Road Racing News

TT 2018: Preview – Part 5 – Superstock Race

Often regarded as the most important race for the manufacturers, your always guaranteed racing of the highest order when it comes to Superstock Mountain Course competition.

It’s looking like the battle for class honours will be between again BMW and Kawasaki with possibly a few Honda’s and Yamaha’s in the mix for standout results as the four manufacturing giants, go head to head around the Mountain Course.

One of the firm pre race favourites has to be a rider who’s progress at the TT Races, since his event debut in 2014, has been nothing short of seismic, reigning Joey Dunlop Championship winner Peter Hickman.

Photo by Nick Wheeler

A recent race winner in a close opening Superstock encounter at the North West 200, the Smiths Racing rider tipped by many to join in June the TT winners circle, looks in quite formidable form going into TT 2017.

Only beaten once in the last four Superstock races at international roads events, he has all the components needed to become a TT winner, ice cool temperament, race fitness, talent, pace, determination and perhaps most of all the ability to get quicker as a race goes on.

Fellow anticipated class leading force Dean Harrison, unquestionably has the ability, the team in the form of Silicone Engineering Racing and a proven stock steed in the form of Kawasaki’s ever improving ZX-10RR to produce the race winning goods.

Photo by Tommy Vennard

Others capable of dominating this years Royal London 360 Quantum Superstock race include Mountain Course lap record holder Michael Dunlop.

Again competing under his own teams MD Racing banner with strong backing from Carl Cox Motorsport, the Ballymoney racer has an excellent Superstock TT record which includes three wins from 2011, 2013 and 2014.

There’s no doubt his BMW steed has enough power, as illustrated by it going through the University speed trap at the North West 200 at just over 197 mph.

Will it prove the ideal tool to take him to a fourth Superstock TT triumph? It’s a distinct possibility as is Tyco BMW team mate for the Superbike and Senior races, Dan Kneen contending for race honours.

Others capable of providing front running challenges include Michael Rutter (Bathams SMT Racing), James Hillier (Quattro Plant/JG Speedfit Kawasaki), David Johnson (Gulf BMW) and Gary Johnson (RAF Regular & Reserves Kawasaki).

Additional notable riders piloting BMW and Kawasaki machinery include Dafabet Devitt Racing’s Ivan Lintin, Penz 13 BMW’s Derek Sheils, Jamie Coward and Danny Webb, Martin Jessopp (Riders Motorcycles) and Dan Cooper.

Photo by Rod Neill

Plus Craig Neve (Jackson Racing), Michael Sweeney (Martin Jones Racing), Derek McGee, Dominic Herbertson (WH Racing), Sam West (PRL Worthington Racing), Mark Parrett, McAdoo Kawasaki’s James Cowton and Adam McLean.

Yamaha’s entry is headed by William Dunlop (Temple Golf Club Yamaha), Josh Brookes (McAMS Yamaha) whilst Honda’s improving SP2 Fireblade enjoys representation from Padgetts Conor Cummins, Jackson Racing’s Steve Mercer and the factory duo of Lee Johnston/Ian Hutchinson.

Talented Manx GP graduates entered include Michael Evans (Wilcock Consulting Racing), Paul ‘Potchy’ Williams, Matt Mylchreest, Barry Evans (PRF Racing), Rhys Hardisty (The Peoples Bike Team) and Darren Cooper (NW Racing).

Overseas racers adding further quality to the 80 plus strong entry include Italy’s Stefano Bonetti, Julien Toniutti, Optimark Road Racing’s Xavier Denis, amiable Spanish racer Raul Torras Martinez and new Cookstown BE Racing signing AJ Venter.

We must not forget as well the three Mountain Course newcomers sampling the four lap race, Davey Todd (Cookstown BE Racing), David Jackson (The Peoples Bike Team) and Shirlaws Motorcycles backed Adam Lyon.

With the Superstock TT lap record, presently standing at in excess of 133 mph, providing the weather is correct and everything falls into place, could a sub 17 lap by a Superstock machine be on the horizon this year?

A whole host of determined, hungry international road racing giants, are capable of this unique feat in what is set to be a gripping four lap Royal London 360 Quantum Superstock TT.

Words by Stevie Rial

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