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Meetings 1971 - 1990

TT 1988

Joey Dunlop continued to make all the headlines in a cluttered eight-race programme in 1988.

Off the track hemade the front pages after being banned following a drinking and driving offence. On the track he made the back pages with three magnificent wins, which put him just one victory away from Mike Hailwood's 14-win record.

Once again the programme was production-orientated, which certainly lured the manufacturers and dealers back to the Island while not always pleasing the purists!

Dunlop had never enjoyed production racing and his three wins came on 'pukka' racing machinery.

The first, predictably, was in the TT Formula One event. He did not receive a works RVF machine from Honda and rode a standard RC30, but it made no difference. He stamped his authority on proceedings from the start and destroyed his own absolute lap record when he averaged 118.54mph on his second lap.

The young pretender to his crown, Steve Hislop, chased hard, but his Honda seized at Ballaugh with just one and a half laps to go. Attention turned to a great battle between Nick Jefferies and Geoff Johnson, which ended when Johnson retired on the last lap at Ballacraine with oil pouring from his Bimota Yamaha. Honda-mounted Jefferies clinched second, with Roger Burnett a brave third on a similar machine, having ridden for 30 miles with a flat rear tyre!

Dunlop's final win of the week in the six-lap Senior could not have been more different. He was engaged in the fastest duel ever witnessed (at that time) over the Mountain Course with fellow countryman Steve Cull. Riding the three-cylinder RS500 Honda, Cull upped the absolute lap record to 119.08mph, but slowed with a holed expansion chamber. He dropped to fourth on the last lap when his bike burst into flames between Creg-ny-Baa and Brandish.

He could only watch as his £15,000 motorcycle was completely burnt out. Hislop was second  with Johnson third.

In between these two victories, Dunlop won the Junior on his RS250 Honda, despite losing time at his pit stop when he dropped the filler cap into the fairing. Reid, in great pain from a broken toe, was a courageous second from Eddie Laycock. Scotsman Brian Morrison won the Formula Two class, which was incorporated into the race, on his CBR600 Honda.

Morrison had started the week by wining the Production Class C (400cc two-strokes/600cc four-strokes) race after a superb clash with Kawasaki-mounted Roger Hurst. Kawasaki looked the likely winners on their long-awaited return to the Island, Hurst leading until the last lap at Ballaugh, where Morrison's CBR600 moved ahead for the first time.

Barry Woodland was lucky to win the Production Class D for the third year in succession. He was cruising to victory on the FZR400R Yamaha when Brian Warburton's Honda cannoned  into him at Greeba Bridge. Tragically Warburton was killed in the crash but Woodland stayed on. Despite the loss of his brakes he managed to finish 16 seconds in front of Australian Graeme McGregor, riding a 250cc Suzuki he'd only seen that morning.

The Production Class A race produced one of the closest TT finishes of all time. After a magnificent all-Yamaha, all-Yorkshire duel, just 0.8 of a second separated winner Dave Leach and Geoff Johnson. Despite finishing second, Johnson had the consolation of a record lap at 116.55mph, which was over three mph quicker than Nation's old record.

Despite having to stop three times in four laps to take on fuel, the RC30 Hondas of Hislop and Morrison dominated the Class B race. At the finish Hislop won by just 12 seconds from his team-mate, with Johnson third on a Bimota Yamaha.

Mick Boddice had his old passenger Chas Birks back after a long lay-off following his fall at Greeba Castle two years earlier and achieved a lifelong ambition by winning both sidecar races.

They were easy winners of the first race, after fitting a special 16-gallon tank, which meant no fuel stops. How Tony Baker must have wished for a similar tank after running out of fuel at Creg-ny-Baa on the last lap having looked certain to take second.

Boddice's other win was much tougher after he'd lost the use of the clutch on the first lap. Going into the last, Kenny Howles and Steve Pointer led by two seconds. Their chain then started jumping the sprocket, dropping them to third behind Boddice and Lowry Burton.