SILICONE ENGINEERING TARGET HARRISON SUPERBIKE CLASSIC TT HATTRICK
Fresh from their victory in last month’s Dunlop Senior TT Race at the Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy, Dean Harrison and the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki team will make their return to the TT Mountain Course in August for the Classic TT presented by Bennetts.
The Bradford rider will again ride a Kawasaki ZXR750 in the four-lap RST Superbike Race, scheduled to take place on Monday 26th August, as he and the team aim for their third successive victory in the class.
Having joined forces for the first time in 2016, the combination of Harrison and the Silicone Engineering team has enjoyed major success at the International Road Racing events and the Classic TT has been no exception, with their first victory coming in record-breaking style in 2017.
The now 30-year old led the race from start to finish to defeat Kiwi ace Bruce Anstey by more than 16 seconds. With a fastest lap at an average speed of 127.212mph, Harrison set a new race record of 1hr12m32.923s, an average speed for the four laps of 124.815mph.
That record still stands as mixed weather conditions during qualifying in 2018 kept speeds down in the race, but Harrison was again in imperious form. Serving up a repeat performance of the previous year, he dominated proceedings once more and eventually took the chequered flag by more than a minute from the Horst Saiger.
Those two wins match the tally he has taken in the distinctive green, white and blue colours of Silicone Engineering at June’s Isle of Man TT, where he has also taken an additional 11 podiums for the team.
With a TT career now reading a total of three wins and 16 podiums, Harrison has established himself as one of the best road racers of his generation and also one of the most versatile, with other Classic TT wins coming in the 2013 Formula Classic and 2015 Senior Classic TT Races.
However, while both he and Silicone Engineering Kawasaki are firm favourites for honours in August, they’re well aware they won’t have it all their own way and with a star-studded field including the likes of Conor Cummins, Michael Rutter, Gary Johnson and Jamie Coward, it promises to be another thrilling encounter.
Photo by RCphotos
MCGUINNESS AND RUTTER RETURN TO CLASSIC TT WITH TEAM WINFIELD
Team Winfield, one of the most successful Classic teams of recent years, will return to the TT Mountain Course in 2019 - continuing with the experienced John McGuinness and Michael Rutter in a highly experienced line up for the Classic TT presented by Bennetts.
The team will split their efforts between the Bennetts Senior Classic TT, where reigning champion McGuinness will again ride the rapid 500cc Paton, and the RST Superbike Classic TT Race, which will see this year’s SES TT Zero Race winner Rutter on board one of Roger Winfield’s FJ1200 Harris Yamaha’s.
With the exception of 2017, when he was forced out by injury, 23-time TT winner McGuinness has campaigned the Italian machine every year since the inaugural Classic TT in 2013. McGuinness will be looking to add to his two wins - in 2016 and 2018 - and give Winfield his fourth Classic TT victory after Josh Brookes also claimed the honours when he deputised for McGuinness in 2017.
The Morecambe Missile overcame a stiff challenge from Dean Harrison three years ago when he set the current lap record of 113.342mph, while last year saw him have a more comfortable victory. After mixed weather conditions during qualifying twelve months ago, a fastest lap of 110.676mph enabled to come home 1m13s clear of the hard charging Jamie Coward.
There is no doubt the combination of McGuinness’s skill and talent and Winfield’s engineering expertise is one to be feared, and they will come into this year’s event as one of the pre-race favourites. If the duo can repeat the performances of the last three years, McGuinness and the Paton will take some beating.
Rutter will line up in the four-lap RST Superbike Classic TT Race on board one of the team’s FJ1200 Harris Yamaha’s which will again be run in the striking and iconic yellow, black and white colours of Yamaha America.
It will be the third time Rutter, twice a winner of the Junior Classic TT Race, has ridden for Winfield at the event having taken a superb second place finish behind Michael Dunlop on his debut with the team in 2016. On that occasion, he lapped at an impressive 125.586mph, which remains the third quickest lap in the class.
A seven-time winner at the Isle of Man TT following his latest success in this year’s TT Zero Race, Rutter was back with the team twelve months ago and an opening lap in excess of 123mph put him in second place behind Harrison, before he was unluckily forced to retire at Ballacrye on the second lap.
Previous years have seen Ryan Farquhar enjoy great success for the team, both at the Manx Grand Prix and Classic TT, and with both McGuinness and Rutter confirmed for their assault on the 2019 Classic TT presented by Bennetts, Team Winfield’s intentions are clear.
Photo by RCphotos
MICHAEL SWEENEY PARTNERS WITH HILLIER AT CSC RACING
CSC Racing has added the services of Michael Sweeney to its Classic TT campaign where he will join team regular James Hillier.
Both Hillier and Sweeney will pilot a 500cc Honda-4 in the Bennetts Senior Classic TT with Sweeney taking on the machines vacated by Dan Cooper, who announced his retirement from roads competition at the end of this year’s Isle Of Man TT.
The Irishman will also pilot a 350cc Honda in the Locate.im Junior Classic TT with this year marking his first foray in the Junior and Senior Classic races. Hillier however has been with CSC Racing since the inception of the Classic TT in 2013.
The team has decided to field a third rider in the form of Englishman Wayne Axon, who will ride a XR69 1100cc Suzuki in the RST Superbike Race.
