TOP 10 MODERN CLASSIC TT RACES
TT fans have been treated to some spectacular races in the last decade, as records have tumbled, fierce rivalries have formed, and racers have become legends. To celebrate this golden era of TT racing, we’ve put together a list of our Top 10 Modern Classic TT Races.
10. 2017 SENIOR TT
After two dominant years on the tried and tested BMW S1000RR in 2014 and 2016, Michael Dunlop made the surprise switch to Suzuki and the all-new GSXR-1000 for 2017. Although he led the opening Superbike TT Race, a retirement on the second lap meant the sceptics – who doubted he could win on such an unproven bike – appeared to have been proven right.
A sixth-place finish in the mid-week Superstock Race only put Dunlop further on the backfoot and during the early stages of the final Senior Race, he was still seemingly off the pace. Just over one second split Peter Hickman, Ian Hutchinson and Dean Harrison who were battling for the lead while Dunlop was 10 seconds down half way round the second lap.
However, in a dramatic twist, Hutchinson crashed soon after at the 27th Milestone which brought out the red flags and in the time before the re-start, Dunlop and the Hawk Racing team were able to make changes with the bike’s set-up and he never looked back.
Grabbing the lead of the four-lap race from the start, Dunlop went on to record the fastest lap of the week at an average speed of 132.903mph, beating Hickman by 13.3 seconds to claim his 15th TT win.
9. 2013 SENIOR TT
With four wins from four races, the talk ahead of the 2013 Senior TT was of Michael Dunlop equalling Ian Hutchinson’s 2010 record of five wins in a week, although John McGuinness’s outright lap record set earlier in the Superbike Race, when he finished third after incurring a one-minute penalty for pit-lane speeding, meant the scene was set for a titanic scrap.
It was master versus apprentice and despite Gary Johnson taking an early lead, Dunlop held a 1.4 second lead over Honda team-mate McGuinness at the end of lap one.
McGuinness upped his pace on lap two and turned the deficit into a 2.4 second advantage as he came in for his first pit stop, a gap which extended courtesy of his Honda TT Legends crew. Lap three saw the duo practically match each other’s times and the gap at half-race distance was still only four seconds.
However, a second flawless pit stop saw McGuinness add another two seconds to his lead and it was enough to break Dunlop’s challenge as he went on to take his 20th TT win by ten seconds. The master, on this occasion, had prevailed.
8. 2015 SENIOR TT
With Michael Dunlop in the ascendancy in 2013 and 2014, and Ian Hutchinson back to his best after injury, many people had written John McGuinness off ahead of the 2015 Senior – his only podiums since victory in the same race two years before had come in the TT Zero Races.
Hutchinson and Superbike Race winner Bruce Anstey were the favourites as Dunlop continued to nurse injuries from a crash in the Superbike Race, but having seen the bookies’ odds making him 18-1 for the win, McGuinness was fired up to a level of determination that hadn’t been seen in some time.
The race was red-flagged on the opening lap after Jamie Hamilton crashed at the fast Molyneux’s corner at the end of the Cronk-y-Voddy straight but on the re-run, McGuinness’s opening lap of 131.850mph gave him a 1.2 second lead over Hutchinson. And with a stunning new outright lap record of 132.701mph second time around, that gap increased to 11 seconds.
Hutchinson had over-shot at Signpost Corner, but McGuinness’s riding explained some of the increased margin too. Having grabbed the race by the scruff of the neck, he came home 14.2 seconds clear of James Hillier with Hutchinson third. It was, without doubt, one of McGuinness’s finest victories around the TT Mountain Course.
7. 2011 SUPERSPORT TT RACE 2
Conditions for the second Supersport Race of 2011 were far from ideal with damp patches around the course. Many of the leading protagonists expressed their desire for the race to be postponed, particularly as the threat of further rain remained. However, when the flag dropped they all took their place on the grid.
Due to the conditions, many of the riders were circulating at a slightly reduced pace, but Michael and William Dunlop were in a race of their own. By the start of the second lap, a group of four riders – John McGuinness, Guy Martin, Cameron Donald and Keith Amor – were all running together on the road.
