How pro­duc­tion bikes saved the Moun­tain course in 1977

FORTY YEARS AGO A NEW PRO­DUC­TION-BASED FOR­MULA RAC­ING SAVED THE WORLD’S MOST FA­MOUS PURE ROAD RAC­ING COURSE FROM EX­TINC­TION

Classic Bike (UK) - - Contents - PHO­TOG­RA­PHY COUR­TESY FOTTO FINDERS

Af­ter the TT lost its World Championship sta­tus in 1976, the Isle of Man au­thor­i­ties worked with the ACU to de­velop a new for­mula of rac­ing. This would hope­fully en­sure the fu­ture suc­cess of the 37.73-mile course and would al­low or­gan­is­ers to em­brace other events to form a mean­ing­ful world championship on pure road cour­ses. The new TT for­mula fea­tured bikes with pro­duc­tion en­gines in af­ter­mar­ket frames and cov­ered three dif­fer­ent classes: For­mula One (four-stroke from 600-1000cc and two-stroke 350 to 500cc); For­mula Two (four-stroke from 400-600cc and two-stroke 250-350cc), and For­mula Three (four-stroke from 200-400cc and twostroke 125-250cc). For 1977 and 1978 the TT For­mula was run just at the TT, but a new ‘championship’ then in­cluded the Ul­ster GP for 1979 and would even­tu­ally grow into an eightround World Championship, bol­stered by a mix of street and cir­cuit races in Europe and Scan­di­navia – and even one in Ja­pan. By 1987 only the TT For­mula One sur­vived, but even that got the chop af­ter 1990 when it was over­shad­owed by the World Su­per­bike Championship, launched in 1988 to run on pur­pose-built rac­ing cir­cuits that, by na­ture and de­sign, of­fered much im­proved safety.

Pro­duc­tion-based rac­ing classes how­ever have proved the lifeblood of the TT, with the event con­tin­u­ing to grow in stature. And these days, those For­mula bikes are the stars of the Clas­sic TT.

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