A hearty welcome to Island Racer '05 and - if you're making the trip across to the Island - to the first TT of the new era. Fittingly, 2005 marks 100 years since the first motorcycle race on the roads of Man. The first took place on 31 May 1905 and was won by JS Campbell riding an Ariel at an average speed of almost 30mph for the 125 mile event. Last year John McGuinness averaged 125.38mph in winning the final Formula One race for Yamaha and, with competition promising to be even keener this year, even that remarkable speed could be surpassed.
After much soul-searching and debate, an entirely new race programme awaits us this year. Race week commences not with the Formula One event, established fully 28 years ago, but with a Superbike race to the same formula as graces the World and British championships. The sidecars continue with the same two-race, F2 prescription as before, with local star Dave Molyneux looking for the first sub-20 minute three-wheeler lap.
There are now two Supersports 600 races, on Monday and Wednesday, both of which are likely to be the most open and thrilling events of the week. Monday also witnesses the first Superstock TT. These modified production machines will be little slower than the full-on Superbikes. Competition will be intense, and McGuinness has already suggested that a 126mph lap is possible.
A usual the final race of the week is the Senior, now standing alone and restored to its traditional - and rightful -- blue riband status.
Of course that is only part of the wall-to-wall celebration of biking that the TT has become. As ever, with the possible exception of ice racing, the Isle of Man will leave no two-wheeled taste unserved. Ride well, ride safe, and enjoy the longest biking party on Earth.
ALL THIS AND MORE
IN ISLAND RACER TT05
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