250 2-Stroke GP Bikes Return to Isle of Man

2016 Classic TT Welcomes 250 GP Bikes, Class Restructures
John McGuinness aboard Vimto Honda 250cc at Ballaugh Bridge in 1999 TT

The whine of 250 2-stroke Grand Prix motorcycles were a staple at the Isle of Man TT’s Mountain Course until 2004. That year, the TT became focused on the four-stroke market and the rise of Superbike, Superstock and Supersport classes.

But the 250 GP bikes will return to the Snaefell Mountain Course for the 2016 Classic TT Races presented by Bennetts. Many of the fastest Isle of Man TT pilots have raced 250 GP machines, including Bruce Anstey and 23-time TT winner John McGuinness. The “Morecamble Missile” McGuinness still holds the fastest 250cc lap time around the 37.73-mile Mountain Course – a 118.29 set in 1999.

The new Lightweight Classic TT will be open to all 250cc GP bikes, and also be open to the machines previously ran in the Formula 2 Classic TT race; these Formula 2 bikes will compete alongside the 250cc GP bikes, but run in a sub-class of their own.

2016 Classic TT Welcomes 250 GP Bikes, Class Restructures Superbike 500cc
Lee Johnston on Black Eagle Racing MV Agusta

In other 2016 Classic TT news, the Bennetts 500cc Classic TT Race and the Okells Brewery 350cc Classic TT Race will change names to Senior and Junior respectively. The Formula 1 Classic TT is will become the Superbike Classic Race and for a change will take place as a standalone race.

The fourth annual Classic TT at the Isle of Man begins with the Bennetts Senior Class TT and the Lightweight Classic TT on Saturday, August 27. The racing wraps up Monday, August 29, with the Okells Junior Classic TT Race and the Motorsport Merchandise Superbike Classic TT Race.

The Classic TT, first introduced to the Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling in 2013 alongside the Manx Grand Prix, has seen significant growth with rising attendances, increased media coverage, free to air TV coverage in the UK and internationally, new commercial partners and close, spectacular racing as Classic Racing specialists have gone head to head with some of the world’s leading road racers. the IOM TT official press site reports.

Paul Phillips, TT and Motorsport Development Manager, Isle of Man Department of Economic Development, says: “The timing is right to introduce a race for proper 250cc two-stroke grand prix racing motorcycles at the Classic TT. They are so popular with fans because of the unique sounds and smells they produce. We are confident that we will attract a quality line up of riders on board some first class machinery for this new addition to the Classic TT race program.”

David Cretney, the Isle of Man Government’s member responsible for Tourism and Motorsport, says: “I’m really looking forward to the return of two stroke machines to the Mountain Course. Two strokes have featured in some of the most memorable races on the Isle of Man and the smell and sound will evoke many memories as well as undoubtedly creating some new ones. It’s important to remember that this is a spectator sport and we want to do everything that we can to ensure that fans are entertained by the spectacle.”