Scene set for superb finale to TT 2016
Thursday, June 09, 2016
It all seems to have gone by much too quickly once more, but tomorrow sees the final day of racing at the 2016 Isle of Man TT fuelled by Monster Energy
With Sure Sidecar TT Race 2 and the PokerStars Senior TT on the bill it promises to be a memorable affair.
The second sidecar race of the meeting opens proceedings at 10.15am (if all runs to schedule, see below). The prelude to the race has been laden with a sense of unfinished business.
The Brirchall brothers, Ben and Tom, will be raring to go and looking to make up for the frustrations of Saturday which saw the pair early leaders in the first Sidecar race of TT 2016 before the outfit cut out, leaving them sitting at the side of the course as John Holden and Andy Winkle took their second win in the class.
Similarly, Tim Reeves and Patrick Farrance have had a long run of ill-luck throughout this TT meeting and will be looking for a finish almost as much as a podium position.
The Bells, father Ian and son Carl, are another crew that showed a lot of promise during qualifying but suffered in racing. With a best lap at TT 2016 in excess of 113mph they certainly have the pace to challenge for podiums – if they can keep the machine going.
For 17-time TT winner Dave Molyneux it’s not so much a case of business left unfinished as one of not having had the chance to get down to work yet; technical issues sidelined the sidecar lap record holder and passenger Dan Sayle to the extent they didn’t make the line for Sure Sidecar TT Race 1.
With the outfit back on song you can be sure there won’t be any messing about from the successful Manx pairing.
Team Founds – brothers Alan and Peter with respective passengers Aki Aalto and Jevan Walmsley – took maiden podium positions on Saturday so will be going all out to repeat the result – especially as both outfits recorded their fastest laps of TT 2016 in the first sidecar race.
With strong performances throughout the field in the first sidecar race, Sure Sidecar TT Race 2 should be an excellent opening act in the final thrilling day of TT 2016.
The PokerStars Senior has a sense of bringing closure to a story that has been building for the last fortnight: in this case the phenomenal performances of Michael Dunlop and Ian Hutchinson.
With conditions perfect throughout practice week all competitors were able to hone their skills and polish their course knowledge, but it was the BMW pair (Hawk BMW/MDRacing and Tyco BMW respectively) who started putting the fast laps in early on.
It wasn’t until the first lap of the RST Superbike race, though, that it became clear just how determined Michael was to take the big bike wins that eluded him in 2015.
The first ever 133mph TT race lap came from a standing start and gave Michael a strong lead over Ian and the rest of the field. His second lap, 133.393mph assured Michael of the advantage and now stands as the current absolute lap record.
Ian replied to Michael’s win in the Superbike TT with wins in both Monster Energy Supersport races and in the RL360º Quantum Superstock TT Race – throwing in a 133.098mph standing start lap in the Superstock race for good measure.
Although Ian and Michael have dominated the headlines there have been a lot of other noteworthy – and consistent – performances from other top riders. Kawasaki stars Dean Harrison and James Hillier between them have finished on the podium, or just off it, in nearly every race they have contested (Hillier was sidelined with electrical gremlins early in the Superbike TT but was able to restart and salvage a decent finish).
Peter Hickman has shown promise ever since his debut in 2014 but has had an uncharacteristic run of mechanical woes in 2016. Despite that, he managed to join the 132 club during the RST Superbike TT Race with a lap of 132.465mph – certainly one to watch.
The second most successful TT rider of all time, John McGuinness certainly can never be discounted – especially after the heroic performance that saw him win the Senior in 2015 and set a then absolute lap record of 132.701mph into the bargain. The Honda Racing man has a vast store of experience and skill on which to draw, but will that be enough to tame the flying BMW stars?
It will very much depend on how Bruce Anstey feels as to whether or not the Flying Kiwi is able to turn in a race winning performance on the Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Motorcycles RC213V-S; certainly the man and his bike have proven popular with the fans this year, even if his off at Keppel Gate in qualifying has limited the performance somewhat.
Michael Rutter surprised a few commentators with a strong qualifying week and an even stronger Superbike race. Mounted on the Batham’s SMT Racing BMW, the Blade proved that you write him off at your peril by taking sixth place and has gone on to strong results in the other races too.
With the marque’s first 130+mph lap and a top ten finish, Norton’s Davo Johnson made the teams’ day in the RST Superbike race – surely he’ll be going for more in Friday’s race.
With a field packed with talent and interest from #1 down, and some promising newcomers to boot, Friday’s PokerStars Senior TT looks set to be a scintillating finale for a record-breaking TT.
The Weather Forecast
With uncertainty surrounding Friday’s weaher from early in race weeks, there has been some speculation about whether Friday’s racing would run to schedule. The latest forecast from the Met Office at Ronaldsway looks promising. Keep an eye on iomtt.com, @iom_tt on twitter and the official Isle of Man TT facebook page for any updates on schedules:
Issued on Friday, 10 June 2016 at 5:00am by Ronaldsway Met Office
Mist will affect many places at first today, but this will become increasingly confined to the coastal fringes as the day goes on. Otherwise, it will be a mostly cloudy day, although a few bright spells may develop later, and it will probably stay dry with only a small chance of a localised shower cropping-up. Maximum temperature 18 Celsius.
Friday 10th June
Please note: The Creg-ny-baa Fanzone will not be open for Friday’s races, please call 01624 640 011 for information or refunds