe and Darren Hope would in another era have more than race win to their credit (they have two overall titles to their names). They are the second fastest crew ever and have a fuel injected motor for this year in their Molyneux built frame. A crash due to brake failure at Scarborough has left Crowe with an injured hand; if he is fully fit look for him to be a lot closer to Moly this year. Steve Norbury with Scott Parnell, may have to content himself with two more third place finishes if the locals keep going. Klaus Klaffenbock, with Christian Parzer, is determined to win the big prize and this year has an LCR for the job, look for him to crack the 110mph barrier this year.

The best entry list for many years sees the welcome return of overall winner in 1997 Tom Hanks, with Phil Biggs, and LCR equipped Andy Laidlow, with Patrick Farrance; both of these should also crack the 110mph barrier. Others pushing for a leader board placing will be Simon Neary with Stuart Bond; the amazing Roy Hanks on his 40th appearance, with Dave Wells; John Holden with Andrew Winkle; and Greg Lambert with Rick Long. Entry numbers may be down, but the quality is up this year and the racing should superb; the sidecars are more than worth their place at the TT.
If you can’t make it to the island, tune into Manx Radio TT on 1368 for live commentary from around the circuit.

TT Fastest 20 riders

Rider Machine Time Speed Year and Race

John McGuinness Yamaha R1 998cc 17m 43.8s 127.68 mph 2004 Formula 1
David Jefferies Suzuki GSXR 1000cc 17m 47.0s 127.29 mph 2002 Senior
Martin Finnegan Honda CBR 1000cc 17m 49.39s 127.014mph 2005 Senior
Adrian Archibald Suzuki GSXR 1000cc 17m 51.00s 126.82 mph 2003 Senior
Bruce Anstey Suzuki GSXR 1000cc 17m 53.5s 126.52 mph 2004 Formula 1
Ian Lougher Suzuki GSXR 1000cc 17m 53.8s 126.49 mph 2002 Senior
Guy Martin Suzuki GSXR 1000cc 17m 53.9s 126.481mph 2005 Senior
Richard Britton Honda Fireblade 998cc 17m 54.41s 126.421mph 2005 Senior
Jason Griffiths Yamaha R1 998cc 17m 58.4s 125.95 mph 2004 Formula 1
Ryan Farquhar Kawasaki ZX10R 1000cc 18m 00.23s 125.74mph 2005 Senior
Jim Moodie Yamaha R1 998cc 18m 07.9s 124.85 mph 2002 Formula 1
Jun Maeda Honda CBR RR 1000cc 18m 12.84s 124.289mph 2005 Senior
Raymond Porter Yamaha R1 1000cc 18m 13.37s 124.229mph 2005 Senior
Paul Hunt Suzuki GSXR 1000cc 18m 15.55s 123.982mph 2005 Superstock
Michael Rutter Yamaha R1 998cc 18m 15.8s 123.95 mph 2000 Senior
Richard Quayle Suzuki GSXR 1000cc 18m 15.9s 123.94 mph 2002 Senior
Iain Duffus Yamaha R1 998cc 18m 16.5s 123.87 mph 1999 Senior
Joey Dunlop Honda VTR SP1 18m 16.5s 123.87 mph 2000 Senior
Carl Fogarty Yamaha 750cc 18m 18.8s 123.61 mph 1992 Senior
Shaun Harris Suzuki GSXR 1000cc 18m 18.8s 123.61 mph 2003 Senior

Fastest Laps Sidecars

Driver Passenger Machine Time Speed Year

Dave Molyneux Daniel Sayle DMR Honda 600cc 19m 30.49s 116.044 mph 2005
Nick Crowe Darran Hope DMR Honda 600cc 20m 03.84s 112.829 mph 2005
Rob Fisher Rick Long LMS 600cc 20m 17.3s 111.58 mph 2002
Steve Norbury Andy Smith Shelbourne Yamaha 600cc 20m 26.12 110.779 mph 2005
Ian Bell Neil Carpenter DMR Yamaha R6 600cc 20m 29.7s 110.45 mph 2002
Simon Neary Stuart Bond Baker Yamaha 600cc 20m 34.16s 110.057 mph 2005
Gary Horspole Kevin Leigh Shelbourne Honda 600cc 20m 37.6s 109.75 mph 2002
Roy Hanks Dave Wells DMR Yamaha 599cc 20m 39.9s 109.548 mph 2005
Tom Hanks Steve Wilson Yamaha 600cc 20m 47.9s 108.84 mph 1997
Ben Dixon Mark Lambert Shelbourne Honda 600cc 20m 49.3s 108.723 mph 2005
Greg Lambert Tony Darby TeeBee Yamaha 600cc 20m 55.1s. 108.22 mph 1997
John Holden Jamie Winn Honda 600cc 20m 55.99s 108.144 mph 2005
Gary Bryan Steven Hedison Baker Yamaha 600cc 20m 56.1s 108.13mph 2004
Philip Dongworth Stuart Castles Ireson Kawasaki 600cc 20m 57.0s 108.05 mph 2002
Roger Stockton Peter Alton Shelbourne Yamaha 600cc 20m 59.89s 107.809 mph 2005
Alan Schofield Ian Simons Baker 600cc 20m 59.9s 107.80 mph 1999
Kenny Howles Steve Pointer Ireson Mistral Yamaha 600cc 21m 03.8s 107.47 mph 1996
Vince Biggs Jamie Biggs Molyneux Yamaha 600 cc 21m 04.2s 107.44 mph 1997
Klaus Klaffenbock Christian Parzer Honda 600cc 21m 06.89s 107.214 mph 2005
Geoff Bell Craig Hallam Windle Yamaha 600cc 21m 09.2s 107.01 mph 1996

 

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