HARRISON AND DUNLOP SET FOR HEAD TO HEAD IN RST CLASSIC TT SUPERBIKE RACE
The 2019 Isle of Man Classic TT Races, presented by Bennetts will come to a thrilling conclusion on August Bank Holiday Monday with the four-lap RST Superbike Classic TT race.
Dean Harrison, who has won the race for the last two years, heads the line up on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki. Harrison, who lapped at 127.212mph two years ago, will set off at number 2 from the grid.
However, it’s never as straightforward as that around the 37.73-mile Mountain Course especially as there’s a whole host of challengers queuing up to get the better of him, none more so than 2015 and 2016 race winner Michael Dunlop (6) on the 1000cc Team Classic Suzuki. A lot will depend on the Northern Irishman’s fitness but he’s never been short of determination so has to be considered a threat.
Horst Saiger, who continues on the Greenall Racing Kawasaki, has the honour of setting off at number one after taking excellent second and third place finishes in the last two years. The Kawasaki ZXR750 is a favoured machine for many with Jamie Coward (8) expected to be challenging for the top spot on the Kraus/PreZ Racing machine.
David Johnson, also on a Kawaski, who starts ten seconds behind Coward, will be aiming for his second podium of the year around the Mountain Course after finishing third in the RL360 Superstock TT Race in June. Johnson will be joined by Craig Neve (12) for the Robert Burns Ltd/ Alasdair Cowan Racing team.
Mistral Racing again field two riders on their Kawasaki’s - Paul Jordan (3) who will be looking to make up for last year’s disappointment when he retired from fourth place on the final lap, and Michael Sweeney (11), who contests the race for the first time.
Riders who have opted for Yamahas include Michael Rutter setting off at number four on the Team Winfield Yamaha, which he took to second place in 2016, and Conor Cummins (10) riding the ex-Grand Prix Yamaha YZR500 he rode into third place twelve months ago.
Davey Todd (14) joins him in the Milenco by Padgetts Motorcycles team riding a 1989 750cc Yamaha OW01 while James Hillier (5) will be hoping for better fortunes this year on the Oxford Racing/Louigi Moto 888 Ducati.
Team York Suzuki pairing of Gary Johnson (7) and Sam West (13) will present a big threat with the former aiming for a podium position having already lapped at close to 124mph.
Team Classic Suzuki add further strength in depth on the blue and white machines with Dunlop being joined by Phil Crowe (16) on a similar 1100cc XR69 machine and Danny Webb (17) who returns with the 500cc RG Suzuki he campaigned last year. Setting the fastest lap around the Mountain Course on an RG500 machine will again be amongst their aims as they look to better the 118.24mph mark set by Rob McElnea exactly 25 years ago.
Derek Sheils (16) is another rider set to challenge for a leaderboard position on the second Greenall Racing machine while the remaining seeds are also Kawasaki mounted with Rob Hodson (18) on the Steelcote Solutions Ltd machine and Michael Evans (19) once again riding for Wilcock Consulting. Fifth last year, the Manxman will be hoping to make amends for missing this year’s TT as Julian Trummer completes the top twenty on the TC Racing/DP Coldplaning Kawasaki.
The entry is packed with talent outside of the seeded riders with Stefano Bonetti (21), Barry Lee Evans (22), Ryan Kneen (24) – a podium finisher in 2013 – Forest Dunn (25) and Mike Booth (34) expected to feature prominently on the leaderboard.
TT Rider Liaison Officer John Barton (29) rides the second of three 888cc Ducati’s on the entry list - the Manx-based rider again lining up for Endurance specialists Alf’s Motorcycles, with class regulars David Hewson (31), David Madsen-Mygdal (32), Josh Daley (35), Richard Wilson (37) and Brian McCormack (42) back for another try.
Wilson will be joined on a second 588cc Wiz Racing Norton by two-stroke specialist Gary Vines while Jay Ackroyd makes his debut at the meeting on the back of strong performances at both the TT and Southern 100 so far this year.
New Zealand’s Jay Lawrence, who made his Mountain Course debut in the same race 12 months ago and subsequently made a strong impression at the TT in June, lines up for Team Classic Suzuki once again and he’ll be joined by fellow overseas riders Raul Torras Martinez, Timothee Monot (28) and Michal Dokoupil.