Pre TT 2023 Looking Forward – by Glynne Lewis
With the road race season now starting and what seems to have been a long wait since 2022 there is a totally new expanded schedule for the Isle of Man TT race fortnight.
Saturday has never been designated as a Senior Blue Riband race day, but this year the changes are quite significant, usually run on the last Friday of race week Saturday has always been a contingency day should the Friday event encounter any race delay especially regarding the weather.
With the new revised schedule Sunday will become the contingency day should the weather or other delays cause a delay in the proceedings for the Blue Riband event.
The full schedule along with the contingency days will bring changes regarding the required Marshalls and Medics for the extra weekend of racing.
The new schedule allows for more races to be incorporated and most importantly more rest days, along with the attraction of more Road Race fans to visit this Worldwide renowned event.
Hampered by health issues last year Lee was disappointed by his results along with machine problems running inside of the top 4 in the Superbike and Superstock races which forced him out of the running. Lee took his first podium in the Superstock class in 2015; winning the first Supersport race in 2019 he will be a challenger for this year’s races and a favourite for the Super twin class this year. He will also want to redeem himself in the Superbike and Superstock races after his results from last year, with switching from BMW to Honda machinery.
Dean has always been in touching distance of Hicky Johnston and Michael Dunlop in the Supersport category and has switched to Yamaha machinery with the BPE/Russell Racing Team feeling that switching from the Kawasaki machinery for the Supersport races will be the better option, but staying with Kawasaki for the larger classes.
Having completed the Blue Riband Senior race in 2022 with a broken screen (See Photograph above) shows just how determined Dean is and will always give his best whether it be a road race or short circuit. Having climbed the podium on 12 occasions out of his last 15 races, being beaten by Hickman in the big bike classes, you can be sure that he will be giving it his all come race week, especially as his confidence builds with gaining some good results whilst competing in the British Superbike series this year.
Davy Todd is the hottest property around in the road racing paddocks and has progressed very quickly not only as a road race winner but as a very affable character.
During the TT practice sessions last year he was inside the top three most times but was disappointed when he had tyre issues during the opening Superbike race.
Davy claimed a well-earned third place in the senior race his first ever TT podium of his career, with him running in the British Superstock series he won Pirelli National Superstock Championship along with excellent results in the Irish road racing series.
He will certainly be one to watch at this years TT
David ‘Davo’ Johnson
Having missed out on competing in the 2022 Isle of Man TT event due to a fall at the preceding British Superbike round at Oulton Park, Davo was to say the least downhearted, but had recovered enough to compete in the Manx GP and was to climb the podium with a well-earned 3rd placing.
Running in number 1 position he is no stranger to the Number 1 plate and this year he is the man who will be chased as the Isle of Man TT kicks off.
I caught up with the likeable Australian for a short online interview a few days ago to see how he was feeling about the upcoming event.
This is what he had to say,
“I’m very happy to be returning to the TT after 4 long years away. After my injuries last year before the TT which put me out of TT 22 I have been very focused on putting in a strong effort in 2023.
The 2022 Manx GP Classic Superbike went great with a 3rd place and i was far from fully fit and now very excited to get started with the C&L Fairburn Properties Honda team.”
I asked him how he felt with running the Number 1 plate again this year at the TT and he said,
“I am feeling good and very much looking forward to it the bike hadn’t turned a wheel until the first round of the British Superbike round at Silverstone so it was just a shakedown test.”
I feel sure that Davo will be there not just to make up the numbers and will certainly be pushing for a top placing.
Peter Hickman Current, Lap Record Holder.
Hicky in my mind has now set a precedence that will not be easily beaten only by himself, hes top of his game now, although there are those that are capable of getting there providing their machines and weather play together.
Not forgetting the top riders Such as Michael Dunlop, Michael Rutter, Conor Cummins, Davy Todd, Dean Harrison and John McGuinness and Hicky’s team mate this year Josh Brookes who appears to be rejuvenated since his arrival within the FHO Team this year, to name a few who are hungry for wins. All the riders above are in the 130mph club and are capable of winning the Blue Riband event given the right conditions come Senior Race day.
A lap record doesn’t mean a winner by any means, winning in the slowest time possible is the name of the game. They have been resurfacing a lot of the mountain sections (Hicky’s favourite or at least where he gains the most) so this will make a difference.
Michael Dunlop-Double winner at TT22
Michael has not won a big bike race since 2018 but dominated the 2 Supersport races at TT 22, bringing him within 2 race wins of John McGuinness and 5 wins away from his uncle Joeys record of 26 in total.
Still young at just 30 years of age he is rated as the most successful rider in TT history as far as i am concerned, due to him winning more races than any other rider at his age.
Taking 2 victories in the Supersport Races and upping the lap record to129.475mph in last year’s opening race he has some work to do to win another big bike race.
You can never write Michael out of the equation as his determination and will to win is second to none and will certainly be there when the time comes
As for the consistent John McGuinness i guess he will be in the top 10 as i hope will Rutter, but as for adding to his tally that i feel is doubtful? Michael Dunlop is the one for me especially on the Super sport Bikes but then all has to be equal for all riders, last year shortened races and the loss of riders all played their part, so in conclusion if all is equal then we are in for a feast of racing especially with more races taking place this year.