Sidecar aces Tom Hanks and Phil Biggs will make their return to the Isle of Man TT Races this year after seven years away from the event, during which time they have been chasing World Championship glory in the F1 class.
Hanks last appeared on the Island in 1999 when he was partnered by Steve Wilson on their way to third in the Sidecar A race and in 1997 he was the overall winner of the event, finishing second and third in the two races. In that same year, Biggs partnered Roy Hanks, Tom's uncle, to victory in the first Sidecar race and also had his last appearance on the Island in 1999.
Tom made his TT debut as a driver in 1996 after competing as a passenger with uncle Roy since 1987 when still a teenager but he was quickly up to speed, so much so that he was able to take the overall prize in 1997. His fastest TT lap is a more than respectable 108.84mph, also occurring in 1997, and although this was set almost a decade ago it still makes him the ninth fastest driver ever to have lapped the Mountain Course. Since 2000 the duo have been contesting the World Championship in a F1 Windle outfit finishing third in 2004, fifth in 2001 and 2002 and sixth in 2003, securing thirteen podium finishes along the way. The pairing only contested a handful of rounds in 2005 but they still managed ninth overall in the championship table and were again on the podium at Rijeka and Assen.
For their TT return Hanks and Biggs will pilot the ex Klaus Klaffenbock DMR Yamaha outfit, courtesy of Clive Stirrat, riding under the Hani Racing Team banner.
Speaking about his return to the TT Hanks said:
"I'm delighted to be returning to the Isle of Man and having the chance to race there again. It's played a huge part in my career and although it's been a few years since I last drove there we have everything in place to give a good account of ourselves. Obviously, the speeds have risen during that time and I haven't driven a F2 outfit for a long time so we'll have to build ourselves back up but we plan to make a serious attack on the results sheet and ensure there's another Hanks name at the sharp end of the field."
Speaking about the return of the former winner TT Team and Rider Liaison Officer Paul Phillips commented:
"We've been working really hard behind the scenes with the sidecar class and the return of Tom is a huge boost to the entry list and signifies our aim to ensure that it possesses a line-up second to none. With Andy Laidlow also returning there will be a terrific battle for the podium places and with Tom being a former winner, this year should see one of the finest ever years for the sidecar class. I'm really pleased to have secured Tom's entry and it really is a star studded field. I would like to thank Dave Molyneux for all his help in getting Tom back to the TT. It wouldn’t have been possible without him."
David Cretney, MHK, Minister for the Department of Tourism and Leisure concluded by saying:
"The Sidecars always have been and always will be an integral part of the Isle of Man TT Races so it is important we look after them equally as much as we do the solo riders. Attracting drivers of Tom Hanks' calibre to the races proves our intent and the Sidecar entry is certainly a strong one. I'd like to wish Tom and Phil the very best of luck on their return and hopefully they'll enjoy themselves and once again become a regular fixture on the entry list in the years ahead."