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Competitor Profile: Tom Herron

TT Career Summary

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Ulsterman Tom Herron rode in the TT’s between 1970 and 1978 gaining three wins during that time. After gaining a Silver Replica for his 13th place in the Lightweight 250 TT on a Yamaha, disaster struck during the Junior, getting caught out at Ballacraine he received injuries to his hip and vertebrae putting him out for the season. A further ‘prang’ at the ’71 North West meant that he missed that years TT. However, Tom returned to relearn the course in 1972 – this time it was the machines that prevented him finishing any of the three races he started! 1973 saw him take 9the place in the Lightweight 250 TT, but was a retirement in the Junior. Nineteen Seventy-four saw Tom Herron entered in four classes, 250; 350; Senior and the 125! It turned out to be a good TT for him, picking up four silver replicas. He was 4th in the 250, 4th again in the 350, 3rd in the 125 and took 15th in the Senior. Herron return to the podium in 1975 achieving another third place, this time in the Junior class. Tom’s big ambition was to win a TT – 1976 was to realise his wish, with not one but two magnificent wins on the Mountain Course. He opened his ‘account’ with a record breaking win in the Lightweight 250 at 103.55 mph and put the icing on the cake in the ‘blue-riband’ Senior TT, winning by 3.4 seconds from Ian Richards, setting a new lap record at 112.27 mph in the process. Two further podium places were gained in 1977, a third in the Junior 250 and an excellent second in the Senior TT on his 348cc Yamaha. Nineteen Seventy-eight saw the very popular Ulsterman arrive on the Island straight from an excellent North West achieving a double victory. He was entered in the F1 and was up against comeback rider, Mike Hailwood – he held onto the great man for two laps, but the frame of his Honda broke forcing him to retire on the third of the six laps. In the senior on Jim Finlay’s RG500 Suzuki he had a dramatic battle with Californian Pat Hennon, Tom eventually taking the chequered flag with a race record of 111.74 mph. Unknown to all concerned at the time, the Junior TT where Tom finished third was to be his final race on the Mountain Course, as he was fatally injured during the 1979 North West 200 in his native Northern Ireland.

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