DAVE MOLYNEUX: MANX TO THE MAX
In the latest episodes of The TT Podcast, Chris and Steve are joined by sidecar supremo, Dave Molyneux. The fourth most successful TT competitor ever and, when he won his first TT in 1989 aged 25, Dave became the youngest ever winner at the meeting - a title he still holds today.
Dave has won 17 TT races, of which 16 have been on chassis he built himself. He tells Chris and Steve about his early days as a mechanic, and the jobs he chose which set him up to become a world-class racer, including working in a car bodyshop and at a boatyard.
The Manxman’s love for three-wheeled bike racing comes from his dad, who was racing sidecars as Dave grew up. He even remembers making silly noises as a kid whilst riding around on a trike. Dave opens up to Chris and Steve about his teenage affair with two-wheels, testing Graeme Cannell’s bikes out up and down Jurby airfield. Dave would travel with Graeme - who Dave describes as the most talented solo rider who ever came out of the Isle of Man - and look after his machines at short circuit meetings. Dave shares how he turned down an offer from Dale Singleton to be a valet for his fleet - including all expenses paid trips around Europe - knowing he wanted to race sidecars: “I don’t regret it, but it’s the nearest thing to regret that I’ll probably ever have”.
Dave’s commitment to the TT has never faltered. He’s tried his hand at circuit racing in the UK and Europe, and rode at the Ulster Grand Prix on one occasion, but he’s always come back to the Mountain Course. Dave explains how he’d always wanted to be World Champion. He did his first European Championship round in 1988, and after winning at the TT in 1989, he thought sponsors would come easily for the short circuit meets, but he simply couldn’t raise the money. He tells Chris and Steve that he’d been unsure about racing the Ulster Grand Prix, as it was where his dad had died in 1977, but he was talked into it in 1995 and won the race.
Having raced at the TT for more than 30 years, Dave’s got some stories to share! He talks about recovering from his 2006 Rhencullen crash to win both races in 2007, and also tells the guys what it was like racing through wind and fog in 2003, when Prince William visited to watch.
Dave reveals that he had been pushing the TT organisers for a change which came to 2022’s event. The sidecar classes now combine 600cc, 675cc and a new addition of twin cylinder machines. Dave says it wasn’t for any personal gain - he wants to see the class evolve. “Classes through the decades have always changed... We’ve been gifted that 600cc engine for 30 years, and it’s served us well”. Dave remembers the days where there were more than 100 sidecar machines starting, so whilst he hopes someone will complete a 120mph lap one day, he also wants to secure the future of the sport. When asked whether he thinks the TT organisers would axe sidecar racing, Dave’s response is simple: “I dearly hope not”.
As well as all of that, across both podcast episodes, Dave shares the time he made a spontaneous trip to the Czech Grand Prix and discusses the advantages of different tyres on sidecars. However, he stops short of telling Chris and Steve who his favourite passenger has been.
You can either watch the full Podcast by subscribing for free to TT+ or listen to The TT Podcast through your favourite podcast provider.
Listen now to Part One: Sidecar Supreme
Listen now to Part Two: Manx To The Max