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Meetings 1991 - 2009

TT 1998

In 1998 Honda celebrated their fortieth anniversary on the Isle of Man - it turned out to be one of the wettest meetings ever, and for only the second time in TT history a race was cancelled.

The TT Formula One race was postponed from the Saturday, it had a delayed start and was reduced from six laps to four. Michael Rutter set the early pace on his 750 Honda to lead teammate Ian Simpson  for the first three laps, gradually increasing his lead.

Michael again had trouble with a contact lens and on the last lap Ian Simpson, with the fastest lap of the race at 123.38mph, took the victory by just 2.2 seconds, with James Courtney third, making it a Honda one-two-three.

The first sidecar race was cancelled and the organisers announced the prize fund for the race would be added to the Sidecar Race B prize fund.

The B race was the first race of the week to run the full distance - three laps. Lap and race record-holder Dave Molyneux was back with Honda-backed machinery and found the conditions to his liking, leading from start to finish he took the win with a 79.3 second advantage from Kenny Howles with Gary Horspole third.

The Singles TT was reduced to three laps and once again it was the BMW of David Morris that led at the end of the opening lap, and continued to do so throughout. Despite the efforts of Jim Moodie and Mick Jeffreys, Morris claimed his second TT victory.

Run concurrently with the Single Race, the Ultra Lightweight TT was also reduced from four to three laps and proved to be a very popular start to finish victory for Robert Dunlop. Even though Ian Lougher blasted around the final lap at 107.53mph he couldn't catch the flying Ulsterman and had to be content with being the filling in the sandwich as Robert's fellow countryman Owen McNally came home in third place -  all mounted on their 'little' Honda machines.

The Lightweight TT was also reduced from four laps to three and, as soon as the flag dropped, the rain started. The opening lap in the prevailing conditions by Joey Dunlop must rank as one of his bravest ever, he went round in 22 m 31.4 s - a speed of 100.50mph - to lead John McGuinness by 34.4 seconds with James Courtney third.

The weather really deteriorated as the opening lap was in progress, and the Clerk of the Course announced that the race would be reduced to two laps. Some of the riders came in for fuel and were waved away by their pit crews. Joey sailed straight through to notch up victory number twenty-three in his 23rd year of TT racing! He won from Bob Jackson and John McGuinness.

The Junior TT, also reduced from its 'traditional' four laps to three, saw Jim Moodie open the action with a lap of 118.49mph to lead Ian Simpson and Michael Rutter. Conditions on the second lap caused the lap speed to drop on the second lap and, as the times were posted, it was Rutter in the lead from Simpson, with Bob Jackson now in third place. Michael Rutter went on to win his first TT race by 4.7 seconds from teammate Ian Simpson. With a really fast last lap, Manxman Paul Dedman jumped from seventh place to take third at the flag.

The final race day dawned fine and sunny as riders lined up for the three lap Production TT. With 99 wins under their belt, could Honda make it 100 in their anniversary year? The answer was yes, as Jim Moodie stormed round the 113 miles at a record-breaking race speed of 119.19mph.

Not only did Jim Moodie give Honda their 100th TT win, he also entered the record books becoming the first rider to top 120mph lap on a Production machine at 120.70mph. Nigel Davies on his Kawasaki finished second, with Michael Rutter third. Marc Flynn once again took the 750cc class award.

The Senior TT brought the curtain down on the 1998 Races - the six lap race with the fastest lap at over 123mph turned out to be a cracker and a fitting climax to Hondas celebrations as Ian Simpson took the chequered flag.

Michael Rutter set the pace on the opening lap in 18minutes 23.9 seconds - 123.04mph - as it turned out the fastest lap of the race. He led Ian Simpson by 10.6 seconds with the 500 Honda of Jim Moodie third. James Courtney, Simon Beck and Bob Jackson completed the top six.

The top three remained the same after lap two had been completed, Rutter leading Simpson by 11.8 seconds. Bob Jackson moved up to fourth, Simon Beck remained fifth and Ian Lougher slotted into sixth on his 500 Honda ahead of Courtney. Bob Jackson surprised everyone by going for a one stop race, so at the end of the third lap, half distance, he led the race from Ian Simpson by 30.7 seconds. Jim Moodie was still third.

Bob Jackson lost valuable time in the pits when the filler cap refused to tighten, so at the end of lap four Simpson was back in front by nearly 30 seconds from Courtney with Lougher third. Moodie retired at Sulby Bridge. The pit stops evened out at the end of the fifth lap and Simpson led from Jackson by just 4.4 seconds with Lougher third.

The final lap and could Bob Jackson snatch victory? He lapped 0.7 of a second faster than Ian Simpson, who won by 3.7 seconds with James Courtney third.