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Meetings 1971 - 1990

TT 1986

The1986 produced a real mixed bag of emotions, weather and results.

Four riders were killed, with Gene McDonnell losing his life in the most horrific accident ever witnessed at the TT.

The weather severely disrupted the programme, which produced a number of surprise, but worthy winners.

Probably the biggest shock came in the six-lap Senior, which was started by His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent. Honda's Roger Marshall was the early leader from the in-form Trevor Nation, Dunlop and Roger Burnett, who was riding a three-cylinder two-stroke Rothmans Honda.

Nation was flying on his four-stroke Suzuki and led Marshall by 3.6 seconds going into the fourth lap when misfortune struck. The west country star ran out of petrol at the 32nd Milestone and Marshall took over at the front. His lead disappeared after a long pit stop to adjust his chain and, when Dunlop spent three minutes in the pits with steering damper problems, Burnett seized his big chance, winning comfortably from Honda mounted Geoff Johnson, with Barry Woodland third on his Suzuki.

The Formula One race was postponed for a couple of days and was reduced to four laps, but that made no difference to Joey Dunlop, who duly completed his fourth consecutive victory on the Rothmans Honda four-stroke. He led from start to finish, with almost a minute to spare at the chequered flag from Johnson and Andy McGladdery.

The Formula Two race was also reduced to four laps, but this time Brian Reid made no mistakes with his fuel calculations. He led all the way on his Yamaha, establishing new race and lap records, with the consistent John Weedon second and Neil Tuxworth third.

Unfortunately Reid unwittingly played a part in the events that led to McDonnell's fatal accident in the Junior race.

Reid crashed at Ballaugh Bridge and the helicopter was despatched to fly him to hospital. The noise of the helicopter frightened a horse, which ran onto the course after jumping several fences and gates. McDonnell collided with the animal and was killed instantly. His bike burst into flames after sliding into a local garage and hitting some parked cars.

Everybody was numbed - apart from one of the other riders who, unaware of the catastrophe, raced on. Steve Cull won on his Honda from Phil Mellor and Graham Cannell, although the result meant little to those on the Island at the time, including the winner.

Trevor Nation annihilated the race and lap records in the Production Class A race on a GSX-R1100 Suzuki. He produced the first under 20-minutes lap by a production machine and a new record of 113.26mph on his way to victory over Kevin Wilson and Brian Morrison.

Gary Padgett and Malcolm Wheeler fought a breathtaking duel in the Production Class C race. Having started together on the roads, they fought out a short-circuit-type battle, swapping the lead a couple of times on the last lap, but at the flag the Padgett's Suzuki held a one-second advantage over Wheeler's Kawasaki.

Nobody gave Phil Mellor such a hard time in Production Class B. The popular Yorkshireman destroyed the opposition on his GSX-R750 Suzuki, his new lap record of 110.69mph representing an increase of almost 5 miles per hour!

Mat Oxley was also in record-breaking form in Production Class D, although he did not win the race. He became the first rider to top the 100mph barrier on a 250cc production machine, but slid off his Yamaha at Governor's Bridge trying to catch eventual winner Barry Woodland.

The sidecar races produced two new winners and a host of notable retirements.

Grandfather Lowry Burton and passenger Pat Cushnahan became the first Irish pair to win a TT sidecar race with victory in the first leg. Boddice and Bingham went out on the first lap and Greasley, who was leading at the time, on the second. Burton took full advantage to win from Warwick Newman and Mick Burcombe.

The 750cc Barton Phoenix engine was probably best known for its role in the film Silver Dream Racer - until, that is, it powered Nigel Rollason and Donne Williams to victory in the second sidecar race. They were only sixth at the end of the first lap, but steadily moved up when Chas Birks fell out of Mick Boddice's chair at Greeba Castle and Burton and Hallam retired with mechanical problems. Derek Plummer was at the head of the field, but on the last lap got the Silver Dream Racer in front to secure a famous victory.