The Formula 1 YearsKing of the Mountain Joey Dunlop, reigns supreme
It was not long before Joey’s talents came to the fore. In 1977 he won the Jubilee race, the first of an astounding 26. This same year saw the first Sidecar duo exceed the 100mph mark, Dick Greasley and Mick Skeels taking their Yamaha round at 100.59mph. A year later, American GP star Pat Hennen achieved the first sub-twenty minute lap on board a 500 Suzuki in the Senior TT.
After an 11-year absence, Mike Hailwood returned to the TT in 1978, immediately winning the Formula One race, and a year later, he recorded his 14th, and final, TT race win with victory in the Senior.
One man - Joey Dunlop, dominated the eighties. He recorded the first 115mph plus lap in 1980, and in 1983 won the first of six consecutive Formula One TT’s on the dominant Honda machines. Injuries sustained in a race at Brands Hatch prevented Dunlop from defending his title for the seventh consecutive time in 1989, a race won by Steve Hislop who recorded the first ever 120mph+ lap of the Mountain Circuit as he moved the outright lap record to 121.34mph.
The arrival of Carl Fogarty, who later became World Superbike Champion, saw the beginning of many epic races between Carl and Scotland's Hislop, culminating in the 1992 Senior TT when the pair both broke the lap record in a titanic battle, Hislop eventually winning by four seconds. Hislop's win was the first by a Norton since 1961. 1992 was also the year Joey Dunlop equalled Mike Hailwood’s record of 14 TT wins with victory on a 125 Honda in the Ultra Lightweight Race.
The year 2000 may have been the start of the new millennium but it was dominated by the established stars. David Jefferies and Joey Dunlop, at the tender age of 48, both enjoyed hat-tricks. Joey’s win in the Ultra Lightweight marked his 26th and final TT win, shortly before his untimely death in a road race in Estonia. For only the third time the TT races were cancelled in 2001, due to concerns over the Foot and Mouth epidemic that was destroying the UK’s mainland cattle stock.
2004 was marked by a hat trick of wins for new TT star John McGuinness, who followed that in 2006 by increasing the lap record to 129.451mph on the way to his 11th TT victory.