It is the iconic image of the Isle of Man TT – the ultimate ambition of the world’s greatest road racers for 100 years.
The magnificent Senior TT Trophy embodies the history and importance of the event.
While the TT has changed – the circuit, the bikes, the rules, the status – the Senior Trophy remains a direct connection to that first historic running of the now legendary event.
Standing a staggering 108 centimetres tall and weighing in at 23.7 kilograms it is an awe-inspiring sight. The work of an Italian designer, the Senior TT Trophy was first presented in 1907, to Charlie Collier, and has been the reward for every TT hero who followed in his wheel-tracks to take the victor’s laurels at what is the blue riband TT event.
The trophy was donated to the Auto Cycle Club, now the Auto Cycle Union, by Joseph the Marquis de Mouzilly St Mars – whose name can still be seen on the award. He was President of the Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme in 1905-1906.
The Senior Trophy was based on the Montague Trophy, awarded to the winner of the TT car races which pre-dated the motorcycle TT, and was handed to the rider of the winning single cylinder machine.
Mercury, the Winged God of the Messengers from Roman mythology, is represented in silver, standing atop a winged wheel, also crafted from silver. The effigy is mounted on a tiered plinth featuring engraved shields detailing the winner of every Senior race.
The names read like a who’s who of motorcycling legends – Duke, Hailwood, Woods, Dunlop, Agostini and so many more.
As the TT story has grown, so has the Senior Trophy – it was originally 88cms high and weighed-in at 11.5kgs. A new base was added in 1937 to accommodate more shields bearing winners’ names. The trophy is in two parts because of the sheer weight.
There are seven blank shields left to fill – including one which will carry the name of the Centenary Senior winner – before the base has to be further extended
Although insured for at least £1.5million, it is a priceless, unique part of the TT’s heritage. It is kept in the Isle of Man, under tight security provided by G4S Security Services, and is accompanied on all its trips out of storage by ever-present guardian Lloyd Mister.
The Senior Trophy, plus all the other TT trophies, became his responsibility when he joined the security firm in 2000.
‘It came to me by chance. I had no interest in the TT. But then I took this on and it became contagious. I love the trophies, love showing them off whenever I can, it fills me with the greatest of pride.'
‘You never get used to seeing it. I see it every week and I am still staggered by it. I always notice something new about it.’
Whenever the Senior Trophy goes on display – which Lloyd believes is all too rarely – it is transported in two specially-built boxes. It is handled with gloves and a silver cloth used to polish it on each occasion.
Watching Lloyd set-up the trophy for display, it is obvious he holds as much respect and love for this extraordinary piece of TT heritage as any racer or fan.
Carefully extracted from boxes, labelled with no clue as to the identity of the treasure inside, the pieces that make up the trophy are handled with care, by gloved hands, placed gently together and the polished.
Originally from England, Lloyd is proud to the call the Isle of Man home and sees displaying the Senior Trophy and the other race awards as a small way of giving something back.
In 2006 Lloyd handed the trophy over to John McGuinness following his Senior victory and, since then, has accompanied it to several ‘personal’ appearances.
On Sunday, May 27, he will be with it once again when the Senior Trophy appears at the Gaiety Theatre from 10.30am until 4.30pm alongside the rest of the trophies – believed to be the first time the full collection has all been publicly displayed together.
The exhibition is free, although donations to the Joey Dunlop Foundation and Gaiety Theatre restoration fund will be gratefully received.
Lloyd explained the reaction to seeing the trophy ‘in the flesh’ is always the same.
‘Awe. There is always great interest. I don’t thing they get the viewings they deserve, they should get out a lot more, they are part of Manx heritage.’
One annual outing is when the victorious rider sees the reward for his labours, however Lloyd estimates the Senior winner spends just five minutes with the trophy before it is whisked away again. They can always organise a viewing and to have photos taken at a later date though.
Lloyd said the TT trophies he looks after are available for displays and functions. Contact the MMCC if you would like to host one of these stunning pieces of history.
Recognising the iconic status of the Senior TT Trophy, a stunning recreation of the Mercury-adorned award has been officially licensed for the Centenary TT.
Duke has commissioned an incredibly detailed, three-dimensional version of the trophy is captured in crystal, allowing fans to take home their own piece of TT history.
The highly-desirable collectable is available in 200mm and 80mm-tall versions, and comes in a specially-designed presentation box.
There will be limited numbers available in the Isle of Man during the Centenary TT, but they can also be ordered for home delivery.
The Senior Trophy recreation is available from the iomtt.com shop.