TT 2016 Preview – Part 4 – Lightweight Race

TT 2016 Preview – Part 4 – Lightweight Race

Since the super twins where introduced into the TT Races schedule in 2012, under the title lightweight TT, they have gone onto provide the most famous road race in the world, with newcomers to the podium, first time TT winners and showcasing many a rising stars potential to become a TT winner.

The 2016 entry has a mix of established leading lights, rising stars, seasoned competitors and exciting newcomers.

No.1 Martin Jessopp – Riders Motorcycles

Three time Macau Grand Prix runner up Martin Jessopp has the honour, of leading away the 2016 lightweight TT.

Having recently impressed at the Vauxhall International North West 200 on the Riders Motorcycles ER6 Kawasaki, Martin goes into super twins action around the Mountain Course, confident of securing a world class result.

No.3 James Hillier – Quattro Plant Muc Off Kawasaki

2013 lightweight TT winner James Hillier, one of the giants of the super twins class, will start one of the pre race favourites.

Piloting the Quattro Plant Muc Off backed ER6 Kawasaki, the third fastest rider in TT history, will be extremely hard to beat.

No.4 Cameron Donald – KMR Kawasaki

Two time TT winner Cameron Donald, returns to super twins action on the Mountain Course, for the first time since 2013.

Set to compete one of Ryan Farquhar’s KMR Kawasaki’s, Cameron despite not been regarded as a super twins specialist, has the undoubted credentials to seal at a podium placing.

No.5 Peter Hickman – Cookstown BE Racing

The addition of Peter Hickman to the lightweight TT field, adds a touch of star quality to the entry.

Hicky and the Cookstown BE Racing ER6 Kawasaki, are dark horses in my opinion for a podium finish.

No.6 Ivan Lintin – Devitt RC Express Racing

Reigning lightweight TT winner Ivan Lintin, starts for many the rider everyone has to beat.

If Ivan makes it back to back lightweight TT wins, it will not only mean he’s a back to back winner at the most famous road race in the world.


Photo by Rod Neill

It will also mean that his team RC Express Racing now running under the guise of Devitt RC Express Racing, will have made it a hat trick of lightweight TT victories.

No.7 Gary Johnson – CF Moto

The ER6 Kawasaki has been for the last seven years, the bike to be on in the super twin races, at the international roads meeting’s.

Ambitious manufacturer from China, CF Moto look the most likely to cause a challenge to Kawasaki at TT 2016, with two time TT winner Gary Johnson. Whilst they might not be race winning contenders, don’t at all be surprised to see the Chinese marque record it’s maiden TT podium finish.

No.8 Michael Russell – JHS Racing

Anticipated to lead the Suzuki challenge is JHS Racing’s Michael Russell.

A twice Manx Grand Prix winner, Michael has the pedigree, to be in contention for a place on the podium.

No.9 Michael Rutter – TBA

Although Michael Rutter might not be most known for his super twins exploits, he cannot be discounted from battling at the sharp end of the field.


It’s still to be announced as to what machinery/team that Michael will be piloting.

No.10 Dan Cooper – Dan Cooper Racing/CMS

Having been involved in a high speed incident with Ryan Farquhar at the Vauxhall International North West 200, Dan Cooper goes into TT 2016 recovering from two dislocated shoulders.

He showed around the Triangle, by qualifying on pole position, that’s he a contender for a podium finish at TT 2016, Dan is one to watch on his own teams CMS backed ER6 Kawasaki.

No.11 James Cowton – Cowton Racing by Radcliffe’s

2014 Duke Road Race Rankings champion James Cowton, has the ability and pace to be in contention for race victory.

So far it’s been a consistent but not in my opinion ultra productive 2016 roads campaign for James, he cannot be discounted though from finishing on the top step of the podium on the Cowton Racing by Radcliffe’s ER6 Kawasaki.

No.13 Mark Miller – Splitlath Motorsports

Mark Miller’s eighth place finish in last years lightweight TT, it’s fair to say surprised many.

Those in the know, knew though that the American, could seal a stand out result, same notions applies this year with the Splitlath Motorsports ER6 Kawasaki.

No.14 Danny Webb – KMR Kawasaki

Entering his third year of TT competition, Danny Webb could well spring a surprise or two.

Remaining part of the KMR Kawasaki fold, he has a great combination of first class machinery plus increased pace plus confidence on the roads, going into TT 2016.

No.15 Sam West – Ice Valley Racing by Motorsave Ltd

Rising star Sam West, whilst perhaps not regarded as a podium or top five threat, could well secure at least a top six finish.

Part of Paul Shoesmith’s Ice Valley Racing by Motorsave Ltd fold, Sam is regarded by many as a future TT front runner across all classes.

No.16 Ryan Kneen – CBG Contractors

Established amongst the Isle of Man’s leading pure road racers, Ryan Kneen, is scheduled to compete for the first time in the lightweight TT.

One of a select amount of riders set to compete on SV650 Suzuki machinery, Ryan has the proven pace to secure a first class finish.

No.18 James Ford – James Ford Road Racing

Following on from his impressive twelfth place finish in the 2015 lightweight TT, James Ford is aiming to continue his growing Mountain Course momentum, at TT 2016.

Competing for his own team, James Ford Road Racing, he carries the number 18 plate.

No.19 Steve Mercer – VRS Racing

Steve Mercer makes a return to the lightweight TT class, for the first time in two years.


He joins Colin Stephenson and Ben Rea in Robbie Silvester’s VRS Racing outfit.

No.20 Bjorn Gunnarsson – DP Coldplaning/TC Racing

DP Coldplaning/TC Racing’s Bjorn Gunnarsson, finalises the top twenty starters.

Arguably Sweden’s most accomplished TT competitior since Mats Nilsson, Bjorn
stepped up to the Isle of Man TT in 2015, having competed twice at the Manx Grand Prix.


Added quality to the field is provided by reigning super twins Manx Grand Prix winner Rob Hodson, Michal Dokoupil, Michael Sweeney, Paton mounted Stefano Bonetti, John Barton, Barry Furber, Tuukka Korhonen and Hudson Kennaugh.

2015 Irish road race super twins champion Derek McGee, could well secure a top five finish, whilst additional ones to watch include Jamie Coward, Chris Dixon, Maria Costello MBE, VRS Racing’s Ben Rea and Colin Stephenson.

Plus Alan Bonner, Shaun Anderson, Adrian Harrison, Alex Pickett, Dan Harrison, Stephen McKnight, Paul Shoesmith, Dunlop Racing’s Callum Laidlaw, Optimark Road Racing’s Xavier Denis, Davy Morgan, Craig Neve part of the factory CF Moto set up, Jack Hunter and James Shipley.

Newcomers entered are Alastair Fagan JHS Racing, Hyperpro backed Olaf Romijn and Canada’s Darren James competing for KMR Kawasaki.

Round Up:

The 2016 lightweight TT has attracted in total 68 entrants, showcasing the popularity of a class, which was considered a few years back a budget class, this is not the case now in my opinion, a lot of money is spent on many a top spec super twin.

This shows how the competitiveness of the class, has risen since 650’s started to gain prominence on the roads, in the early 2010’s.

Since the lightweight TT returned in 2012, we’ve seen Ryan Farquhar, James Hillier, Dean Harrison and Ivan Lintin clinch the race victories. Could we see a fifth different winner at TT 2016?


Or will Ivan Lintin or James Hillier, become the first double winner on super twins machinery, at the Isle of Man TT.

Words by Stevie Rial

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