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Hickman takes provisional pole position at Macau GP 2018

Peter’s first taste of Macau was in 2014, however after his bike failed causing him to crash in practice, he was unable to take part in the race. Returning in 2015 he took his first ever Macau GP win, in 2016 he earned a second win at the 6.1KM Guia Circuit. 

This year, under the Aspire Ho racing colours, with fellow Isle of Man TT star and 8 time Macau GP winner, Michael Rutter, Peter and his Smiths Racing team look to take his third win.

Riding under number 88, on his record-breaking Isle of Man Senior TT BMW S1000RR, Peter took to the streets of Macau at 23:30 UK time on Thursday 14th of November. In the early part of the session, a fallen rider lead to a red flag which stopped the session for 10 minutes. Peter took to the track immediately on the restart however another incident caused a second red flag just 5 minutes later. 

When the circuit was cleared, Peter went out and settled into a P5 position with a time of 2:34.249 he went on to take P2 with 2:30.434 before the chequered flag.

At 08:00 UK time, Qualifying started steadily with Hickman, putting himself in P5. As the session went on the Louth-based motorcycle racer, set the timing screens purple in his last sector and went fastest with a 2:28.2 

Looking confident it was Hickman, and fellow Aspire Ho rider Micheal Rutter who took control of the first qualifying session, swapping the top spot many times.

With 22 minutes left on the clock, Hickman regained P1, setting three purple sector times he raised the bar to 2:25.6 and returned to Smiths Racing in the pits. 

His final outing on the Guia Circuit saw him light up the timing screens in every sector and he went on to take provisional pole position with a time of 2:25.429 ahead of Qualifying 2, set to take place at 23:30 UK time. 


Peter Hickman:“It was a nice clean qualifying session, and Smiths Racing have given me a great set up here. The bike feels good, I feel good, and it was great to be duelling with my Aspire Ho / Bathams Racing teammate, Michael Rutter in the early parts of the session. We’ve both came here hoping to put the team on the top step, and we’ve made a strong start today.

Thanks to all the sponsors and fans following live. The support is mega, and it definitely helps drive me forward when I am racing so far away from home!” 

Live coverage of the Macau GP second qualifying session starts tonight at 22:30 UK time. With the 12 lap race taking place on Saturday morning at 07:55.


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Dan Kneen passes away following incident at IOMTT

ACU statement:

ACU Events Ltd regrets to confirm that Dan Kneen, 30, from Onchan in the Isle of Man died this evening following injuries sustained during the Superbike qualifying session on the Isle of Man.

Dan made his mountain course debut at the Manx Grand Prix in 2008 and won an unprecedented three races – the Junior, the Newcomers C and the Ultra Lightweight MGP Races.

He achieved his first TT podium in last year’s Superstock Race, finishing third in the Superstock TT Race. He has a fastest official lap of 130.347mph which he set in last year’s Superstock Race and recorded a lap of 132.258mph (17:06.994) in last night’s Superbike qualifying session.

ACU Events Ltd wishes to pass on their deepest sympathy to Dan’s partner Leanne, his family and his many friends in the road racing community and beyond. (IOMTT)

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Hutchinson reunited with Padgett’s in IOMTT Supersport class

Hutchinson won the two Supersport Races at both the 2015 and 2016 TT meetings and to date has won eight Supersport TT Races since his maiden victory in 2007. He has a fastest 600 lap of 128,259 which he achieved in 2016.

The 16 time TT winner will ride the Padgett’s machine alongside Honda Racing Fireblades in the Superbike and Superstock events. It will be the first time the 38 year old has ridden with Clive Padgett’s squad since winning five TTs in 2010 with the Batley outfit.

“Originally I had planned to ride with the Honda Racing team in all three races but because I didn’t know until just two weeks ago that I would be able to race those plans changed.” Hutchinson explained.

“Clive’s circumstances had also changed with Bruce Anstey not riding this year so we were able to get the deal sorted.”

Clive Padgett explained that Anstey, who is locked in a battle with cancer, has given his blessing to Hutchy riding his bike.

“I rang Bruce and asked him if he was OK with Ian riding the bike and he had no problem with it at all.” he said.

Conor Cummins will ride in all three classes for Padgetts at the TT and North West 200 and Lee Johnston, Hutchinson’s Honda Racing teammate, will also campaign a Padgett’s CBR in the Supersport races at the TT Races as well as this week’s North West 200.

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Dunlop and Hutchinson set to renew Supersport battle at the TT Races

As with the 1000cc classes, the duo will start at number four and six respectively with Hutchinson on board the Honda Racing machine, having moved away from Yamaha, and Dunlop on a similar CBR600RR that he will run in his own MD Racing livery.

