The 2014 Isle of Man TT fortnight concluded on a beautiful, sunny Friday afternoon, with Michael Dunlop propelling himself into history by winning the big one, the PokerStars Senior TT race. This was the second-consecutive year that Dunlop has won four races in a week, giving him, at only 25 years of age, 11 career TT race wins. His uncle, the late, great Joey Dunlop, eventually went on to win a record 26 TTs.
Conditions around the Mountain Course remained ideal for the entire 6-lap race, and Dunlop, riding for BMW Motorrad, claimed victory 14 seconds ahead of Manx native Conor Cummins on his Honda Racing CBR1000RR Fireblade, with Guy Martin on the Tyco Suzuki in third.
Bruce Anstey and James Hillier diced with each other for the entire 226-mile race, with Anstey, who earlier in the week set the outright TT lap record at 132.298 mph on the Padgett’s Honda CBR1000RR, prevailing by 1.4 seconds over Hillier’s Kawasaki. John McGuinness, battling a wrist injury, came in sixth, ending a tough week for the ‘King of The Mountain,’ whose sole win came in the TT Zero electric bike race.
In that one-lap race, McGuinness took his Team Mugen Shinden San bike to a new record for an electric motorcycle, ripping a 117.3-mph lap and reaching a top speed of over 150 mph on the Sulby Straight. That would have been unimaginable only a few years back, and it’s evident that electric motorbikes, for street and for racing, are developing incredibly rapidly.
Earlier in the week, Gary Johnson, on the Smiths’ Triumph Daytona 675, claimed a nail-biter victory in Supersport Race 1, besting Anstey by a mere 1.5 seconds. Johnson’s victory was the first for Triumph at the TT since Bruce Anstey won the 2003 Junior.
Sidecar racing remains an essential part of the TT experience, and the team of Dave Molyneux/Patrick Farrance won the second Sure Sidecar TT race on Thursday afternoon. It was Manxman Moly’s 17th TT win. On the flip side, Conrad Harrison won his first TT with passenger Mike Aylott in the first Sidecar TT race. Harrison has been racing the Mountain Course since 1993.
Let it not be forgotten that the TT remains a uniquely dangerous motorsports event. Karl Harris, 34, and Bob Price, 65, both popular in the paddock and with long racing careers, lost their lives as the result of crashes. Martin Jessopp, William Dunlop, Horst Saiger and Johnson all sustained non-life threatening injuries from incidents on the Mountain Course.
Despite the known risks and unique challenges associated with racing the TT, there is a new generation of road racers coming on board, and this is a good thing for the future of road racing. While 40-something stalwarts like McGuinness and Anstey still have what it takes to win, relative youngsters like Hillier, Josh Brookes, Dean Harrison and the brothers Dunlop are on the rise and promise to be racking up wins and podium positions for another decade or more. It is apparent that Michael Dunlop is on a surge towards becoming one of the greatest road racers and TT champions of all time.
Newcomer Peter Hickman set the fastest ever lap by a first timer with a stunning lap of 129.1 mph. Ivan Lintin took the Privateer’s Championship with 97 points overall. It was great seeing American racers Mark Miller and Brandon Cretu on EBR 1190RS Superbikes draw lots of interest and vocal support. The Splitlath Redmond team EBR V-Twins overcame some hiccups, performed well, looked distinctive and sounded utterly fantastic.
Once thought to be a dangerous anachronism, with waning interest and a bleak future, the Isle of Man TT has reinvented itself since the 2007 centenary festival, and is now on a major growth curve. Attendance, revenue and global TV coverage have never been stronger, and awareness of the races is rising, especially in the U.S. The Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix, held in August, are being renewed and expanded. The Isle of Man Government has completed an initial feasibility study into the formation of a World Series of Motorcycle Races based around the TT.
The future of the TT is bright, and the Isle of Man is a spectacular place to visit. The TT is the most immersive motorsports event on Earth, and all motorcycle enthusiasts should put a trip to the TT at the top of their bucket list. My planning for TT 2015 is already afoot.
2014 Isle of Man TT Race Results
Dainese Superbike TT Results
Sure Sidecar TT 1 Results
Monster Supersport TT 1 Results
RL360 Superstock TT Results
SES TT Zero Results
Monster Supersport TT 2 Results
Sure Sidecar TT 2 Results
Bikenation Lightweight TT Results
PokerStars Senior TT Results