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Competitor Profile: Tommy Robb

TT Career Summary

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Ulsterman Tommy Robb's TT career commenced in 1958, riding a NSU in the Lightweight [250cc] race, on the Clypse Course, he finished 8th His debut on the Mountain Course was to be in 1959, where riding a Norton in the Junior he completed the 6-lap race in 22nd position. Back on the 10.79mph Clypse circuit he took 4th Lightweight race on a GMS and 9th on a Ducati in the Ultra Lightweight TT. His TT Career took a downturn in fortune in the 1960 meeting, breaking his neck in a practice spill at Windy Corner. Returning to racing towards the end of the 1960, the following year was rather a low-key affair – all that changed in 1962 for Tommy had been ‘drafted’ into the Honda Team alongside Bob McIntyre, Jim Redman, Luigi Taveri, Tom Phillis and Kunimitsu Takahashi. His ‘debut’ TT’s on the Japanese machines brought him a second place in the 125cc race and a third in the inaugural 50cc TT. 1963 saw the Belfast equipped with three Hondas, 125cc; 250cc and 350cc versions on which he achieved 7th in the smallest machine; 5th in the Lightweight and an unwanted D.N.F. on the biggest bike. The Japanese dream was somewhat shattered just prior to the TT when his contract was terminated! However, the despair was not to last for long, as Phil Read approached him, offering him rides in the TT, replacing the unfit Fumio Ito in the Yamaha team, alongside himself and Mike Duff, where he took 7th in the Lightweight 250cc TT. 1965 to 1968 was to see Tommy riding Bultaco machinery with varying degrees of success, as is the ‘norm’ where the Snaefell Mountain Course is concerned. It was to be a similar story between 1969 and 1971, as a mixture of different machines were put to the ultimate test. 1972 Robb confined his racing to the Island of Ireland, winning the Irish 500cc Short Circuit Championship. However, in what was planned to be Tommy’s final TT year, 1973 everything came to fruition. Riding for Dublin sponsor, Danny Keaney on the ‘Danfay Yamahas’. It was to be a busy ‘swansong’ entered in five TT’s. Race week got off to a good start, with a 3td in the Production TT; while 16th and 23rd in the Junior and 250cc races followed, it was to be the Ultra Lightweight 125cc TT was to put the likable Ulsterman into the record books, for after 15 years of trying the took the coveted chequered flag at the end of the 113.19 mile race in what had been a start to finish victory from Dutchman Jan Kostwinder and Lincolnshire’s Neil Tuxworth. Friday 8th June 1973 was certainly a red-letter day for Tommy Robb! Tommy had ‘one-off’ rides in the 1979 Junior 250cc and Formula three TT’s, retiring in the former and finishing fifth in his final Island race.

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