Manxman Conor Cummins will have the number one plate on the Padgetts Honda and will have teammate Lee Johnston, who moves up the order from 13 to three, in close attendance.   Johnston will be looking to make amends for the Batley based concern having crashed in practice at Greeba Castle last year.

The Padgetts Racing pair are separated by James Hillier who again lines up at number two on the Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki. Having come second in 2017, pushing Dunlop all the way, he will be hoping to go one better and add to his single TT win from 2013.

Dean Harrison slots in at number five, positioned between Hutchinson and Dunlop on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki. He retired from last year’s race but second and third in 2016 more than prove his credentials and confirm him among the pre-race favourites.

Gary Johnson, the only rider other than Hutchinson and Dunlop to win a Supersport race since 2013, again sets off at number seven – this time on the RAF Regular & Reserve Triumph. Having taken victory in 2014 on a similar machine, the Lincolnshire rider should be among the leading riders.

Dan Kneen (8) who will ride for the Jackson Racing Honda concern, with whom he did so well in 2017, is another rider expected to be challenging for a podium place while William Dunlop moves up the order for the 600cc races, taking over the number nine plate on his Temple Golf Club Yamaha.

Peter Hickman, a double podium finisher last year on the Trooper Beer Triumph, rides the same machine again this time around and again sets off at number ten with the Burton upon Trent rider another strong contender.

Josh Brookes starts ten seconds behind Hickman, this time on the McAMS Yamaha, the team that Hutchinson enjoyed great success with. He’ll be followed by Martin Jessopp on the Riders Motorcycles Triumph.

With Johnston moving up the order, there’s a space at 13 and so next up at 14 will be Michael Rutter followed by David Johnson, the duo dropping out of the top ten for the 600cc races compared to their higher starting positions in the three 1000cc races.

Jamie Coward again starts at number 16, this time on the PRez Racing Yamaha, and while Steve Mercer will again be at number 17, he has two new riders behind him with Ivan Lintin (18) moving into the seeds on his Dafabet Devitt Racing Kawasaki and James Cowton (19) doing likewise on his similar McAdoo Racing ZX-6R Kawasaki.

The field is packed with talented riders and amongst those outside the top twenty include Craig Neve (23), former Manx GP winner Andrew Dudgeon (26), Sam West (29), Daniel Cooper (37) and the Irish triumvirate of Derek McGee (27), Michael Sweeney (28) and Adam McLean (34).

A number of the leading Manx GP competitors also move up including Michael Evans (35), Glenn Harrison (39), Darren Cooper (40) and Jamie Williams (41) while overseas competitors with strong pedigrees include the Czech Republic’s Michal Dokoupil (25) and Kamil Holan (33), Spain’s Antonio Maeso (49) and Julian Toniutti (50) from France.

Last year’s newcomers Joey Thompson (51) and Paul Jordan (58) return with former Pirelli National Superstock 600cc front runners Davey Todd and Adam Lyon making their debuts this time around.

A total of 85 entries were accepted and the class was the most oversubscribed race in this year’s meeting.

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Mackenzie’s in the points at Brands Hatch

We didn’t quite shake off the bad weather at Brands Hatch last weekend but at least it was a few degrees warmer and drier than round one of BSB at Donington Park.

Overall the boys had a good weekend with Tarran scoring his first ever British Superbike points with 11th and 9th places respectively on his McAMS Yamaha. Taylor finished just outside the points in race one but went home reasonably happy after landing a championship point in race two on his Moto Rapido Ducati.

Tarran:

I’m pleased with my weekend as I’ve achieved my first goal of the season scoring championship points. The wrist I fractured at Donington wasn’t perfect but my physio did a great job and my team worked hard as always to give me a well set up bike. Being 9th fastest in qualifying gave me confidence and as I’ve still only had nine days riding a Superbike and know there is plenty more to come. A fogging visor in race two wasn’t ideal but overall I was happy with my pace and ninth position at the chequered flag.

Taylor:

I’m finding the Ducati feels quite different to what I’m used to as we visit different tracks, however, I’m getting to grips with things and figuring out how to to get the best from my bike. I was pretty frustrated with my race day as I didn’t get the results the team and me deserve considering the progress we’ve made. We’re very positive though and ready to move up the field at the coming rounds. Oulton Park is next and a track I’ve always liked and where I’ve enjoyed plenty success in the past.

Both lads will test next week at Oulton Park ahead of round three in May.

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Rivalries aside

In an unprecedented move, two of the Isle of Man TT’s greatest ever riders will join forces at this year’s Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy with John McGuinness set to ride for Michael Dunlop’s MD Racing team in the two Monster Energy Supersport races.

