WHAT A TT
Two weeks of bad weather, tragedy and incredible racing made 2017 a TT to remember
The fantastic racing at TT 2017 was watched by the highest number of visitors to the event since the centenary TT a decade ago but this year’s event will also be remembered for the terrible weather that played havoc with the schedules of both practice and race week. Unseasonal heavy rain and dense fog forced the cancellation of four nights of practice and the second Supersport race.
With so little track time beleaguered Clerk of the Course, Gary Thompson, took the unprecedented step of allowing riders to practice from the startline to Ramsey before travelling marshals brought the pack back to the grandstand over the mist-shrouded Mountain section. Thompson has already announced the probable reintroduction of afternoon practice at next year’s event to help prevent a repeat of this year’s problems.
When the riders did get out on track the racing was as spectacular, if a little slower, than the fireworks of 2016. Ian Hutchinson and Michael Dunlop were once again the stars of the show, winning two races each.
But it didn’t end well for Hutchy who suffered a high speed crash on lap two of the Senior. The 16-time TT winner broke his left femur in the crash after losing the front and colliding with the protection barriers.
Hutchy was airlifted off the mountain and is now in Liverpool Hospital where his recovery is set to begin.
As MCN went to press Hutchy was unavailable for comment.
It’s a terrible blow for the 37-year-old who has previously fought back from career-ending injuries after he was run over in a British Supersport race at the end of 2010 following his incredible five TT wins in a week.
Facing another potentially careerending injury, the Bingley man will need all the resolve and determination to get back to full fitness. But he’s done it before and the smart money is on that he’ll do it again.
The opening Superbike race took place on Sunday after being delayed by 24 hours and Dunlop’s second-lap retirement, when his Bennetts Suzuki GSX-R100RR’S engine broke robbed the fans of the expected renewal of his 2016 rivalry with Hutchinson. Hutchy eased away to victory on the Tyco BMW S1000RR in his absence as Peter Hickman forced his way through from a slow start on the Smith’s BMW to begin a remarkable podium run. Dean Harrison claimed his first Superbike TT rostrum with third on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki. Dunlop set the fastest lap of the race at 131.135mph before his retirement.
Sidecars get a grip
While the majority of the solo riders complained about a lack of grip as little rubber was laid down on the rain-lashed circuit but that didn’t hinder brothers Ben and Tom Birchall from setting a new three-wheeler lap record in the opening Sidecar TT. The Mansfield brothers became the first crew to lap at over 117mph in their IEG Racing Honda.
The Birchall brothers backed up their race one dominance to win the second Sidecar TT by 26.5 seconds from John Holden and Lee Cain with Conrad Harrison and Andy Wilkes (Honda) taking third. It was the double world champions’ sixth TT victory.
Single Supersport race
The solo riders were back on track on Monday for what was to be the only 600cc race of the week. Michael Dunlop made a return to form on the smaller machine as the man who has held the TT Supersport lap record since 2013 blitzed the competition aboard his MD Racing Yamaha. James Hillier chased Dunlop on his JG Speedfit Kawasaki as Peter Hickman made it a podium double on the Trooper Beer Triumph in the patchy conditions that saw Ian Hutchinson and William Dunlop survive huge moments at Hillberry. It was the younger Dunlop’s 14th TT victory, matching the tally of TT great, Mike Hailwood.
Hutchy doubles up
Wednesday’s Superstock race was, as expected, an Ian Hutchinson benefit with the Yorkshireman bringing his tally of TT wins to 16 with a start-tofinish win on the Tyco BMW.
Rutter rolls back the years
Michael Rutter took his first petrol bike TT win in the Lightweight TT since his 1998 Junior victory on a V&M Yamaha. The 45-year-old won by 8.8 seconds on a stunning Paton from Martin Jessopp with Peter Hickman coming through to take third on Ryan Farquhar’s KMR Kawasaki.
Anstey is electrifying
There was no further action until Friday when veteran Bruce Anstey denied his Mugen team-mate, Guy Martin his first TT win by taking victory in the Zero TT. It was the only high point in a poor week for the Kiwi, whose best finish was seventh in the Supersport race on the Padgett’s Honda. MCN’S Adam Child finished sixth on the Moto Corsa/energica machine. Q See MCN’S 36-page TT review and pullout posters.
‘When the riders did get out on track it was spectacular – if a little slower – than the fireworks of 2016’
Hutchy had a big crash on the second lap of the Senior TTN I A T S O C N A I Y B E R U T C I P
Hutchy’s TT week started strongly