Michael Dunlop, Ryan Farquhar, Michael Rutter, William Dunlop, Cameron Donald and Ian Lougher are among the leading names confirmed for the Lightweight class at the 2012 Isle of Man TT fuelled by Monster Energy.
The re-introduction of the Lightweight TT, this time with SuperTwin machines, has seen an excellent response with more 60 entries submitted as entries closed.
As well as being high in quantity, the race is also set to be high in quality with six former TT race winners in the line-up.
KMR Kawasaki’s Farquhar is an early favourite for honours, given his track record and the fact he’s been a major flag bearer of the class. He will be bidding for TT win number three, but can expect tough opposition from a number of riders, not least his new teammate Rutter.
Midlands-based Rutter, a double TT winner, will ride a Farquhar-prepared ER6 Kawasaki. This will be his only appearance in the SuperTwin class in 2012, and he will certainly be a potential race winner.
Another early contender for the race win will be Northern Ireland favourite Michael Dunlop. Winner of the 2011 Royal London 360 Superstock Race, Dunlop has announced he will contest the new 3-lap race on an ER6, while brother William, who will be chasing his first TT podium, has also entered with an ER6.
Cameron Donald and Ian Lougher are two more TT winners confirmed in the class on the Kawasaki machines, the Australian riding for the DP Coldplaning team and the veteran Welshman in the colours of Stewart Smith Racing.
The Kawasaki is the most popular choice of machine.
James Hillier will be riding another bike prepared by Farquhar, although he will run it in his regular Bournemouth Pr1mo Kawasaki livery.
Last year’s fastest newcomer Simon Andrews, three-time TT winner Adrian Archibald and Irish road race aces John Burrows and Davy Morgan can also be expected to feature on the leaderboard on their ER6 bikes.
Although Kawasakis dominate the entry, Suzuki will have a strong presence with their hopes resting on Dan Kneen and Ben Wylie. The young duo not only have a great chance of spoiling Kawasaki’s hopes, but also claiming their first TT podium in Friday’s 3-lap race.
Meanwhile, a number of leading privateers have, as hoped, embraced the new class with Ian Mackman, Ian Pattinson, Paul Shoesmith, Russ Mountford, Rob Barber, Stephen Thompson, Dean Harrison and the returning Olie Linsdell all entering.
TT Rider Liaison Officer John Barton will also contest the race, while newcomer Jamie Hamilton will be the third orange and black KMR Kawasaki lining up on Glencrutchery Road.
Winner of the corresponding race at last year’s Manx Grand Prix, Dave Moffit, is also among the entry.
Isle of Man Government TT and Motorsport Development Manager Paul Phillips said:
“We’re really pleased with the quality of the line-up, which is exactly what we’d hoped for when we announced the race.”
“We’ve had great response from teams and riders and this race already looks like being one of the highlights of this year’s event.”