McGuinness, who will be making his return to the TT this year after missing the 2017 meeting due to injuries sustained at the North West 200, will ride a similar CBR600RR Honda to team owner and rival Dunlop in the four-lap races, which will be held on Monday 4th and Wednesday 6th June.

Dunlop and McGuinness both have an excellent track record in the class with the Northern Irishman winning last year’s four lap race when Yamaha-mounted while 23-time winner McGuinness was victorious in both 2005 and 2006 for Yamaha and Honda respectively. Riding for the latter exclusively since 2006, the Morecambe Missile added further Supersport podiums to his haul in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2013.

Since 2010 McGuinness has lined up in the colours of Padgetts Racing and, more recently the Jackson Racing team, finishing in the top five on no less than eight occasions with his most recent outing in 2016 seeing him finish fifth. His fastest lap in the Supersport category, 127.210mph, came in 2013 when he made his last visit to the podium in the class which makes him the fifth fastest rider ever to have lapped the Mountain Course on a 600cc machine.

Dunlop still holds the lap record for the class having lapped at 128.667mph on his way to a double victory in 2013 when riding the CBR600RR. MD Racing will be making their return to Honda for the two Monster Energy Supersport Races for the first time since 2015.

Speaking about the tie up, John McGuinness commented:

“I’m excited to be riding Michael’s bike at this year’s TT.  It’s started off as a bit of a joke conversation between us both and has developed into him going off and building me a bike. I’m a big fan of Michael’s both as a rider but also for what he has done in terms of running his own teams and winning races out the back of his van against the factory teams over the years. The Dunlop name means so much to TT fans and as a fan myself, I can’t wait to represent that name at this year’s event. We’ve won 38 TT’s between us so together we know what needs to be done and I am sure we will be right at the sharp end.”

Michael Dunlop added:

“I hadn’t ever really planned on building another bike, but when John started talking to me about it, I thought it was a great idea and I couldn’t really say no. It’s good for me, it’s good for my team and no matter who you are, the man has won 23 TT races so there is always going to be something that can be learnt by having him in working alongside you. People don’t see him as a 600cc rider, but he’s won races and had lots of podium finishes on a 600cc bike and I will give him a bike capable of winning on.”

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Hardisty joins Jackson at The People’s Bike team for TT

The Isle of Man based rider will be teammate to TT newcomer David Jackson.

Rhys has a number of years’ experience now on the roads and has a good record of finishes at the Manx Grand Prix. His highlights include an 11th place in the Senior MGP last year where he lapped at 118.343mph, following a 12th place in the Junior race earlier in the week.  He also finished third in the Formula 2 Classic TT Race in 2015 lapping at a more than impressive 111mph on a 250cc Yamaha.

He also plans to step up to the big bike class at the TT this year on a BMW S1000 but has competed at other circuits already in the 1000 classes including the Southern 100 where he lapped at almost 105mph in 2017. He will run on a Reps Motorcycles R6 Yamaha in the two Monster Energy Supersport Races.

Rhys Hardisty commented:

“Racing at the TT has been a dream of mine since watching Joey Dunlop there as a young child. I’m really excited to finally be able to ride at the TT and am so grateful to The People’s Bike team for giving me this opportunity. I’m really looking forward to working with them as I make the step up to the TT. “

Team Manager Janice Thompson said,

“We are very excited to welcome Rhys into the team. We have been following his career over the last couple of years and TT 2018 seemed like perfect time to step him up from the Manx GP. Rhys is a very talented rider and we believe he has the ability required for future success on the mountain course.”

The People’s Bike team, now in their tenth year, provide all sponsors with an official sponsors t-shirt, together with a goodie bag containing a team lanyard and stickers. All sponsors have the opportunity to add a photo of their choice to the livery on the bike’s fairings which will then feature on the bikes during race week.

Check out the team’s website thepeoplesbike.com and keep up to date with their news at this year’s TT and also see how you can become part of this unique team.

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Norton pull in the big guns!

23-time TT Race winner John McGuinness has signed to ride for the Norton factory team in the RST Superbike and PokerStars Senior TT Races at the 2018 Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy.

McGuinness joins 2015 British Superbike Champion Josh Brookes in a two-man team using the latest specification Norton ‘SG7’ machines, derived from the firm’s flagship V4 RR road bike.

McGuinness last won a Superbike class race in 2015, winning the PokerStars Senior TT, which also saw him breaking the outright lap record with a lap of 132.701, which remains his fastest lap around the Mountain Course. He achieved podiums in both the 2016 RST Superbike and PokerStars Senior TT but missed last year’s TT race meeting due to serious injuries sustained in the North West 200, which he is still recovering from. However, he expects to be back to full fitness in time for his TT debut with Norton this June.

