Not surprisingly, the first TT of the new decade saw the big productions machines dropped from the event after last year’s tragedies in the 1300cc production race.
Wisely it was decided that these bikes were just too heavy and powerful to control around the 37 ¾ mile circuit at lap speeds approaching 120mph.
Blackburn’s World Formula One Champion Carl Fogarty, was a start to finish winner of the opening race of the 1990 Isle of Man TT Series. Riding his Honda Britain RC30 machine, Fogarty averaged 118.35mph for the six-lap race on the way to his second TT victory.
Loctite Yamaha rider Nick Jefferies rode to a steady second place ahead of Ulster hero Robert Dunlop on the JPS Norton. Scotsman Steve Hislop, who had a frustrating day with machine problems, scorched round on the final lap to blitz his own lap record and leave it at an incredible 122.63mph on his way to a lowly ninth place, just behind come-back man Joey Dunlop.
Robert Dunlop dominated the three-lap 125 TT on Patsy O’Kane’s Honda leading from start to finish, and setting a new lap record at 104.09mph to beat Ian Newton by some twenty seconds with Michael Topping a surprise third.
Ian Lougher, one of the pre-race favourites, retired with a seized engine after only three miles at Ballagarey.
At the end of the lap Robert had pulled out a seven second lead over Newton, who was in turn fourteen seconds ahead of Robert’s brother Joey. Robert’s second lap was a record at 104.09mph and, barring misfortune, he was on his way to a certain victory. Joey and Ian Newton went off on their last lap, side by side down Bray Hill, but unfortunately Joey’s bike expired at Kirk Michael, letting Michael Topping through into third over a minute behind Newton.
Robert just ‘cruised’ around on his final circuit, obviously tired after his six laps on the JPS Norton earlier in the day.
Popular Dave Leach won an exciting inaugural Supersport 400cc race on the FZR-400 Yamaha, from Carl Fogarty on the FVR 400 Honda with veteran Leeds rider Steve Ward third on the ZXR 400 Kawasaki. There was some controversy after the race, when Scottish rider Jim Moodie protested that the top eight riders’ machines had all been using illegal parts. However this protest was later rejected by the ACU, though it became clear that the rules and regulations for this particular class will have to be suitably clarified before next year’s TT!
Welshman Ian Lougher scored a superb victory over race favourite Steve Hislop in the Junior race. On Ray Cowles’s 250 Yamaha. Lougher pipped Hislop by 1.8 seconds and he smashed the race and lap records, going round on his last lap at an incredible 117.80mph, 38 seconds inside Eddie Laycock’s 1989 record. Laycock finished in third place some two minutes behind the leading duo. Brian Reid had been holding a safe third until his engine seized just before Ballacraine on the final lap.
The pattern of the race was established from as early as lap one at Ballacraine, then Manx Radio’s first commentary point, where Hislop was one second up on Lougher, with Reid, who had got an earlier starting number so as to be ‘in with the fast men’, two seconds down on the Welshman.
At Ballaugh, Hislop had overtaken Eddie Laycock, who had started ten seconds ahead of him, and was now two seconds up on Lougher, with Reid third. By the Bungalow, Johnny Rea, last year's Junior winner, had overtaken Steve Williams to lead on the road, but on corrected time, Rea was down in sixth place.
On completion of lap one, Hislop with a new lap record of 114.93mph led the way, only 1.8 seconds ahead of Ian Lougher. Brian Reid was some 11 seconds back in third, followed by Ian Newton, Carl Fogarty and the rest of the Irish quarter of Johnny Rae, Joey Dunlop Eddie Laycock and Phillip McCallen. Joey, in fact, had to start from the rear of the field after having to fit a new battery on the start-line.
Hislop’s second lap was another record at 116.55mph, then came his pit stop – when his fuel cap was dropped into his fairing – losing him several seconds, while Lougher had a smooth stop. Hislop’s lost time in the pits showed at Ballacraine on lap three, as he had surrendered his lead to Lougher. Steve was now two seconds in arrears. By Ballaugh he had pulled back one second, while Reid was still third.
