TT's greatest races: Best of the best

MCN Greatest TT Races

53

Cast your vote for the greatest TT race of all time from the shortlist already voted by you and you’ll be entered into a draw to win an Arai’s Isle of Man TT Limited Edition RX-7 helmet or an RST Brandish leather jacket.

Since their launch in 2007, Arai’s Isle of Man TT Limited Edition RX-7 helmets have proved to be a collector’s hit. The 2020 design uses classic lines and a bold Black/Red/Gold colour combination and subtly holds the familiar TT-specific details, like Ellan Vannin (the Manx name for the Isle of Man), the famous triskelion (the three legs of Man), an outline of both the TT course and the Senior Trophy.

Arai RX-7V helmet

Representing everything you would expect from an ultra-modern helmet, the RX-7V features a completely new stronger and smoother shell, the revolutionary VAS (“Variable Axis System”) visor system. For more information on the 2020 Isle of Man TT Limited Edition Arai RX-7V click here

The Brandish leather jacket (below) takes its name from the long winding corner at the 35th milestone of the renowned Isle Of Man TT road racing circuit and features a vintage style design made from cowhide leather.

Brandish leather jacket

This jacket offers the best in abrasion resistance and features CE Level 1 shoulder and elbow armour to cushion any impacts. Moreover, the quilted diamond stitched detailing on the shoulders and lower arms combined with the two-tone leather on the chest further supports the retro aesthetic. See the full range at www.rst-moto.com.

2000 Superbike TT

‘Joey was certain he could win again’

Joey Dunlop 2000 Superbike TT

Stephen Davison Photographer and Journalist

At 48, Joey’s TT glory days seemed over but Joey remained certain he could win another big bike TT. The threat to leave Honda if they didn’t provide a competitive bike forced the manufacturer into supplying Dunlop with their new SP-1 and a WSB-spec engine. Untested, it was almost unrideable around the TT. Rumour has it Joey decided to run a tyre from a firm other than the official supplier, which helped settle the nervous SP-1. Iffy track conditions also played into his hands as Jefferies struggled on the opening lap. When the V&M Yamaha ground to a halt with a broken clutch at Glen Helen on lap 2, Dunlop already had an unassailable lead. 

2018 Superstock TT

‘If it wasn’t for the backmarkers...’

Peter Hickman Senior TT 2018

Dean Harrison 2019 Senior TT winner

Peter Hickman won and destroyed the lap record in the process, which was special. But Michael Dunlop only lost out on the win by just under five seconds. However, what many people don’t know is that Michael lost at least five seconds on the final lap – and I know that because I was right with him over the mountain. The number of backmarkers Michael got held up by when he caught them in bad places was insane. I finished third in the race and I wasn’t a million miles away. Most people watching that race and looking at the times would never know about the backmarkers so it’s good to be able to tell the story.

1998 250CC race

‘Joey had the right tactics for the rain’

Joey Dunlop 250cc 1998

Stephen Davison Photographer and Journalist

Halfway around the first lap of the 250cc race a light shower had turned into a torrential deluge. The race was already cut by a lap and most of Dunlop’s main rivals pitted at the end of the opening lap to make the third circuit a flier. The wily Ulsterman didn’t pit, reckoning conditions were so bad there might be a further reduction. As he passed the grandstand the organisers announced the result would be declared after two laps, leaving him with an unassailable lead. Joey used all of his Mountain course experience to make a brilliant tactical call and claim his fourth Lightweight win in a row as his rivals were left scratching their heads.

2018 Supersport TT race 1

‘Michael’s 129mph lap was perfect’

Michael Dunlop Supersport TT race 1 2018

John McGuinness 23-time TT winner

You have to remember that Michael’s 129.197mph was on a 600 – 140bhp not 230bhp – so you can imagine the corner speed he had to carry, it’s like threading a needle. On a big bike if you have a slide, you’ve got so much power that you only lose your momentum for a couple of seconds but on a 600 it could literally two or three miles to get back on it. To do that time he would have had to have been inch perfect all the way round, in fact not inch perfect – millimetre perfect. My best ever lap on a 600 was in 2013 when I did a 127.2 and finished third. I knew I’d done a good job to do that time on a 600, so for Michael to be 2mph faster really leaves me scratching my head.

2018 Senior TT

‘I was completely glued to the radio’

Peter Hickman Senior TT 2018

John McGuinness 23-time TT winner

I was watching from the sidelines having raced in every Senior since 1998 and it took my breath away. It built and built, lap after lap. I was glued to the radio and because I’ve been in the hot seat, I knew what they were going through. I knew how hard it would be and they were out there trying to make everything perfect. I was watching at the bottom of Bray Hill and had some guy yapping in my ear, oblivious to what we were all witnessing. I ended up having to him to tell him to shut up because we were watching one of the greatest TT races. I told him to stick his head through the fence and watch them come through on the last lap and boy they were riding at full bore…  

2018 Sidecar race 2

‘These brothers are real athletes’

Birchall brothers 2018 Sidecar race 2

John McGuinness 23-time TT winner

It has to be the Birchalls’ win in 2018. They won it easily but it was the fact they nearly did a 120mph lap. For me that’s like Michael Dunlop doing 129mph on a Supersport bike or over 121mph on an electric bike, it doesn’t get the credit it deserves but when you actually stop and think about it, it’s utterly incredible. You’ve got a 600 with two people onboard which is being absolutely thrashed (sidecars are at 100% throttle for up to 65% of the lap). The Birchall brothers’ set-up is immaculate, the two of them are athletes who train very hard, they can do the mind games with their rivals, and they are also great with the fans and the kids. 

How to enter

Simply submit your choice of the greatest TT race ever long with your details and you’ll be entered into the free prize draw. Good luck! 

T&Cs: The prize draw closes at midnight on June 16, 2020. This competition is open to British Isles residents aged 16 and over. There is one first prize consisting of one Arai RX-7V IoM TT helmet. Winner must choose from sizes XS to XL. There is one second prize consisting of one RST IOM TT Brandish leather jacket. Winner must choose from sizes 40-52 and from black or oxblood colour. The winners will be the first and second names drawn at random from all valid entries after the closing date and notified by email and has 30 to respond before an alternative winner is chosen. This prize may be offered in a limited number of other promotions. No purchase is necessary. Full terms and conditions can be found at www.bauerlegal.co.uk/competition-terms.html. 

Read the latest stories causing a buzz this week in Sport…

Michael Guy

By Michael Guy

Sports Editor, former 250-racer and adventure rider