Unbeknown to them, a sudden rain shower had hit 3 miles in at the Union Mills section of the course and as they tipped into the right hander by the Railway Inn, both Martin and Donald had huge slides which they were lucky to get away with.
McGuinness’s experience meant he’d sensed the danger and eased off sufficiently, but Amor wasn’t so lucky and down he went, his Honda clattering into the safety bales in front of the village Post Office. He escaped injury and it was little surprise that the red flag came out soon afterwards and the race was stopped.
Conditions were far better for the re-run the next day where Gary Johnson grabbed a maiden TT victory ahead of McGuinness and Martin. A bruised Amor took a gritty fourth.
6. 2016 SENIOR TT
The 2016 TT was all about two people – Michael Dunlop and Ian Hutchinson. Both BMW-mounted albeit for different teams, the duo had gone head to head throughout practice week and were keen to get the better of each other at every opportunity, taking racing around the TT Mountain Course to new heights in the process.
Dunlop came out on top in the opening Superbike Race, setting the first 133mph and sub-17-minute lap with Hutchinson turning the tables in the Superstock encounter, when he too lapped at more than 133mph to set a new lap record for the class.
The rivalry was heightened when Dunlop was disqualified from the first Supersport Race so by the time the closing Senior Race came to the line, a furious scrap between the two was guaranteed.
Dunlop led by 2.8 seconds at the end of the opening lap and with a new outright lap record of 133.962mph set on lap two, he increased the gap to a more healthy 9.7 seconds – an advantage he wasn’t to relinquish.
Increasing the margin all the time, he eventually won by a commanding 31.4 seconds and although a bitter war of words continued afterwards, Dunlop had won the battle on the track.
5. 2010 SIDECAR TT RACE 2
Having made his debut in 2004, former Sidecar World Champion Klaus Klaffenbock’s progress at the Isle of Man TT was steady rather than spectacular, but 2010 was when it all came together.
Enlisting the services of Dan Sayle, the then outright lap record holder and multiple race winner, was the final piece in the jigsaw and the Austro-Manx pairing took the first race before taking a stunning victory in the second race later in the week.
Simon Neary and Paul Knapton initially led before retiring. That meant John Holden and Andy Winkle, who were going for their first win, led Klaffenbock and Sayle by 8.9 seconds at the start of the second lap.
Holden and Winkle were again fastest on lap two and held an advantage of 10.1 seconds heading into the final lap. But it was on the third and final lap that Klaffenbock and Sayle really began to fly and at every timing point, they were reducing the gap. It came down to the wire and as they flashed across the line for the final time, it was Kalffenbock and Sayle who came out on top by just 1.12 seconds.
4. 2010 SUPERSTOCK TT
With two wins from two races at the beginning of TT2010, Padgetts Honda rider Ian Hutchinson was keen to continue his winning streak in the Superstock Race having won the same race a year earlier.
However, he hadn’t reckoned on the determined charge from Ryan Farquhar who set off quickest and led at every timing point on the first lap. A lap of 129.648mph on the KMR Kawasaki gave Farquhar a healthy 6.7 second lead over Michael Dunlop, with Hutchinson back in third.
The second lap saw Farquhar and Hutchinson pull clear of the chasing pack, but it was still Farquhar who was in the ascendancy and a second lap of 129.816mph saw him lead Hutchinson by 8.8 seconds as they came into the pits to refuel. A rapid pit stop by the Padgetts crew saw Hutchinson grab the lead as they started lap three, but Farquhar was back in front at Glen Helen and going into the final lap he led by 5.5 seconds.
However, Hutchinson put in a sensational charge around the final 37.73 mile circuit and with a speed of 130.741mph – the first ever 130mph+ lap in the class – he took the chequered flag and claimed victory by just 1.32 seconds.
