TT 2012 was special for various individuals, teams, marshals, it was also one to remember for yours truly who witnessed his first full race on the fabled Mountain Course.
Before I recount this memory, it’s time to turn back to the winter of 2011 leading up to early 2012, as racers/teams announced their plans for the International roads season ahead.
The mighty Honda TT Legends Racing squad was again led by Superbike class kingpin John McGuinness who was joined by fastest newcomer from 2011 Simon Andrews, whilst Gary Johnson would form part of the Squad’s Superstock challenge.
Brigg’s Johnson who triumphed in the previous year’s Monster Energy Supersport Race 2, Superbike Honda steed would be provided by Padgetts MMCG Racing, who were also running legendary New Zealander Bruce Anstey.
Added depth to Honda’s TT charge was provided by Wilson Craig Racing’s high-quality team of twice TT winner Cameron Donald, anticipated Supersport front runner William Dunlop and McAdoo Racing/Hunts Motorcycles backed Michael Dunlop.
TAS Racing now titled supported by Tyco Security Products continued to lead Suzuki’s International roads program, running again fans favourite Guy Martin plus new signing ‘Ramsey Rocket’ Conor Cummins.
Dan Kneen who came close to joining Tyco Suzuki, competed again under the Marks Blooms Racing banner whilst others piloting Suzuki machinery included Shaun Anderson and former Senior Manx Grand Prix winner Davy Morgan.
Yamaha returned in an officially capacity with the Shaun Muir Racing ran Swan Yamaha team, who’s TT expedition would be led by five times in a week winner from 2010, Ian Hutchinson.
Ones to watch on ‘Team Green’ steeds included the improving James Hillier (Pr1mo Bournemouth Kawasaki), Ryan Farquhar (KMR Kawasaki), Adrian Archibald (AMA Racing Team).
North West 200 feature Superbike race runner-up Michael Rutter (MSS Bathams Kawasaki), Ian Lougher (Blackhorse Kawasaki) and Mountain Course returnee David Johnson (Quattro Plant Kawasaki).
The growing popularity of BMW’s S1000RR model was showcased by the amount of seasoned, next gen roads talents opting to pilot it within the 1000cc races.
This included Spain’s Antonio Maeso, Italian star Alessio Corradi, Ben Wylie (Per Cup Coffee Company), Mark Parrett, Dan Hegarty, Rico Penzkofer (Penz 13.com) and the Ice Valley Racing/Motorsave Ltd trio of Paul Shoesmith and Dean Harrison.
Splitlath Redmond Motorsport would run 2010 TT Zero victor Mark Miller on RSV4 Aprilia’s whilst additional ones to watch would include new works Norton racer Ian Mackman, Steve Mercer (Jackson Racing), Stefano Bonetti, Dan Cooper, Dan Stewart, Brian McCormack and Stephen Thompson.
Newcomers for the Superbike, Superstock, Senior encounters were Jimmy Storrar (DP Coldplaning/TC Racing), Lee Johnston (Millsport Ducati), Karl Harris (SMT Racing), Graham English, Michael Niblett, Jamie Hamilton (KMR Kawasaki) and John Ingram.
Dainese Superbike Race Thoughts:
I remember vividly watching this race near Glencrutchery Road, sat on the grass watching the road racing super heroes perform extraordinary feats on the world-famous Manx roads.
Decent all-round conditions would greet competitors for the Dainese Superbike TT race of 2012, which would go onto yield John McGuinness an 18th TT triumph.
Pushed early on by Honda TT Legends World Endurance team mate Cameron Donald, McGuinness guile, relentless consistent pace saw him steadily pull away from the determined Australian.
Come the completion of the six-lap encounter, McGuinness race winning margin stood at plus 14.5 seconds over Donald who in turn was over forty seconds clear of fellow Antipodean Bruce Anstey.
Fourth place finisher Guy Martin just a shade under 20 seconds behind Anstey, had looked on for a rostrum finish before a Spindle problem arose during the second scheduled pit-stop.