Image courtesy of: RCphotos
SAM WEST JOINS GARY JOHNSON IN TEAM YORK SUZUKI CLASSIC TT LINE UP
Team York Suzuki are again set to challenge for honours at this year’s Classic TT, presented by Bennetts, having secured the talented services of Gary Johnson and Sam West for the August event.
Both Johnson and West will contest the four-lap RST Superbike Race on identically-prepared 1100cc Suzuki’s for Kevin Pearson’s York-based team.
It will be Johnson’s fourth successive year with the team and although he’s found luck in scarce supply in recent years, his undoubted pace means he’s more than capable of pushing for a podium position, at the very least.
The double TT winner has recorded a best lap of 123.864mph on the striking blue and white machines and was running in third place in last year’s race before being forced to retire at the beginning of the third lap. He did, however, take fifth place in 2016.
West joins the team for the first time replacing Australian David Johnson, who competed with the team at the Classic TT between 2015 and 2018.
30-year old West needs no introduction to road race supporters though having established himself as one of the leading privateers on the road circuits in recent years. His best finish around the Mountain Course came in last year’s RL360 Superstock TT Race when he finished in an excellent eighth place with the Senior Race seeing him lap at just under 130mph.
His best results earlier this year, 12th and a brace of 13th’s, came in the RST Superbike, RL360 Superstock and second Monster Energy Supersport TT Races whilst he made his debut at the Classic TT, presented by Bennetts, last year. Riding the Cookson Travel Suzuki, the Wilmslow rider took a fine eighth place with a fastest lap of 117.061mph.
A former racer in the 1980s, Pearson set up his own team with support from the York Suzuki Centre more than a decade ago and having supported the Post-Classic Manx Grand Prix races, he immediately contested the Classic TT when it was launched in 2013.
The following year saw the team have its best result to date when Russ Mountford took an excellent third in the Formula One Classic TT race. David Johnson also gave the team fourth and fifth place finishes in 2017 and 2015 respectively to further emphasise the competiveness of both the team and the machinery.
The 2019 line-up should again see Pearson’s team well to the fore with both riders having a great chance to impress.
Photo by: RCphotos
TT STARS JORDAN AND MCGEE HEAD STRONG LINE UP FOR MISTRAL RACING AT CLASSIC TT
Mistral Racing are set to field two of the Mountain Course’s rising stars for this year’s Classic TT, presented by Bennetts, having signed Paul Jordan and Derek McGee for the August meeting.
Both Jordan and McGee will ride identically-prepared ZXR 750 Kawasaki’s in Bank Holiday Monday’s four-lap RST Superbike Race.
Jordan joined the team in 2018, ironically as a late replacement for McGee after he was injured at the Ulster Grand Prix, with the Magherafelt rider going on to put in a superb performance. With a fastest lap of 122.445mph on the green, white and red Kawasaki, the now 27-year old had worked his way up to fourth place behind Dean Harrison, Horst Saiger and Conor Cummins before cruelly being forced to retire on the final lap.
His stock has risen further since then with a series of high class performances at both the North West 200 and Isle of Man TT as well as at the Irish National road races. This year’s TT Races saw him take no less than five top twenty finishes when riding for Dafabet Devitt Racing, the highlight being an excellent fourth place in the Bennetts Lightweight TT Race. He also lapped the TT Mountain Circuit at more than 125mph for the first time.
McGee, meanwhile, had been due to make his Classic TT debut last year before the aforementioned incident at the Ulster GP when he was the innocent victim of another rider’s crash. His 2019 season started superbly with a hat-trick at the Cookstown 100, four wins at the Tandragee 100 and a maiden podium finish at the North West 200 before a practice spill at Greeba Castle ruled him out of this year’s TT.
Once back to full fitness, the ‘Mullingar Missile’ will finally get to make his first Classic TT appearance later this year where, together with Jordan, he forms a formidable looking team with the duo having a great chance of recording a podium finish.
Mistral Racing have competed at every Classic TT since its maiden year in 2013 and highlights have included the late Dan Kneen’s fifth place in the 2017 Superbike Race. With over 25 years’ experience in performance motorsport and motorcycle tuning, they are recognised as one of the most accomplished engine tuning companies in the UK.
Photo by RCphotos
MANX GRAND PRIX ORGANISERS ANNOUNCE RACE PROGRAMME FOR 2019
Following the success of the 2018 MGP races, the organisers, The Manx Motor Cycle Club, will retain the same programme for 2019. This will see things kick off with the Newcomers' race on bank holiday Monday 26th August 2019.
Wednesday of race week will see the Junior MGP Race with the first of the two Lightweight/Ultra-lightweight races in the afternoon. Friday features the second Lightweight/Ultra-lightweight races in the morning, followed by the grand finale of the Senior MGP Race bringing the event to a close in the afternoon.
Once again, the Lightweight race will feature the popular 650cc twin cylinder machines, and the Ultra-lightweight race, the 400cc, 125cc and Moto 3 bikes. The club has decided to buck the trend and retain the class for 400 and 125cc bikes at a time when many race organisers have dropped the category.
Manx Motor Cycle Club chairman, Peter Maddocks said:
“We felt it was appropriate for us to retain the smaller capacity class as it offers an opportunity for younger new riders to enter the event and get them interested in competing on the Mountain Course.”
Any newcomers wishing to be considered for the 2019 event should register their interest by email to email@example.com
Practices for the 2019 Manx Grand Prix start on Saturday, August 17th and the event finishes with the Senior race on Friday, August 30th.
Photo by RCphotos