McGuinness has enjoyed a remarkable TT career and is second only to Joey Dunlop in outright TT victories and is rightly considered as one of the all-time TT greats.  In a career that has now stretched over twenty years, he first announced himself to the road-racing world in 1996, finishing the highest placed and fastest newcomer in the 250cc TT Race and his name has since become synonymous with the Isle of Man Mountain Course.

He has stood on the Isle of Man TT podium a record 46 times from 78 race finishes and is confident that more success is just around the corner now he has teamed up with this iconic British brand.

Talking about the news of his Norton signing John McGuinness commented:

“I didn’t want to end my career due to an injury, but the truth is I didn’t know whether I would be able to come back as I didn’t know how fit I was going to be. Right now, things are going well. I feel a lot sharper and my head is in gear and ready to go. The plan is to get the external fixator cage off my leg by the end of this month and after that we can start working towards getting bike fit and testing.”  

“I’m definitely ready for a change of manufacturer. I needed an injection of enthusiasm and I’ve found it with Norton. From the first time I met with Stuart (Garner) the vibe was there and the passion. I watched Steve Hislop win the TT on the Norton in 1992 and it was massive. Everyone remembers that! We can’t get carried away, it’s going to be a big job but I’ve watched a lot of YouTube videos of the bike in action, I watched the bike out on track last year and it’s clearly a very fast and capable bike and I can tell you there are worse handling bikes out there too, so there’s no reason we can’t do the business if the stars line up right.”

Norton Motorcycles CEO Stuart Garner added:

“We’ve been talking to John for a year or more, he’s the talent. He’s the man at the TT with the total experience, the results and the pedigree. We have the ambition to win the TT and to go on to develop a really strong team in years to come. We’d got John in our sights for a long time.”

“To get John in the Norton team with his experience and knowledge available is fabulous.  Norton will seize the opportunity to get John involved in all aspects of the bike – he’s a huge asset to Norton. Everyone in the factory has got a huge buzz. It’s pretty special.  We’re all looking forward to the TT but we’ve not set any targets and take nothing for granted. Putting John McGuiness and Norton together is a dream team, but we know all results at the TT are hard earned whatever your name.”

 

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Official 2018 Isle of Man TT Races launch set for 21st March

The most famous names in TT racing will be in attendance at the event to talk about their preparations and ambitions ahead of the 2018 event.

The star studded evening will see the latest news on all of the action on track announced, as well as details of new additions to the off track schedule. All of which will be set against a backdrop of some of the amazing machines being ridden this year along with the iconic TT trophies and a non -stop collection of awe inspiring TT video clips.

Doors open at 7.00pm for a 730pm start with tickets priced at £5 available from the Villa Marina box office at www.villagaiety.com.

If you can’t be on the Island, you will be able to watch the proceedings live via the Official Isle of Man TT Races website – iomtt.com.

 

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IOMTT: Blackstock and Rosney join Silicone

Rising stars Lewis Blackstock and Patrick Rosney will be firmly aiming for a podium position in the two Sidecar Races at the 2018 Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy, with the Blackburn duo lining up as team-mates to John Holden and Lee Cain in the Silicone Engineering Team.

Blackstock, 26, and Rosney, 23, will be part of an expanded Silicone Engineering set-up in June with the pairing set to pilot Holden’s TT-winning LCR Honda, a switch from the Suzuki power unit they used in 2017.

Having made their debut on the Mountain Course in 2016, Blackstock and Rosney immediately impressed as they finished in 14th place in both of the three-lap races to earn themselves two bronze replicas. They also recorded a best lap of 107.137mph around the 37.73-mile course and only narrowly missed out on the best newcomer’s award.

Continuing with their LCR Suzuki in 2017, the duo encountered problems on the opening lap of the first race and were running in last position but they spiritedly continued and, aided by a lap of 109.274mph, finished in 26th place. However, the second race of the week saw them break the 110mph barrier for the first time as they recorded their best TT finish to date, briefly occupying third place half way through the race.

They increased their best lap to 110.599mph thus joining the very select group of three-wheel crews to lap the Mountain Course in excess of 110mph and although the final lap saw them slip back to fourth, it more than proved their potential and has earmarked them as podium contenders in 2018 where there’ll form a formidable looking line-up alongside Holden and Cain.

As well as the TT, Blackstock and Rosney are set to compete at the Southern 100 for the first time later this year while they will also contest the World Sidecar Championship having done so for the first time in 2017. 

Lewis Blackstock said:

“We’ve learned so much in our first two TT’s and I felt that we were really beginning to push on in 2017. Teaming up with Silicone Engineering can only help us make the TT podium this year and we’ll be giving it everything we’ve got to really get in among the front runners.”