Recent years at the Isle of Man TT have seen a growing number of riders from mainland Europe make their mark, none more so than Austrian rider Julian Trummer. In 2023, the 32-year old became the fastest European to ever lap the TT Course, averaging at over 128mph on his way to 18th place in the Milwaukee Senior TT – one of three top-20 results that week.
All of those came in the 1000cc races – 17th in the opening RL360 Superstock Race his best finish – and although 9th in the 2018 Lightweight Race remains his career-best result, he’s hoping it won’t be long before he’s chalking up top ten finishes on the big bikes too.
Given his progress of late, that’s not an unrealistic prospect and something that could well happen in 2024. No mean feat for someone who hails from a country where skis are more prevalent than Superbikes…
The list of Austrian TT winners is a short one. Rupert Hollaus is the only solo winner having won the 1954 Ultra-Lightweight 125cc Race, held on the 10-mile Clypse Course rather than the 37.73-mile Mountain Course.
Hollaus’ victory was notable, as he remains one of the few riders to win a TT race at their very first attempt. He would go on to be crowned World Champion that year albeit posthumously, after losing his life in practice for the Italian Grand Prix at Monza at the end of the season.
It would be 2010 before the Austrian national anthem was heard again at the Isle of Man TT, when Klaus Klaffenbock took the first of three Sidecar victories. Hollaus and Klaffenbock are the only two Austrian riders to grace a TT podium, and Trummer hopes to join them one day.
A resident of Wagna in Styria, Trummer’s journey hasn’t been a traditional one, with limited racing experience – and riding in general – prior to tackling the Mountain Course for the first time.
“When I was growing up my parents and some of their friends spoke about the TT but that was all; I’d never seen any videos of it. From the stories I heard, all I knew was that it was this crazy race held on closed public roads and that made me ask ‘what is this?’. I wasn’t sure how I was going to do it but knew I had to do it somehow.”
“It’s not a famous race in Austria, although it’s getting bigger now with the increased coverage. Everyone has seen bits of it but not all of it. I didn’t start riding a bike until 2014 and that was just track days in Austria. I did a bit more in 2015 on a road legal R6 and then when I applied for the Manx Grand Prix in 2016 I did some Austrian races to prepare.”
Trummer only had a handful of races under his belt when the 2016 Manx Grand Prix came around, and none of it was on the roads. So what were his first impressions?
“It was crazy and way quicker and way bumpier than what I thought it would be! I came over two or three times prior to practice week and did quite a few laps in a hire car on my own, but apart from getting an idea for the direction of the course, it didn’t help me a great deal.”
“Bray Hill looks relatively flat on videos but, of course, it’s the complete opposite and very steep! I’d done no road racing prior to the TT so the sheer speed blew me away. I wasn’t used to going flat out for so long and my expectations and feelings were a lot harder than if I’d done other road races. Looking back, if I’d known how quick it was, I would probably have done the North West 200 and some of the smaller road races as that would have been better preparation.”
Nevertheless, Trummer made an excellent debut, finishing second in the Newcomers Race. He lapped at an impressive 116.469mph and then went quicker still in the final race of the week, finishing as the highest-placed newcomer in the Senior Manx Grand Prix with a lap of over 117mph.
“I was delighted with my results, especially the Senior. The 117mph lap came with some mistakes, but it made me realise ‘I can definitely do this’ and I knew I wanted to make the step up to the TT straightaway. Doing the Manx was always with the view of getting to the TT as soon as I could.”
That’s exactly what happened, but a rain-affected TT meant that he only had a single Supersport Race to contest. For 2018 he joined the DP Coldplaning by TC Racing team who, under Team Principal Mick Charnock, have a proven history with newcomers and helping talented riders take a step up. The Lightweight Race was added to his roster, securing the career-best finish of 9th.
Two top-30 finishes were taken in the Monster Energy Supersport Races, and his progression was continuing at pace as he set a new personal best lap of 121.897mph.
“I’d only ever ridden 600’s so that’s what I focused on for my first two years, with the Supertwin thrown in as well in 2018. I wanted to step up to the big bikes though as that’s what everyone wants to do and, thankfully, TC Racing gave me the opportunity to do so in 2019.”
In his first year on the ‘big bikes’, the 2019 Senior TT saw him increase his personal best lap speed to 124.258mph, but it wasn’t all plain sailing:
“The step up was pretty hard to be honest and not easy at all! I hadn’t had a lot of bike time in general and looking back, maybe it wasn’t the right move to make and perhaps I should have waited another year. I couldn’t ride the bike how I wanted, and it was a bit too much to be honest. I enjoyed it, but I wasn’t experienced enough at the time for the big bikes so wasn’t as quick as I would have liked.”
Covid resulted in the cancellation of both the 2020 and 2021 events and when it returned in 2022, Trummer had made the switch to WH Racing.
He bettered his previous best speed, breaking the 125mph barrier for the first time, but it was his performance in 2023 that made people sit up and take note.
Shaving 30+ seconds of his previous best lap speed, Trummer leapt up the rankings and lapped at over 128mph – 128.638mph to be precise
Shaving 30+ seconds of his previous best lap speed, Trummer leapt up the rankings and lapped at over 128mph – 128.638mph to be precise. Not many riders make such a notable jump up in speeds but, when they do, they stand out. He attributes the jump up in speed to his own ambitions and expectations, but also from some advice from fellow competitor Shaun Anderson.
“The TT is like a business plan for me, and that plan will, hopefully, take me to the top five in the years ahead. Everything I’ve done so far hasn’t been forced and it’s all been a natural progression. That’s how the 128mph laps came last year, just another step forward.”
“I spent a bit of time with Shaun too, which was of real benefit. I could see from the first three sectors we were pretty much matching each other but over the next three, over the Mountain, he was a fair bit quicker. He kindly took me round for a couple of laps in a car which was of great help and played a significant part in getting up to 128mph.”
“I was really happy to lap at that speed and whilst it’s good to be the fastest non-speaking English rider, it’s not that important. The goal is to concentrate on myself and get quicker each year, something I think I’m capable of. Personally, I think I can get up to the 131-132mph area, but I won’t force it and, as we all know, you can’t plan these kinds of things at the TT.”
One thing that is sure is that Trummer will line up at TT 2024 with his best ever equipment, with his plans expected to be announced soon. That will certainly give him an even better chance to shine and, potentially, hit the magical ‘130’ mark.
“I’ll have good bikes for all classes in 2024, the best I’ve ever had, and will be with a good, experienced team, so I’m definitely taking another step forward which hopefully means finishing in the top ten. That’s the aim. Having said that, I’m not that overly concerned with positions at the moment, the main aim is to get quicker and quicker each year. If I do that, the results will take care of themselves.”