Behind the scenes at the TT: Trophy tales

Published: 25 May 2016

‘When I look at them I think how much I’ve spent to earn them’

hey are the reward after two weeks of TT torture, but what do the replicas mean to the riders who have won the most?

 

The TT legend

John mcguinness
Number of replicas 91

As the second most successful TT rider of all time and the fastest man around the Mountain course, John McGuinness’ replicas mean the world to him, but he was still prepared to let one go for a good cause...

“I’ve still got all of my replicas at home. No, actually that’s not quite true; I’ve got them all but one – my 127.68mph lap record one from 2004. I auctioned it off in a charity event to raise money for Gus Scott’s family [after Scott was killed in the 2005 Senior TT] – and it’s the only one I’ve ever let go. Gus was a really good mate of mine, and I actually put a reserve on it myself because I really didn’t want to let it go. But it ended up making an awful lot more than my reserve, and the whole auction raised nearly £30,000. I actually don’t know who’s got it, but it’s probably sat on someone’s mantelpiece somewhere.

“You get replicas for all sorts of things, not just winning but fastest laps, TT championships, and finishing within a certain percentage of the winner’s time, so I’ve probably got about 90 of them at home, and each one has its own story behind it. I’m dead proud of them and I have them all out on display on shelves at home. When people come round to visit they’re always impressed by them so there is a bit of a wow factor there – but they go manky really easy and take a lot of cleaning.

“Even now, it’s still really special to be awarded a TT replica. It’s great to go to the presentation ceremony with your team regardless of where you’ve finished because you’ve all worked so hard for two weeks, as well as all the months of testing beforehand. They’re really special trophies.”

The TT addict

Dave Madsen-Mygdal
Number of replicas 45

‘We brought it home to Wales from the Island and my mum had it in her living room window for a bit’

With 112 finishes so far, Dave Madsen-Mygdal is the TT’s most prolific rider. But despite having over 40 Mountain course prizes, he still wants more...

“All of my TT trophies mean a lot to me, but there are a couple that really stand out – the very first silver replica I got for coming fourth in the Formula 1 race in 1997, and the replica I got for the race where I did my fastest ever lap (121mph), but it’s the special one that I was awarded for my 100 finishes in 2013 that means the most to me.

“It almost didn’t happen in 2013 because I only had five races that I was eligible to compete in and I needed six finishes to reach my goal. But luckily a local racing team stepped in to let me ride their supertwin in the Lightweight TT. It was a really great race and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it was made even better on the last lap knowing that I’d almost reached 100 finishes – all the fans were waving and cheering me all the way round.

“But it was my son Mark [who tragically lost his life just weeks later racing at the Southern 100] who made the trophy happen. He campaigned the TT organiers to recognise my 100 finishes, using Facebook and Twitter, and drummed up loads of support. I didn’t think the TT people would actually recognise it, but to my surprise they awarded me with this trophy on the Friday after the Senior race in the same presentation where they award all the winners’ trophies in pit lane.

“I keep all my good trophies in the dining room, although it’s more like a trophy room because we only use it at Christmas. When it comes to the dusting, there’s an awful lot to keep on top of; I don’t quite know how many there are but there’s about 12 silvers, 30 bronzes and I was given a special gold one for my 100th start – but the 100 finishes mean so much more. 

“When I look at them I think about how much money they’re worth – not in terms of their physical value but what I’ve spent in order to earn them. Financially I spent everything on it; all my money goes into racing. I’m 60 now but when I was younger, racing was all about results and pushing myself, but now I’m doing it for the enjoyment – I just really love riding around the place - and as long as I’m not going backwards or any slower, and come home with at least one replica, I’m happy. I always need to get a replica.”

The most decorated

Ian Lougher
Number of replicas 93

‘Even now, it’s still really special to be awarded a TT replica’

Making his TT comeback riding the Suter 500 in this year’s Senior, no other winning rider has had more starts than Lougher. But no other rider almost lost the winner’s trophy in a Pontypool pub, either...

“I’ve got about 90 replicas I think, I’ve never actually counted them. You end up giving a few away, like I gave one to Crescent when I rode for them in the production 750 class in 1996 and all they wanted was the trophy, and I’ve given the odd one or two away to sponsors, but not many. I’ve got them all here in my office and I see them every day.

“Even though I’m not really much of a trophy person, the one that means the most to me is probably my first win from 1990, when I beat Steve Hislop in the Junior 250cc TT. Steve had a works Honda ride and I was a privateer on the Ray Cowles Motorcycles Yamaha TZ250A and it was a great battle for the entire race, with us both breaking the lap record on every lap. But it was me who finally came out on top, breaking the old lap record by almost 40 seconds, making for 115.16mph average lap – and then I held that record for nine years, until it was beaten by John McGuinness. 

“The winners don’t get to take the trophies home anymore, but in 1990 you could so I ended up with the Junior TT trophy, which I think they give to the winner of the Supersport TT now. It’s a great big thing, only slightly smaller than the main Senior trophy, so we brought it home to Wales from the Island and my mum had it in her living room window for a bit, then Ray Cowles wanted it up there in his shop in Pontypool for a couple of months. At first he had it on display in the bike shop window, but then decided to put it on display in his local pub instead. I went up there one day and discovered they’d put it just inside the door where it couldn’t be seen by the barman, so anyone could’ve just reached round and nicked it! It was there for months, too! We just never thought at the time how much it was worth or what would’ve happened it if had gone missing. It wasn’t long after that when the TT organisers stopped riders from taking them home. You just get a picture taken with it – but it’s understandable really!”

The ultimate prize

Insured for over £1.5m, the Senior TT trophy is so precious not even the winner gets to take it home

The Senior TT trophy has been presented to the winner of the blue riband race every year since 1907, and is one of the longest serving original sporting trophies in the world. The names engraved around its base read like a who’s who of road racing greatness; Hailwood, McGuinness, Agostini, Dunlop, Hislop, Surtees, Woods, Bennett, Daniell, Duke, Jefferies, McCallen, Archibald, Amm, Davies, Dodson, Grant, Guthrie, Herron, McElnea, Applebee, Armstrong, Bell, Brown, Burnett, Carpenter, Crosby, de la Hay, Findlay, Fogarty, Frith, Godfrey, Handley, Hocking, Hutchinson, Hunt, McIntyre, Plater, Pullin, Read, Sheard, Simpson, and Wood. 

The trophy, a replica of the Montague trophy used for the original TT car race, is named after Joseph the Marquis de Mouzilly St Mars, the English president of the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) who donated the trophy to the Auto Cycle Union in 1906. Featuring a statue of Mercury, the Roman god of messengers (and also financial gain!), it stands over 115cm tall and weighs 30kg. 

Despite the ordeal the Senior TT winner has to go through to earn it, they spend precious little time with their prize. Following the post-race press conference, photo-call and official presentation, the trophy gets put back under lock and key in a Manx vault, and the winner gets an 18in replica to take home and keep. And for good reason; after being won by BMW factory rider Georg Meier in the 1939 TT and taken to Munich, the Senior TT trophy went missing following the start of WW2. It was eventually found in a BMW dealership in Russian-controlled Vienna, but careful negotiation with the Russians saw it return to the Island in time to be presented to Harold Daniell, the winner of the first post-war TT in 1947.

Words: Emma Franklin Photos: Dave Collister/Stephen Davison