The 1988TT was all about the successfultt debut of Honda’s VFR750 RC30 with Hislop and Morrison taking a 1-2 in the Production B race, despite having to stop for fuel at the end of each lap. Race distance had been increased from three laps to four and with the World Formula One Championship race moving from its traditional Saturday slot to Monday, the race was given its own place on the schedule. Indeed, it was given the prime Saturday afternoon spot on the programme and with no less than 109 entries, it was a sign of the times with 350s and 500s disappearing from the racing scene and Production-based racing slowly taking over. Hislop tore the record books apart, taking 15 seconds off the lap record from a standing start and although Morrison took over the lead on lap two, Hislop was back in front a lap later and a new lap record of 112.94mph on the final lap saw him take the win by over 12 seconds. Johnson took third on his Bimotayamaha with James Whitham the best placed Suzuki in fourth. The racing for the week had actually started on the Friday evening, for the first time though with the combined C and D classes where the records were again smashed, particularly in the former where Roger Hurst (600cc GPX Kawasaki) looked like he’d deny the dominant CBR600 Honda.
He led for the first three laps and held a 10 second lead at one point but Morrison and his Honda had closed to within 1.4s going into the final lap and the tenacious Scotsman claimed his firsttt win by three seconds at the conclusion of the four laps. Hislop set a new lap record of 109.83mph on the final lap to claim the final podium spot from starting partner Leach by just 0.2s with Honda taking eight of the first 10 places. Woodland made it a hat-trick of wins in the D class where he was riding the Fzr400yamaha once more, but luck was on his side after Brian Warburton’s 600cc Honda cannoned into him at Appledene. Woodland had passed Warburton only for the veteran, having his first race on the island for 12 years, to pass him back.tragically Warburton lost control and was killed in the crash but Woodland stayed on. Despite the loss of his brakes he managed to finish 16 seconds in front of Graeme Mcgregor, riding a 250cc Suzuki he’d only seen that morning.the Australian was a late replacement for Andy Mcgladdery who’d suffered a broken collarbone in a practice crash. Brian Reid took third as the FZR400 Yamaha filled five of the first six places. The Production A race was moved to Wednesday afternoon and it produced one of the closesttt finishes of all time after a magnificent all-yamaha, all-yorkshire duel, saw just 0.8 of a second separate winner Leach and Johnson. Leach led from the start and held a 10-second lead at one stage over Wilson with Johnson back in fourth. Going into the final lap, he was some 16 seconds clear of Johnson who was still in third but with Leach having to ease the pace in the closing stages due to his chain jumping the sprocket, Johnson began to reel him in. He blitzed the final lap with a new lap record of 116.55mph, less than 20 seconds slower than the outright lap record, but it was to be in vain as Leach held on by 0.8s. Wilson took third with fellow Suzuki rider Mellor in fourth and Haynes the first Kawasaki home in fifth.
Above: It’s 1988, the Prod B class and James Whitham muscles the Men Only GSX-R around the Mountain Course.Right:trevor Nation in the Prod B TT 1988.