By the time they had flashed through to start their fourth and final lap, Hislop was back into the lead again by just 2.4 seconds from Lougher with Reid now half a minute down. At the end of lap three, both Joey Dunlop and Ian Newton retired from the race, due to mechanical problems.
By Ballacraine on the last circuit Lougher was amazingly back into the lead again, albeit by only one second. The unlucky Brian Reid who had held third throughout the race, was forced out at Ballacraine with a seized engine and this let Eddie Laycock through into third place. At Ballaugh commentator Fred Clarke revealed that Lougher was now two seconds ahead. It was also clear that the lap record was going to be given a hammering, as Hislop had been timed at over 117mph on a flying Ballaugh to Ballaugh lap!
The positions were the same at the Bungalow, and everyone waited to see if Hislop could again get the better run down the Mountain, and snatch a dramatic victory.
However, Lougher wasn’t going to be denied his first TT win and with a blistering lap of 19 minutes 13 seconds - 117.80mph - he held on to win by 1.8 seconds. Brian Reid scored a great win in the Supersport 600 race, riding the Budweiser FZR600 Yamaha. In fact it was an Ulster one-two-three-four as behind Reid came Johnny Rea on Joe Millar’s Yamaha, Steven Cull third on Charlie Smiley’s Yamaha and Mark Farmer on Colin Aldridge’s Yamaha fourth.
Veteran English rider Bob Jackson was fifth and Jim Moodie sixth. Dave Leach retired on lap two while leading, but had the consolation of a new lap record on his opening lap of 114.21mph.
Carl Fogarty completed a famous TT double when he led the rain-hit Senior from start to finish. Trevor Nation, still in pain from his cracked ribs, valiantly steered the JPS Norton into an excellent second place, while Dave Leach made up for his disappointment in the 600cc race by finishing third on his 750 Yamaha, also setting the fastest lap at 116.47mph.
There wasn’t much luck for Phillip McCallen - he crashed out at the Nook when his RC30 Honda hit a neutral on lap four, while he was lying in an excellent third place. Robert Dunlop’s JPS Norton expired at Kirk Michael when he was in fifth.
The Senior race was delayed from 11.00am until 4.30pm due to bad weather and this made tyre choice difficult for the top riders as conditions were mixed around the circuit. Trevor Nation was an early leader on the opening lap, although by the completion of the first of the six laps it was Foggy who led on corrected time by some twenty-two seconds!
Nick Jefferies had crashed at Lambfell and had been transferred to Noble's Hospital with a suspected broken shoulder and ankle. Mark Farmer was one of the retirements at the conclusion of the first lap because of the hazardous conditions, followed by Hislop at the end of the second lap.
At half distance Fogarty was nearly a minute ahead of McCallen, who fitted a new tyre during his pit stop, and he was in turn two-seconds ahead of Nation. McCallen's departure let Dave Leach through into third behind the rapid Fogarty and Nation.
By lap five Fogarty had extended his lead over Nation to seventy-four seconds. Unfortunately, Robert Dunlop, who had been running fifth, had to retire from the race when his exhaust set fire to the fairing of the JPS Norton.
As conditions improved on the sixth and final lap, Carl Fogarty crossed the line to complete a fantastic week for himself, with two wins, a second and a fourth position. Trevor Nation came home in a great second place on the JPS Norton, while Dave Leach in third spot, put in the fastest lap of the race at a respectable 116.47mph.
Dave Saville dominated both Sidecar TTs.
In the first race, Saville achieved his ambition by becoming the first man to lap the TT circuit on a Formula Two outfit at 100mph. Not only did he do this, but he and passenger Nick Roche averaged over 100mph for the three laps. Dave finished nearly two minutes ahead of archrival Mick Boddice in the first race, and in Race B was over two minutes ahead of second place mans Geoff Bell. Third in Race A was Neil Smyth and in Race B was Peter Krukowski with Chris McGahan in the chair.