News from @iom_tt

News from @iom_tt

The four lap Bennetts Lightweight TT should again be a highly entertaining affair at the Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy with the strongest entry the class has seen to date.

The top twenty seeds are packed with potential race winners but although the field could be described as wide open, two of the pre-race favourites will be the two riders who have won in the last three years – Michael Rutter and Ivan Lintin.

Lintin won the race in both 2015 and 2016 and the Dafabet Devitt Racing rider had hoped to complete his hat-trick twelve months ago on his Kawasaki before Rutter halted his run. The Midlands rider took his fifth TT win while riding the Paton SC-Project Reparto Corse machine lapping, like Lintin, at more than 120mph.

Both riders will be on the same machines in 2018 with Rutter starting at number three this year with Lintin twenty seconds further back at number five. The latter will be keen to get back on top after finishing out of the podium places in fourth in 2017.

Martin Jessopp is another rider who will be hoping to claim the top spot with the Riders Motorcycles rider having finished second and third in the last two years. One of only four riders to lap at more than 120mph on a Lightweight machine, he will start at number one and will be looking to claim his maiden TT win.

The top ten is packed with potential race winners – none more so than Michael Dunlop who lines up at number six on a second Paton. His success in the class has been limited but he did take seventh place last year and with Rutter winning on the Italian marque last year, the 15-time TT Race winner will be confident he can do the same.

IEG/KMR Kawasaki have a great chance of victory with Peter Hickman who will again start at number ten. The Burton upon Trent rider took third place in 2017. Gary Johnson will again start at number seven on the WK Moto and, following his fourth place in 2016 and lapping in excess of 117mph on the constantly improving Chinese machine, the Brigg rider will be another contender.

Other seeded top ten riders including Daniel Cooper who starts at number three on his KW Electrical/CMS Kawasaki, Stefano Bonetti (8) and Ian Lougher (9). Italian rider Bonetti will be hoping for better fortune this year after retiring from third place in 2017 while veteran Lougher can never be ruled out.

Just outside the top ten and starting at numbers 11 and 12 respectively are McAdoo Racing Kawasaki’s James Cowton, third in 2014, and last year’s best newcomer Adam McLean who will ride the Roy Hanna Motors-entered machine – both of whom are capable of podium finishes.

Former Manx Grand Prix winner Michael Sweeney starts at number 13 on the Kiely Heating Kawasaki machine and he’ll be followed down Glencrutchery Road in quick succession by the two other IEG/KMR Kawasaki riders, Danny Webb and Derek McGee.

Jamie Coward, Rob Hodson, Derek Sheils and last year’s Manx GP Lightweight race winner Darren Cooper complete the top twenty while other riders on the entry include Michael Evans, Barry Lee Evans, Barry Furber, TT Rider Liaison Officer John Barton, Craig Neve, Joey Thompson and Maria Costello, again the only female representative in the solo field.

Czech Republic rider Michal Dokoupil, Austrian Julian Trummer, France’s Timothee Monot and Xavier Denis and Japan’s Masayuki Yamanaka lead the overseas challenge in the race which saw almost 80 entries received.

- Ends –

There’s a new look for this year’s Official Isle of Man TT Races programme with more original editorial than ever before across its 108 pages, complemented by stunning photography shot exclusively for the programme.

The programme also includes a definitive 62 page race guide to all the track action in a separate, easy to carry A5 publication featuring the start lists for every race, a guide to qualifying, profiles of all of the seeded riders, a course map and detailed spectator guide and the current lap and race records around the Mountain Course.

Peter Hickman appears on the programme front cover for the first time leading into an in depth feature with Peter and one of his closest rivals for honours this year Dean Harrison as they prepare to go head to head around the Mountain Course.

Lee Johnston is determined to win his first TT this year and the Northern Ireland rider talks candidly about a traumatic couple of years on and off the track as he prepares for a TT campaign with the Honda factory team.

There is also a unique insight into the Honda Racing squad from team boss Neil Tuxworth who gives the unrivalled perspective of his near thirty year career at the helm of the Louth based team.

Another team perspective is provided with an in depth feature on the Jackson Racing team who unveil the thinking behind their ‘academy’ project to develop young racers into the stars of tomorrow. Meanwhile, the young sidecar duo of Lewis Blackstock and Patrick Rosney, talk about changing the perception that you need to be a veteran to succeed in the Sidecar class at the TT.

Local hero Dan Kneen talks about growing up on the Isle of Man, his off track interests and what it would mean to become only the fourth local solo rider to win a TT.

From further afield Australian David Johnson offers an international viewpoint on his career to date as well as taking part in a tongue in cheek stereotypical Australian Q&A. Who knew he preferred Home and Away to Neighbours?

There’s a comprehensive ‘What’s On’ guide to all of the best off track entertainment around the Island as well as information on how to pick up last minute tickets for Official VIP Hospitality Experiences and Grandstand tickets.

For people looking for more than one annual Mountain Course fix, there’s detail of the other Mountain Course racing scheduled for this year including details of the Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix as well as information on the Southern 100 Club’s annual events.

The programme is on sale now island wide priced at £18 and on line at iomtt.com with deliveries available worldwide.

Legendary UK band Reef will bring the 2018 Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy to a close on Friday 8th of June with a rousing concert set to take place in the heart of the TT Races Paddock. Reef burst onto the music scene in 1995, with their debut album ‘Replenish’ achieving Gold status in the UK during the peak of the Britpop era. This was followed up by the even more successful ‘Glow’ which went to Number 1 in the UK album chart on its way to going Platinum and featuring the hit single ‘Place Your hands’.

Another two studio albums followed alongside regular appearances at the UK’s leading festivals including Glastonbury, Reading Festival and the Isle of White Festival. Consisting of Gary Stringer on vocals, Jesse Wood on guitar, Jack Bessant on bass and Dominic Greensmith on drums, the band released a fifth studio album earlier this month to critical acclaim and featuring new single ‘My Sweet Love’ starring guest vocalist Sheryl Crowe coming off the back of a sell-out UK tour.

Reef are currently back on the road as part of another sell out UK tour; Britpop must be Destroyed, alongside The Wildhearts and Terrorvision. Their headline Senior TT performance is not the first time that Reef have overlapped with the legendary Isle of Man TT motorcycle race. Their track ‘Mellow’ from debut album ‘Replenish’ featured on the 2011 documentary film ‘TT3D – Closer to the Edge’.

Reef’s concert will take place in the Official Hospitality Unit in the heart of the TT Paddock. The venue is undoubtedly more intimate than many of the bands’ appearances to date with tickets limited to five hundred.