Road Racing News

TT 2018: Preview – Part 4 – Supersport Races

Traditionally producing some of the closest racing on the Mountain Course, in my opinion the Monster Energy Supersport races of TT 2018 are the most open for many years.

One of the obvious favourites for middleweight class honours is Supersport TT lap record holder and reigning 600 Mountain Course champion, Michael Dunlop.

The Ballymoney racer who’s own teams CBR 600RR Honda mount is prepped by World Championship mainstays PTR (Performance Technical Racing), mix of fierce determination, shrewd race tactics and the ability to ride harder at times than many of his rivals, makes him a formidable exponent of Supersport machinery.

Photo by Tommy Vennard

Amongst those confident of wrestling away the Supersport TT crown from him include the on form Lee Johnston.

Ever cheerful, personable, a happy go lucky character, the six times international road race winner is also extremely ambitious and ultra keen to add a TT win to his roads CV.

Third within the Supersport races of last weeks North West 200, he’s extremely happy with the performance of the Padgetts Honda which he will compete on at TT 2018.

Padgetts team mate Ian Hutchinson still chipping away with his race fitness, whilst not considered by many a contender for podiums due to the fact that he’s still quite early into his international roads comeback, must not be discounted from causing a surprise or two, in particular given his stellar Supersport TT record.

Concluding Padgetts high profile three rider line up is Ramsey’s Conor Cummins, who for the first time this year carries the coveted number 1 plate.

Photo by Nick Wheeler

Manx star Cummins like fellow countryman Dan Kneen (Jackson Racing) is a definite dark horse for podium finishes, the same notion applies to the nearest challenger in the NW200 Supersport races to Alastair Seeley, Quattro Plant/JG Speedfit Kawasaki’s James Hillier.

Two times Supersport TT winner Gary Johnson (Lee Hardy Racing/RAF Regular & Reserves), reigning Joey Dunlop Championship winner Peter Hickman provide the famous Triumph name with a strong TT 2018 presence.

Both proven in terms of front running middleweight class pace, it wouldn’t at all be a surprise if either provides Triumph with another memorable Mountain Course victory like Bruce Anstey’s class win from 2003.

Looking for an upturn in fortunes following a difficult start to the season, Temple Golf Club Yamaha’s William Dunlop is another rider more than capable of sealing a Monster Energy Supersport victory or two.

Photo by Jim Gibson

This is the same case with Silicone Engineering Racing’s Dean Harrison. Bradford’s Harrison nigh on unbeatable at present at Oliver’s Mount, ZX-6R Kawasaki mount as proven at the North West 200 looks an ultra competitive mount which added to the 2016-2017 Duke Road Race Rankings champion’s obvious talent, makes him unquestionably one of the men to beat.

Added high profile entries include McAMS Yamaha mounted Josh Brookes who can’t be discounted from contending for rostrum finishes, Riders Motorcycles Martin Jessopp plus the talented McAdoo Kawasaki duo of James Cowton and Adam McLean, both extremely capable of claiming a famous scalp or two.

Photo by Mark Corlett

Same applies to talents such as Dafabet Devitt Racing’s Ivan Lintin, Derek Sheils, Steve Mercer, Derek McGee (B&W Racing), Michael Sweeney (Martin Jones Racing), Dan Cooper and PreZ Racing’s Jamie Coward.

Which is also applicable to the likes of Sam West (PRL Worthington Racing), Dan Cooper, Rob Hodson, Andy Dudgeon (Slick Performance Racing), Daley Mathison (Halsall Racing), Paul Jordan, Craig Neve (Jackson Racing), Dominic Herbertson (WH Racing), Faugheen 50 Road Racing Club backed Brian McCormack, Tom Weeden, Matt Rees and Team ILR’s Joe Thompson.

Notable overseas entrants include Spain’s Raul Torras Martinez, Timothee Monot, Xavier Denis (Optimark Road Racing), Julian Trummer (DP Coldplaning/TC Racing), Michal Dokoupil and Japan’s Masayuki Yamanaka.

Manx GP graduates keen to make an impression include reigning Junior Manx GP winner Michael Evans (Martin Bullock Manxsport), Barry Evans (PRF Racing), Jonathan Perry, Mike Norbury, Darren Cooper (NW Racing), Jamie Williams (JLG Racing) and Paul ‘Potchy’ Williams.

Newcomers wise just two Mountain Course debutants are entered in what are set to be compelling and ultra competitive Monster Energy Supersport races, Cookstown BE Racing’s Davey Todd and fellow next gen roads competitor Scotsman Adam Lyon.

Words by Stevie Rial

>