Gary Johnson took fifth, William Dunlop placed sixth, James Hillier led Kawasaki’s challenge in seventh place whilst Ian Hutchinson ride to eighth, was nothing short of herculean given the leg injuries he was carrying.
Finalising the first ten finishers were future Senior TT Champion, lead BMW competitor Dean Harrison and Superstock Kawasaki mounted Michael Dunlop.
Others to catch the eye with impressive performances included David Johnson 14th, Stefano Bonetti 17th, Ian Pattinson 18th, Alessio Corradi 20th and lead newcomer Karl Harris 21st.
Following witnessing the world class Superbike action, it was soon time for me to head to the ferry terminal to head back home.
Whilst it was disappointing to miss the rest of TT race week, on the ferry across the Irish sea I had nothing but positive vibes having accomplished one of my dreams to watch a Superbike TT, a big life goal was ticked.
Superstock Success At Last For JM130:
After successfully retaining the Superbike TT crown, John McGuinness went onto finally add the Superstock race crown to his coveted TT Races CV.
In command throughout the four-lap production machinery based encounter, McGuinness and the Padgetts Honda Fireblade, powered to class honours, taking the winners laurels by nigh on eight seconds over a charging Michael Dunlop.
Ryan Farquhar concluded the podium finishers and was full of praise for the race winner in the ensuing press conference.
Monster Energy Supersport Race 1 winner Anstey, Martin, Hillier rounded out the first six finishers, TT Zero class winner Rutter placed seventh, sole Honda TT Legends entrant Gary Johnson acquired eighth whilst Privateers Champion Dan Stewart impressed finishing ninth in front of Superbike TT runner-up Cameron Donald.
MD Scratches Supersport Victory Itch:
Despite a strong run to second in the Superstock race, it had been a pretty challenging fortnight on Mona’s Isle for Michael Dunlop.
Machinery problems had forced him to run his stock Kawasaki steed within the Superbike race whilst the opening Supersport race saw mechanical gremlins strike on lap three, just when it seemed a third TT triumph was nailed on.
All the frustrations, tribulations were put to one side and some though in the second four lap Supersport encounter as the Ballymoney roads maestro went into triple figures TT victories wise.
William Dunlop had set the early pace before retiring at Kirk Michael and from then on it was left to Wilson Craig Racing team mate Donald to take the challenge to reigning Irish Road Race Superbike Champion Dunlop.
Come the completion of the four-lap race, Donald placed 13.26 seconds behind Dunlop whilst third place was gained by Duke Road Race Rankings leader, following Lightweight race victor Ryan Farquhar.
Outside of the podium finishers Ian Hutchinson produced a gritty, battling performance of the highest quality to finish sixth, just over five seconds clear of Lightweight class runner-up Hillier.
Notable results were also gained by Centurion Racing’s Dan Cooper (10th), Blackpool’s Roy Richardson (11th), Ian Bell Motorcycles backed Dean Harrison (12th), future twice Lightweight TT Champion Ivan Lintin (14th), Russ Mountford (17th) and Stoddart Racing’s Robert Wilson (18th).
The Senior TT That Never Was:
The race that they all want to win, the power and the glory, the Senior TT incredibly was cancelled for the first time in history in 2012 as inclement wet weather prevailed.
The decision to cancel the biggest race of them all wasn’t a decision taken lightly by Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson.
Speaking to Gary back in 2013 about this, he stated it was one of the biggest decisions he has had to make and that to cancel the Senior TT was ultimately an easy decision given the conditions around the TT course.
So that was TT 2012, rising stars impressing, the weather getting it’s way, John McGuinness adding more tumultuous feats to his golden racing resume and not forgetting the three wheeling heroes including TT returnee extraordinaire Dave Molyneux, first time winner Patrick Farrance, Tim Reeves/Dan Sayle and new podium finishers, future outright lap record holders, the Birchall brothers Ben & Tom.
Words by Stevie Rial