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Meetings 1971 - 1990

TT 1980

The decade marked the emergence of Ulsterman Joey Dunlop as one of the truly great TT riders.

The 1980 races really set the pattern for the rest of the decade. Joey Dunlop displayed his true road racing talent with a superb win in the six-lap Classic, riding his scruffy-looking Rea Racing Yamaha. There was nothing scruffy about Dunlop's performance, though, as he established a new absolute course record at 115.22mph.

He briefly lost the lead when Honda-mounted Mick Grant completed a lightning-quick fuel stop, but Dunlop soon redressed the balance, setting the new record on his last lap. Grant was second, with Honda teammate Ron Haslam third.

Grant had started the week by winning a controversial TT Formula One race, riding the works Honda. Sadly the previous year's winner, Alex George, was seriously injured in a practice crash at Ginger Hall, but Grant and New Zealander Graeme Crosby, riding a works Suzuki, fought a great duel in his absence.

Honda were not happy that Crosby had taken over the injured George's race number so that he could keep an eye on Grant. Early leaders Graeme McGregor and Haslam slowed with mechanical problems and Grant led at the end of the second lap, but Crosby moved ahead on the third. Grant was back in front on lap four and held on to win by 11 seconds, with Sam McClements third.

Suzuki then protested about the size of the tank on Grant's Honda, which had been filled with tennis balls to limit the capacity. The protest was thrown out, however, and Grant remained the winner.

Crosby won his first TT in the postponed six-lap Senior after a tremendous race with Ian Richards, who was forced out with a broken gearbox at Ballacraine on the last lap. Richards had led for most of the race, but trailed Crosby, riding the four-cylinder Suzuki, by just 1.6 seconds going into the last lap. Steve Cull and Steve Ward completed a Suzuki clean sweep.

Charlie Williams became one of the few riders to win two TT races in one day with easy victories in the postponed Junior 250 and Formula Two races. He started his day's work by leading the Formula Two race from start to finish on his Yamaha. He then switched to the 'racing' 250 Yamaha and repeated his performance in the four-lap Junior, once again dominating throughout. Ulsterman Donny Robinson, who set the fastest lap, was second, with the Cotton of Steve Tonkin third.

Barry Smith continued his success in the Formula Three race, while Trevor Ireson and Clive Pollington won their third TT sidecar event in succession. In damp conditions Jock Taylor was second and Dick Greasley third.

However, Taylor was just six seconds adrift at the end of that first leg and made no mistake in the second. He stormed away with passenger Benga Johansson to win easily from Ireson and Nigel Rollason and claim overall victory.