The Motorsport Merchandise Formula 1, Formula 2 and Formula Classic Races are set to bring this year’s Classic TT presented by Bennetts to a stunning conclusion with some of the most iconic, and exotic, machines from yesteryear set to grace the Mountain Course once more.
The F1 class has seen a mammoth 74 entries received – over three times the number of competitors on the starting grid in recent years. With the likes of the RC30 Honda, OW01 Yamaha, ZXR Kawasaki and GSXR Suzuki on the start line, it promises to be one of the races of the week. Throw in the likes of the XR69 Suzuki’s, 500cc Grand Prix Yamahas and Suzuki’s and FZ750 Yamaha’s and it’s easy to see why riders have been desperate to participate.
Split into categories to reflect the era from which the bike is from, the most popular class has been the pre-1992 Superbike and going off at number 1, as he did at the TT, will be James Hillier.
The Bournemouth man will be on board one of CSC Racing’s impressive RC30 Honda’s. He’ll certainly be tough to beat but ten seconds behind him will be the first of the Yamaha Classic Racing Team riders, Steve Mercer riding an immaculate YEC OW01 Yamaha in what will be team principal Ferry Brouwer’s swansong.
TT Rider Liaison Officer John Barton has acquired an ex Ray Stringer ZXR750 Kawasaki and will line up at number 4 with leading TT rider Dan Stewart on a similar machine at number 9 and the Cumbrian is sure to be one of the race favourites. Paul Owen, Jamie Coward and former Senior Manx GP winner Paul Duckett will also be Kawasaki mounted, the trio riding for Mistral Racing.
As well as Hillier, other RC30 Honda riders include 1993 Formula 1 TT winner Nick Jefferies, Kiaran Hankin, David Madsen-Mygdal, who enjoyed great success on the machine at the TT, and Manx Grand Prix outright lap record holder Alan Jackson jnr.
Michael Dunlop and Conor Cummins lead the Suzuki charge on board 1100cc GSXR powered XR69’s for Team Classic Suzuki. Russ Mountford, who led the corresponding race last year before breaking down, Dan Kneen, Davy Morgan and Graham English are also part of the team.
As well as Mercer, Yamaha have further strength in depth with TT stalwart Jim Hodson and the up and coming Ryan Kneen. Meanwhile, Mick Godfrey, who previously finished on the podium at the MGP, switches to an 888 Ducati.
Yamaha Classic Racing Team also field American Mark Miller who rides the a recreation of the 1986 FZ750 machine that Grand Prix legend Eddie Lawson rode to Daytona 200 glory and Daniel Cooper on the legendary TZ500 Yamaha that was ridden by the likes of Kenny Roberts, Johnny Cecotto and Steve Baker. Olie Linsdell is another rider who can be expected to feature towards the top of the leaderboard and he’ll be campaigning another FZ750 Yamaha whilst TT star Gary Johnson lines up for Team Winfield on a Harris framed machine.
A host of other riders are expected to be in contention including MGP winners Dave Milling, Dave Moffitt and Alan Oversby as well as Tim Poole, Maria Costello, Ken Davis, Adrian Cox, Bob Price, Alan Bud Jackson, Roger Wibberley, Peter Simpson and Alan Connor, with Connor riding a 588 Norton Rotary.
There’s also been a significant increase in entries for the Formula 2 Classic Race where the 250cc TZ Yamaha’s are expected to dominate. The class should see a battle royale between Chris Palmer on the Rob Brew Racing entered machine and Roy Richardson on the FCL Racing/Martin Bullock Manxsport equivalent. The duo have been the dominant forces at the Manx GP but perhaps a dark horse for honours is 20-year old James Cowton. The Yorkshire rider had a great Manx GP debut in 2012 and riding for two stroke guru Peter Berwick, he has a great chance of success.
Phil McGurk, Ewan Hamilton and Chris Moore are also expected to be well to the fore as is Pete Symes on one of the few Hondas in the field. Stuart Hall, Chris Barratt and Tom Jackson are just some of the other notable 250cc-mounted riders whilst Grant Wagstaff will be one to watch with the Ducks Cross Racing 350cc Yamaha. Meanwhile, Shaun Anderson, Nuno Caetano and Andy Lawson should be the front-runners in the 600cc four-stroke categories.
The third race within a race is for the Formula Classic machines where Mark Parrett is a pre-race favourite on the Snibor Racing 850cc BSA. Barry Davidson and John Ingram are on similar machines though so cannot be ruled out whilst Chris McGahan will certainly have a say in matters on the 850cc Triumph. Allan Brew rides a 350cc Yamaha for the Yamaha Classic Racing Team with Gavin Lupton’s 757cc Triumph another of the pre-race contenders.