Outright T.T. Lap Record holder, John McGuiness heads the strongest T.T. entry for years, as he aims to become the first man to lap the world famous Mountain Circuit at over 130mph.
The thirty two year old Morecambe rider will line up at this year’s event for the official Yamaha UK Aim Racing team, as favourite for honours, having scored three wins last year, as well as taking the outright lap record up to a staggering 127.68mph. To lap at over 130mph would mean finding another twenty seconds over 37 and ¾ miles, which sounds like a tall order, but may be required when considering the level of competition at this year’s event.
TAS Suzuki field Adrian Archibald and Bruce Anstey, whilst DMRR Honda Racing have Ian Lougher and Richard Britton in their colours. Add in MSS Discovery Kawasaki star, Ryan Farquhar and McGuinness’ team mate for the event at Yamaha, Jason Griffiths, and you have the recipe for some frantic action without adding in any of the privateer teams and riders nor the latest batch of newcomers to the event.
The Vitrans/Ten Kate Honda team make a welcome debut at the T.T. supporting up and coming Irishman Martin Finnegan, whilst Uel Duncan Racing will field T.T. 2004 sensation Guy Martin, and the returning multi Irish Champion Darran Lindsay. Chesterfield Motorcycle Centre make a welcome return to the T.T. having missed out since they won the 2000 Production Race with David Jefferies, this time with Chris Heath as their rider, whilst Ireland’s CD Racing try for success with leading British Supersport competitor Rob Frost. Another Irish team looking for success will be JD’s Racing with the up and coming Ray Porter and Ken Doherty at the helm, along with team boss John Donnan whilst British Superstock Championship regular Ian Hutchinson returns to the T.T. with Ian Lougher’s former team, Mark Johns Motors Honda.
Other leading privateers include Mark Parrett, Ian Armstrong, David Bell, Carl Rennie, Nigel Davies, Roy Richardson and Phil Stewart whilst the local charge is led by veteran Paul Hunt, the third place finisher in last year’s Senior Race, Gary Carswell, two time 125cc T.T. winner Chris Palmer and former Manx Grand Prix winner and third place finisher in last year’s 125cc race Nigel Beattie. Several of last year’s leading Manx Grand Prix riders have also made the jump up to the T.T. for 2005 including 2004 winners Davy Morgan and Dean Silvester and front runners Kenneth McCrea, Liam Quinn, Keith Stewart and David Coughlan.
Giving the event a truly international feel a total of sixteen countries are represented at T.T. 2005, and leading the overseas invasion will be former double winner Shaun Harris from New Zealand. Others to look out for include Japan’s Jun Maeda, Frenchman Bruno Bonhuil and Stefano Bonetti from Italy. There are also several highly rated newcomers from overseas taking part in this year’s event headed by German superstar Markus Barth, two time Macau Grand Prix winner Cameron Donald from Australia, French World Endurance aces Amaury Baratin, Emmanuel Cheron and Serge Nuques, leading Belgian rider Michael Weynard and multi Swedish Superbike Champion Christer Miinin.
Rider recruitment has been one of the major success stories for the new look T.T. and joining the foreign stars on the entry list will be leading British riders Gus Scott, Les Shand and Paul Shoesmith.
Local ace Dave Molyneux leads the Sidecar entry along with passenger Daniel Sayle as they set their sights on a repeat of last year’s meeting, where they won both races and broke the sidecar lap record.
They will receive stiff opposition from the likes of Nick Crowe and Darren Hope, Steve Norbury and Scott Parnell, Roy Hanks and Dave Wells and the returning Gary Horspole and Mark Cox. Meanwhile, all eyes will be on former World Sidecar Champions Klaus Klaffenbock and Christian Parzer who caused a sensation last year with a last minute entry. Having never seen the track before the first practice session Klaffenbock’s pedigree shone through and, but for a bit more luck, a top ten finish could well have been achieved. The Austrian’s will certainly feature in the top ten in 2005 and top five finish cannot be ruled out.
Speaking about the entry for this year’s races, T.T. Clerk of the Course Neil Hanson commented:
“The standard of the entry for this year’s event is staggering, and it goes some way to prove that the changes we have made to both the event structure and the personnel involved, have been well received. Never in my time as Clerk of the Course has the quality of the entry been so high and I am certain that the spectators can look forward to some close racing at record breaking speeds. I would like to pay tribute to the work carried out by Paul Phillips and Richard Quayle as Rider Recruitment Officers, who have made great progress in a very short space of time by introducing some of these excellent riders to the event. Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish all the competitors a safe and successful 2005 T.T. and I look forward to seeing them and working with them all in just over seven weeks from now.”
David Cretney MHK, Minister for the Department of Tourism and Leisure on the Isle of Man added:
“The Isle of Man Department of Tourism and Leisure along with the Manx Motor Cycle Club have worked harder than ever before to improve the racing side of the T.T. Festival and, hopefully, with the quality on show at this year’s event we are starting to see the benefit of this hard work. The racing is, and always will be, the foundation the T.T. Festival is built on and whilst in the past we may have been found wanting in certain areas, we believe we have addressed these areas and the T.T. is back to where it belongs as the most unique, challenging and exciting road race anywhere in the world. We will continue to make changes going forward so that the competitors want to return year after year to take up the challenge the Mountain Circuit offers and, in the meantime, I would like to wish them all the best of luck for T.T. 2005.”