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Meetings 1971 - 1990

TT 1979

The Isle of Man celebrated its millennium in 1979 and the TT and the Classic Race provided a suitable acknowledgement of the 1000-year history of Tynwald, the Isle of Man parliament.

The six-lap Classic lived up to its title, but also marked the last appearance on the Mountain Circuit of the TT's favourite and then, most successful son, Mike Hailwood.

He had already won the Senior, riding a 500cc Suzuki, and if it had not been for the skill and determination of Scotsman Alex George he would have bowed out on a winning note.

George, riding a 1000cc Honda Britain four-stroke, and Mike, aboard a two-stroke four-cylinder 500cc Suzuki, fought a fantastic duel. George led for the first four laps, with Mike closing all the time. Mike snatched the lead on the penultimate circuit and, going into a dramatic last lap, led by just 0.8 of a second.

He still led at Ramsey, but climbing the Mountain, George retook the lead and won by just 3.4 seconds at an average speed of 113.08mph, the fastest ever for a TT race.

Mike bowed out gracefully after a superb effort, taking his only runner-up place in his TT career, while Charlie Williams magnificent ride into third place on the 2350cc Yamaha was overshadowed by the performance of the two men at the front.

Mike's 14th and final victory had come in the six-lap Senior, which he won comfortably with new race and lap records. Mick Grant led in the early stages, but was forced to retire in great pain from injuries he had sustained a couple of weeks earlier at the North West 200. Tony Rutter was second, with New Zealander Dennis Ireland third.

There was no fairy tale repeat performance for Mike Hailwood in the Formula One race, which was dominated by Alex George, who replaced the injured Grant in the Honda Britain team. He smashed the lap record from a standing start and pulled away from Charlie Williams and Ron Haslam. Mike was battling with Haslam for third, but slowed with mechanical problems on his Ducati, finishing fifth as a result.

Alan Jackson completed a hat-trick of victories in the Formula Two race, while Australian Barry Smith made a dramatic comeback by winning the Formula Three title on his Yamaha.

Charlie Williams dominated the six-lap Junior, leading from start to finish on his Yamaha. He smashed the 11-year-old record with a lap of 106.83mph. Australian Graeme McGregor eventually got the better of Ian Richards in a close race for second.

Swindon-based Trevor Ireson scored a notable double in the two sidecar races on his 750cc Yamaha powered outfit. Ireson, Dick Greasley and Mick Boddice fought tooth and nail in the first race until a fateful last lap. Greasley slowed, almost out of petrol, and Boddice stopped at Creg-ny-Baa to replace his chain, while Clive Pollington, Ireson's passenger, cut his arm on a kerb. He held on, however, and Ireson won from a spluttering Greasley, with Boddice, who set a new lap record, third. Ireson and Pollington had an easier passage in the second race, winning comfortably from Nigel Rollason and Dave Saville.