Road Racing News

TT 2017: Preview Part 4 – Bennetts Lightweight Race

Having powered to successive Lightweight TT triumph’s in 2015 and 2016, Ivan Lintin goes into TT 2017, it’s fair to say the yardstick for every competitor aboard Super Twins machinery, in the four lap Bennetts Lightweight TT.

Competing for the third year in a row with the Bristol based RC Express Racing outfit, which this year runs under the guise of Dafabet Devitt Racing, his main aim in June, is obvious, a third Lightweight title.

Modest about his racing exploits, he is regarded by many as the de-facto number 1 exponent of 650 machinery, within the pure road racing scene.

At the North West 200 though, he was not amongst the race winners. One of the riders to enjoy success on the coast roads was Martin Jessopp, who is quietly confident of contending for TT honours.

Photo by Tommy Vennard

Embarking upon his fourth TT campaign, the Yeovil based rider, who holds the number three plate, in my opinion has every chance of recording a maiden TT victory.

Same applies to Lee Johnston on the Air Ambulance Northern Ireland liveried KMR Kawasaki, who is joined in Ryan Farquhar’s team by fellow premier roads stars Peter Hickman and Josh Brookes.

Danny Webb completes KMR’s high profile rider line up, another team to have two world class riders competing for them, is McAdoo Kawasaki.

Photo by Tommy Vennard

2014 Duke Road Race Rankings champion James Cowton, cannot be discounted from challenging for race victory, same applies to 13 times TT winner, Michael Dunlop.

Additional potential race winners include Ulster GP Super Twins winner Dan Cooper (CMS/SB Tuning/KW Electrical Services), don’t discount as well leading Irish road racers Derek Sheils, Michael Sweeney and Derek McGee, from recording podium finishes.

The all conquering ER6 Kawasaki’s look set to have their fiercest competition to date, via factory teams from Paton and CF Moto.

Photo by Rod Neill

Following his great 14th North West 200 triumph, Michael Rutter is full of confidence going into a new challenge next week, with the SC Project S1 Paton.

Four times a TT winner, it would not at all be a surprise to see him secure a first Lightweight victory.

Paton team mate, Stefano Bonetti, fifth last year, would without a doubt be a hugely popular podium finisher.

Established as Italy’s foremost exponent of the Mountain Course, could TT 2017 see the Italian flag gracing the winners podium?

It’s a distinctive possibility, as is Gary Johnson providing CF Moto with a first TT podium.

The two times Supersport TT winner, came so close to a rostrum finish in 2016, underlining the potential of the 650i machine.

Craig Neve, part of the official CF Moto set up for the second time, is one to watch, as are continental European roads stars Michal Dokoupil, Xavier Denis, Antonio Maeso, Sweden’s Bjorn Gunnarsson and Timothee Monot, plus America’s sole competitor at TT 2017, Pete Murray.

Whilst the likes of Rob Hodson, Mark Purslow, Ben Rea, Maria Costello MBE, Adrian Harrison, Anthony Redmond and Callum Laidlaw are all capable of first class results.

Photo by Jim Gibson

Super Twins Manx GP winner Jamie Hodson, Lightweight Manx GP runner up Rikki McGovern, Lee Hembury and Ian Gardner all step up to the TT Races, plus keep an eye as well on Greenhous Vauxhall backed Barry Furber, who impressed at the North West 200.

JHS Racing’s Michael Russell and Dave Moffitt lead the Suzuki challenge, whilst newcomers Adam McLean (MJ Palmer/Hanna Racing) and Paul Jordan (Site Sealants B&W Racing), both cannot be discounted in my opinion, from challenging for at least top ten finishes.

Photo by Rod Neill

With arguably the strongest line up of Super Twins to date, the 2017 Bennetts Lightweight TT could well prove the tightest race of this years TT Races.

Will it be a case of lightning strikes three times for Ivan Lintin, can Paton and CF Moto push the ER6 Kawasaki’s for race victory, or will we see another new TT winner crowned? Not long till we find out the answers to these questions and more.

Words by Stevie Rial

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