Anstey hasn’t competed for two years as he’s battled serious illness but, winner of the race in both 2016 and 2017, will set off at his familiar number 5 once more riding the equally familiar Honda RS250 for the Milenco by Padgetts Motorcycles team.
Anstey set the first 120mph lap of the 37.73-mile course on his way to victory two years ago with a lap of 120.475mph and that kind of speed may well be required to win again this time around given the quality on display.
Lee Johnston, winner in 2018, returns with the Binch Racing Yamaha team having ridden the Padgetts Honda twelve months ago. Having already lapped at close to 118mph, he’ll be looking for a 120mph lap and win number two as he takes his familiar number 13 plate.
Stiff opposition will come from the impressive Laylaw Racing team, with former TT winner Eddie Laycock and Gerry Lawler providing immaculately-prepared Yamaha TZ250s for Ian Lougher, Dean Harrison and Phil Harvey.
Lougher took second place to Anstey in both 2016 and 2017 and, third last year, will be keen to get onto the top step for 2019. Harrison, fourth in his two-stroke debut twelve months ago, will provide a stiffer threat this time around whilst Harvey can never be ruled out, having stood on the Lightweight Classic TT podium in 2016.
Another serious contender for the race win must be 2019 TT Privateer’s Trophy winner, Jamie Coward, on a second Binch Racing Yamaha. His Classic TT credentials speak for themselves with five podiums to his name, although this will be his first two-stroke outing on the Mountain Course.
Davey Todd will also be making his two-stroke debut at the event on board a second Milenco by Padgetts Honda. He will lead the field away at number 1 and, given his results this year at all of the International Road Races, has to be one to watch.
Meanwhile, a third Binch Racing Yamaha will be in the hands of former Newcomers Manx Grand Prix winner, Gary Vines, who will be challenging for at least a top five position.
Manxmen Daniel Sayle and Ryan Kneen lead the John Chapman Racing attack on a pair of Honda RS250s and will start ten seconds apart at numbers 10 and 11 respectively. Sayle lapped at almost 118mph two years ago and makes his return after sustaining serious injuries in the corresponding race last year.
Kneen has previously been victorious on a 250 2-stroke at the Classic TT when he won the 2015 Formula 2 Race. He’ll be aiming for a repeat performance whilst Joey Thompson also joins the team as he returns to the Mountain Course after missing the Isle of Man TT in June.
John Barton is the leading four-stroke entry in the field on the Wemoto.com Ducati 750, with Alex Sinclair (24) and Hefyn Owen (31) also confirmed to ride air-cooled, twin-cylinder machines from the Italian marque.
There are plenty of other talented riders down the field including Barry Lee Evans (21), last year’s Junior Classic TT winner Dominic Herbertson (23) on board a fourth Chapman Racing Honda, plus Danish visitor Carsten Svendsen (25).
David Hewson (26), David Madsen-Mygdal (27), Maria Costello (32) and Scott Wilson (34) are just a few other riders expected to be challenging for top ten positions along with Lightweight specialists Steven Howard (29) and Adrian Morris (30).
Further four-stroke entries have been received from Andrew Cowie (47), Colin Croft (51) and Karl Fox (53).
The top 20 start list for the Dunlop Lightweight Classic TT can be found here.
For further information about the festivities across the Classic TT weekend, visit the Festival Pages.
Tickets for the 2019 Classic TT are now on sale via the Official iomttraces.com website including Official Grandstand Tickets, VIP Hospitality Experiences, and Official Entertainment Events including the Counterfeit Stones Classic TT Party Performance. You can stay up to date with all the latest Classic TT news by subscribing to the Official Isle of Man TT Races Newsletter.
Images courtesy of Pacemaker Press