3) 2012 SUPERSPORT TT RACE 1
A road traffic accident delayed the start of the first Supersport Race of 2012 by more than two hours, and although Michael Dunlop led by 10 seconds at the end of the first lap, the battle for second was red hot with just three seconds covering Gary Johnson, Cameron Donald, William Dunlop and Bruce Anstey.
Dunlop’s lead shot up to 22 seconds at half race distance but he was to retire at Balllig Bridge soon after and suddenly, the tight battle for second became the battle for the win. Johnson was now leading, five seconds clear of William Dunlop but just 0.4 seconds covered second to fourth.
Positions were changing all the time and going into the final lap, Johnson’s lead over new second place rider Anstey was down to 2 seconds, with Donald only a further 0.2 seconds adrift in third. William Dunlop was now 9 seconds back in fourth.
At Ramsey, Johnson still led but the gap between the leading trio was only 0.6 seconds. The drama continued as, little more than a mile from the finish, Johnson ran out of fuel. Donald crossed the line first but as Anstey took the flag he’d edged 0.77 seconds clear of his fellow Honda rider, taking the victory in the second-closest TT finish ever.
2. 2010 SENIOR TT
The 2010 Senior TT was without doubt one of the most dramatic races ever witnessed on the 37.73-mile Mountain Course and, although it was the race in which Ian Hutchinson made history by taking five wins in a single week, it only tells half of the story.
The start of the race saw Hutchinson, John McGuinness, Guy Martin and Conor Cummins locked in battle with less than 6 seconds covering the four riders after the first two laps, with McGuinness seemingly in the ascendancy as he charged from fourth to first on lap two.
However, 4 miles after the first pit stop Martin crashed heavily at Ballagarey and the resulting fireball and debris brought out the red flag. It was without doubt one of the most spectacular crashes ever witnessed at the TT Races and while he was injured in the 170mph crash, Martin miraculously made a swift and full recovery.
The 4-lap re-start was equally close between Hutchinson, Cummins and McGuinness, with Hutchinson leading on the opening lap by just 0.5 seconds before McGuinness was forced to retire at Glen Helen on lap two. Cummins then crashed spectacularly at the Verandah, sustaining multiple injuries but again making a full recovery.
Hutchinson went on to take victory from Ryan Farquhar and Bruce Anstey by over 35 seconds, creating history in the process as the first and only rider to win five TT Races in a single week.
The race, as part of one of the most dramatic TTs in history, was immortalised in the critically-acclaimed film TT3D: Closer To The Edge.
1. 2018 SENIOR TT
The 2018 Isle of Man TT Races was one of the greatest ever. Two weeks of glorious weather was accompanied by close, exhilarating racing as lap and race records tumbled in every class. However, the best was saved until last with a Senior Race that is arguably one of, if not the best race ever witnessed around the TT Mountain Course.
Dean Harrison and Peter Hickman had both been forced to retire from the opening Superbike Race, the former whilst leading and after setting the first ever lap at an average speed in excess of 134mph. The pair had subsequently taken a race win each – Harrison in the second Supersport Race whilst Hickman won a record-breaking Superstock encounter with his own 134mph+ lap.
The scene was set for the duo to have a battle royale and Harrison tore out the blocks the quickest, although he only led Hickman by a slender 1.4 seconds at the end of the first lap. A pattern soon emerged, Harrison consistently stretching his lead in sectors one and two from the Grandstand to Ballaugh and Hickman clawing back the deficit thereafter – particularly from Ramsey, over the Mountain and back to the Grandstand.
Amazingly, after the second pit stop the gap between the two was still only 1.4 secodns, although it continued to ebb and flow at each timing point. At Ballaugh on the sixth and final lap, Harrison had increased his advantage to 5.7 seconds but from that moment on, Hickman began to reduce the gap.
It wasn’t until the Bungalow, with over 218-miles of the 226-mile race completed, that Hickman grabbed the lead for the first time. Ahead on the road, Harrison flashed across the line first with a new outright lap record of 134.918mph, but Hickman bettered that with a sensational 135.452mph to win by just two seconds!