Meetings 1951 - 1970

TT 1970

The early Seventies proved to be a tough time for the TT, 1970 clearly illustrated the problems.

In a tragic year no fewer than six riders were killed during practice or racing. They included Spanish Grand Prix ace Santiago Herrero and promising Irish star Brian Steenson. The appalling crashes cast a great shadow over the Island and the very continuation of racing on the most demanding course in the world.

Agostini's total domination of the Senior and Junior events also did little to enhance the reputation of the races, although there were some tremendous dices behind him. As he raced away in the Senior, Peter Williams, riding an Arter Matchless, and Alan Barnett on a Seeley thrilled the sun-blessed crowds with a titanic battle. On the fourth lap Barnett, who was lying second, retired with mechanical problems and Williams grabbed the place, with the Kawasaki of Bill Smith third.

Barnett was in even better form, riding his four-stroke Aermacchi, in the Junior race, which was once again dominated by Agostini's MV Agusta. Barnett was at his best as he fought off the challenge of Paul Smart on the Yamaha twin to finish second.  The Benelli challenge never materialised, with Renzo Pasolini and Kel Carruthers both dropping out.

The 250 race was clouded by tragedy when Stan Woods and Herrero collided at the 13th Milestone while battling for third place. The young Spaniard died later from the injuries he sustained.

The 1970 World Championship was dominated by the new Yamaha twin-cylinder production machines and the TT was no exception. The previous year's winner, Kel Carruthers, rode one to a start-to-finish victory, with Rodney Gould second on a similar machines, although Gunter Bartusch broke the sequence, riding an MZ into third place.

A TT debutant, West German Dieter Braun, won the 125cc race on an ex-works Suzuki after 1969 winner, Dave Simmonds, went out on the second lap when his Kawasaki seized while he was leading. Borje Jansson (Maico) in second place and Bartusch (MZ) in third were also riding in their first TT meeting.

Much of the interest in the week focused on the Production race, which had been increased to five laps and was given International status.

The official Triumph entries were the new three-cylinder Tridents ridden by Malcolm Uphill and Tom Dickie. Norton Villiers entered  their development engineer Peter Williams and short-circuit ace Ray Pickrell on their 750cc Commando twins.

The stage was set for a battle, which produced a magnificent last lap. Uphill was the comfortable leader in the early stages, but Williams slowly pegged back his advantage and, with a record last lap, failed by just 1.6 seconds to catch the Welshman at the finish.

There was no such excitement in the 500cc class, with Frank Whiteway, riding Eddie Crooks's Suzuki T500 two-stroke twin, an easy winner. The 250cc division was very different, with Ducati-mounted Chas Mortimer the eventual winner after a four-machine battle.

BMW-powered Klaus Enders won the 500cc World Championship sidecar race from Siggi Schauzu and Heinz Luthringhauser. Earlier in the week Schauzu had won the 750cc sidecar race when early leader Enders retired on the second lap at the Highlander with Battery problems. Peter Brown was second, for the second year in succession, on his BSA.

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