Isle of Man TT '24 - by Keith Amor

It's the greatest show on earth. Well, at least in our opinion! Once again, after 366 days, it was time to load up our van, pack our suitcases, and say 'catch ye!' because we were heading to the famous, thrilling, adrenaline-pumping Isle of Man. What is it about this place? Is it the bikes, the riders, the locals, the show, the sponsors, or the fresh sea air? We don't know! All we know is it's a feeling, one you can't quite put your finger on or describe. We've been trading here for 14 years, and over the years, we've met the most incredible people. Among them is former road racer and TT legend, Keith Amor. Keith graciously agreed to be a guest blogger for this year's TT piece by Red Torpedo.

 So, where to start?

Firstly the surprisingly hot and sunny weather that we gladly endured last year was nothing short of miraculous but I think many of us may have forgotten that the IOM TT races are held on an island in the middle of the Irish sea. Unfortunately we were brought back to reality with a harsh bump this year. The weather did not want to play ball, time after time delay after delay, just when it looked like it would be dry enough to start a race another rain shower would soak one part of the circuit or another, but even with the weather gods against us the organisers pulled off the near impossible and ran all but one race.

History in the making.

Michael Dunlop was back on top form despite (as I found out half way through the event) the fact that he was still injured from his crash at Cookstown resulting in a fractured bone in his wrist and two broken bones in his hand nonetheless, he still won four races and broke the lap record in the first superbike race which he also probably/almost definitely would have won if not for an unfortunate mishap in the pits due to a visor change issue. The fact is MD has now won 29 TT races surpassing his uncle Joey on 26 wins and I think that it is fair to say that the Dunlop dynasty is not going to be surpassed anytime soon.

Welcome to alien status

Davey Todd was nothing short of outstanding this year, after all the disappointments of last year clearly in his rear view mirror, he bounced back with a bang to say the least. In the first superbike race he was sitting in P2 behind Michael Dunlop and as luck would have it, at the same pitstop that Dunlop had his visor issue, Todd could not get his bike restarted in the pits and lost over 20 seconds! He still managed to recover and finished just under six seconds behind Peter Hickman who won the race. Todd then went on to finish in P2 behind Dunlop in supersport race 1, P3 behind Dunlop and Dean Harrison in supersport race 2, P6 in both supertwin races and, in what turned out to be the only superstock race of this year, resulting in a barn stormer, he came home in P1, finishing just in front of Hickman by 2.5 seconds and Dunlop finishing in 3rd. But the best was still to come from DT. In an outrageously fast senior, while there were still damp patches on the course for the start, Todd and Hickman still lapped at over 135mph from a standing start!! Unfortunately MD retired due to a clutch problem and his TT was done. By the Glen Helen section on lap 2, Hickman lead from Todd by a few seconds and by the time they got to Gingerhall, Hickman was around 8 seconds to the good from Todd. a dramatic twist of fate Hickman made a very uncharacteristic mistake and lost the front resulting in a crash just after the Gingerhall pub, thankfully he walked away relatively unscathed and then made his way back to the pub, had a well earned pint and watched the rest of the Senior race unfold. DT went on to win the race by over 38 seconds and cement himself in the TT history books.

Peter Hickman's Up's & Down's

The whole 2024 TT campaign was rather strange from the get go when it came to the fastest man to ever lap the TT course. I was told of bizarre tales and many paddock gossip whispers but regardless of the so called dramas that may be true or not the actual facts regarding results were my only concern. So let's consult the facts!

SBK R1 - he finished P1, SSP R1 - he finished P9, SSP R2 - he finished P5, Supertwin R1 - he finished P2, Supertwin R2 - he finished P2, Superstock R1 he finished P2 and then had an unfortunate DNF in the senior, if that's to be judged as a bad TT then I guess that's the difference between winners and everyone else.

And so to the fortunes of our athletes
Firstly Conor.

I would like to wish my friend Conor Cummins all the best. Conor and I came through the road racing ranks via the Irish Domestic National Championship racing route to the International scene way back in 2006/2007/2008/2009. He is one of the most talented riders that I have raced with/against at so many different circuits not just the TT over the years. Unfortunately this year did not see Conor have any luck or good fortune whatsoever yet again. In all honesty I would be more than happy if Conor called me and said, Shortround, I won the lottery, you fancy a trip to Vegas? I'm done with the racing gig.

Lee (The General)

I don't really know what to say regarding Lee's injuries, from one perspective I am so relieved that he's recovering like he is but on the other hand I am also gutted for him knowing that he was showing the BSB paddock in the supersport class his ability, much like Davy Todd in the superstock class, having said this. I'm pretty sure that he will be back to winning ways sooner or later.

The Legend that is John McGuinness

I am actually at a loss of words when I'm asked to describe/explain the exploits of my former team mate McPint. We were team mates back in 2010 and 2011 in the HM Plant and then the Honda TT legends days. I am now 52 years old as is John but he somehow continues to evolve! He finished P7 in the stocker race, P6 in the superbike race and P5 in the Senior. He somehow continues to be better than he's been before, not by much but still, his overall race pace was his best ever yet! All that I can say about that is, RESPECT my friend!!

The man that could be King

Yet again, Dean Harrison has shown his remarkable grit and determination to try and become the top man at the TT. In my personal opinion, the best superbike ride of the 2023 big bike races was Dean's ride in the senior 2023 race. His outdated under powered trusty steed was no match in reality to his closest competitors. He was nothing short of remarkable. I'm guessing, realising his situation following that heroic effort and maybe the route to achieving his winning goals, made his choice to switch to the ever evolving factory Honda team for 2024, the only downside to his move to the factory Honda team was brand new bikes still in the very early development stages in both the 1000cc superstock and superbike categories and in the 600cc supersport class. But Dean showed his determination and ability yet again by finishing P3 in the the first superbike race, P3 in the senior, P3 in the SSP race 1 and P2 in SSP race 2, he also finished P4 in the first and what would be the only superstock race this year, I for one can't wait to see what the future holds for Dean.

Written by Keith Amor
Photos: Red Torpedo/Marcus Cole

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