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 Classic race, the first of an astounding 26. This same year saw the first Sidecar duo to exceed the 100mph mark, Dick Greasley and Kenny Arthur taking their Yamaha round at 102.80mph. Also the American GP star, Pat Hennen, managed the first sub-twenty minute lap on board a 500 Suzuki in the Senior TT.
Mike Hailwood after an 11-year absence returned to the TT in winning form in 1978, which he matched in his final race in 1979, with his 14th, and final, TT race win.
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 broke Joey’s lap speed record, pushing it 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 Steve 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 was cancelled in 2001, due to concerns over Foot and Mouth epidemic that was destroying the UK’s mainland cattle stock.
2004 was marked by a hat trick of wins for a new TT star John McGuinness, who followed that in 2006 by increasing the lap record to 129.4mph on the way to his 11th TT victory.