Opinion: No Longer A Question Of Changing Of The Guard, It’s Already Here, Already Was!

Opinion: No Longer A Question Of Changing Of The Guard, It’s Already Here, Already Was!

Peter Hickman and Dean Harrison, have raised the level of TT competition in recent years, to a level not thought possible by some 12 years ago when John McGuinness broke for the first time, the 130 mph barrier.

In spite of their sustained momentous, tumultuous, sterling feats from 2018, you got the sense from lots of PR, articles leading up to TT 2019, that they are still not regarded in the same ilk as the likes of John McGuinness and Ian Hutchinson.

First and foremost, McGuinness and Hutchinson who have combined 39 TT wins between them, are TT legends, true all time greats who have captured the imagination of the road racing fraternity over the past 15 to 20 years.

As with all great sportsman though, you eventually meet your match and in my opinion it’s going to take 100’s of specific components, aspects, variables to fall into place for both to reclaim former glories in the near future at the world’s most famous roads meeting.

Some individuals will say their leg injuries, persistent bad luck, machinery advantages have played an integral role in allowing Hickman, Harrison to catch up, this is far from the truth.

Both prodigiously talented, both sons of Mountain Course race winners, Hickman and Harrison are more race fit than many of their esteemed respected rivals, gaining track time a plenty in particular at BSB meetings, and various pre-season tests.

Photo by Mark Corlett

On top of the track time gained, you’ve only got to look at specific stats to showcase how proficient they are around the fabled, mythical Mountain Course.

A Mountain Course newcomer in 2014, it only took outright event lap record holder Hickman three years to lap at over the 132 mph mark.

Although it took Harrison a further four years to jump up past the 132 mph barrier, there’s never been any doubt about his talent, pace, determination, and it was great to see his tireless efforts rewarded on Friday, with victory in a drama filled Dunlop Senior race.

Photo by Nick Wheeler

Harrison and Hickman the only current members of the ‘134 mph club’, have been the benchmarks at the TT Races in recent years, and there’s no reason why they can’t enjoy more consistent sustained success throughout the 2020’s.

Already in their still relatively young TT careers, so successful, accomplished, extremely hard to beat, the established guard that includes McGuinness, Hutchinson, have been overhauled and some.

Welcome the new guards, or could it be more new guards in the near future? Michael Dunlop still has umpteen TT wins in him, Conor Cummins is riding better than ever.

James Hillier’s always in the mix for victories and then add into the mix the likes of Davey Todd, David Johnson, Gary Johnson, Sam West and Jamie Coward, and the future’s very bright on track for the TT Races.

Words by Stevie Rial

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