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Hail the Isle of Man TT greats

Published: 13 June 2007

TT – HISTORIC MACHINES

It is 100 years since Charlie Collier and Rem Fowler made history in the Isle of Man by winning the first TT races held by the Auto Cycle Club. 

Over this century of high speed racing many memorable moments have been chalked up including Bob Mac’s first 100 mph lap;  Hailwood’s great come back win on the Ducati, etc, etc. 

Many of the stars are no longer with us but what about their exotic thoroughbreds these heroes piloted to the ultimate success on a course which was and still is, the most demanding and unforgiving in the world of motorcycle racing.

There have been many great successes over the years and right up there with the best is Tom Herron’s double in 1976, the last TT races to be counted for World Championship Grand Prix points. 

Tom Herron was one of Ulster’s greatest riders of all time and is still held in high esteem all over the world. 

By winning the Senior and Lightweight (250) races on TZ ‘C’ Yamahas he became the first Irishman to win two TT’s in one year since ‘Works’ Guzzi rider Stanley Woods in 1935.

When Herron won the 250cc race he led the World Championship by one point from Walter Villa.  At the end of the year Tom finished fourth in the 250cc World Championship behind Villa, Katayama and  Bonera.

With the 354cc engine fitted Tom won the Senior TT and went on to finish 13th in the 500cc World Championship.  With the 350cc unit in place this hard riding privateer also finished fourth in the World Championship behind Villa, Cecotto and Mortimer.

In 1983 these 1976 TZ ‘C’ Yahamas were meticulously restored and after a spell on display in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum are now in the owner’s private collection in Northern Ireland.

Before being displayed the bikes were examined by the legendary Stanley Woods as well as Tom’s sponsors, John Rea and Jim Finlay.

More details and information on these machines can be obtained by emailing ulsterspeed@btinternet.com

 

JOEY DUNLOP 1977 SEELEY 700cc  -  JUBILEE TT WINNER

Joey Dunlop is regarded by many TT followers as the greatest exponent of pure road racing ever and with a record of 26 wins, 12 more than the late, great Mike Hailwood, who can deny such a claim. 

It takes a special brand of rider to conquer the dangers of the TT circuit and the unexpected which lurks around every corner.

Throughout Joey’s long involvement with the TT as a privateer and a ‘Works’ Honda rider he always regarded this first win at the 1977 Schweppes Jubilee TT on the Rea Transport 700cc Seeley as the greatest of his career.

This bike was the machine on which Pat Mahoney crashed at Brands Hatch in 1976, ending his racing career. 

Jim and Curly Scott fitted the Yamaha engine into the Seeley frame.  Tom Herron brought a set of Morris Mag wheels from Daytona which replaced the original wire ones.

In a race where Joey beat regulars George Fogarty, Steve Tonkin, Bill Smith, Derek Huxley and Jack Finlay he also had time to stop in Ramsey’s Parliament Square to examine his rear tyre which was sliding about on the last lap.

After restoration in 1983 this historic machine was put on display in the Ulster Folk and Transport Museum but is now in the owner’s private collection in Northern Ireland.

More details and information on this machine can be obtained by contacting emailing ulsterspeed@btinternet.com.

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