Two weeks of bad weather, tragedy and in­cred­i­ble rac­ing made 2017 a TT to re­mem­ber

Motorcycle News (UK) - - This Week - By Stephen Dav­i­son ROADS RE­PORTER

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.

Dun­lop drama

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 TT


Hutchy’s TT week started strongly

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