Traditionally producing some of the closest racing on the Mountain Course, in my opinion the Monster Energy Supersport races of TT 2019 are the most open for many years.
One of the obvious favourites for middleweight class honours is Supersport TT lap record holder, 18 times a TT winner overall, Michael Dunlop.
The Ballymoney racer who’s set to pilot his own teams CBR 600RR Honda, 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.
The one major question mark going into TT 2019 though, regards his chances of more middleweight class spoils, is whether a wrist injury picked up during a test session at Kirkistown, will prove the major stumbling block.
Still as aforementioned, his formidable list of attributes, makes him even if carrying an injury, or still not fully fit, extremely hard to beat.
Amongst those confident of wrestling away the Supersport TT crown from him, include the in form Lee Johnston.
Ever cheerful, personable, a happy go lucky character, the seven times international road race winner is also extremely ambitious and ultra keen to add a TT win to his roads CV.
Photo by Rod Neill
Winner of last weeks opening Supersport race at the North West 200, he’s extremely happy with the performance of the Ashcourt Racing Yamaha, which he will compete on at TT 2019.
Ex Honda Racing team mate Ian Hutchinson still chipping away with his race fitness, whilst not considered by many a contender for podiums, cannot be discounted from causing a surprise or two, in particular given his stellar Supersport TT record.
Former employers, Padgetts Racing, now running under the Milenco by Padgetts banner, enjoyed a strong FonaCAB International North West 200 In Association With Nicholl Oils, and go into TT 2019 quietly optimistic that rostrum finishes a plenty can be secured.
Number 1 plate holder, Ramsey’s Conor Cummins forms again part of the vastly successful Padgetts team, alongside rapid rising star Davey Todd.
Both hugely talented, ambitious, driven, in particular lots of focus will be on second quickest newcomer in TT history Todd, given his exploits at the North West 200, which saw him join the International Road Race winners circle.
Photo by Rod Neill
North West 200 ‘Man of The Meeting’ James Hillier (Quattro Plant Wicked Coatings Kawasaki), no question will be in prime contention for first rate results, as will TROOPER Triumph mounted Peter Hickman, who enjoys this year official support from the Triumph factory.
Twice Supersport TT winner Gary Johnson (RAF Regular & Reserves/Lee Hardy Racing), is another one to watch, whilst lots is expected of reigning Supersport TT race 2 champ, Dean Harrison.
Ulster GP, Oliver’s Mount lap record holder, Bradford’s Harrison Silicone Engineering ZX-6R Kawasaki mount, as proven at the NW200 looks an ultra competitive steed, which added to the twice Duke Road Race Rankings champion’s obvious proven pace, makes him unquestionably one of the men to beat.
Photo by Mark Corlett
Added notable entrants include Duke Road Race Rankings leader Derek McGee, DTR supported Sam West, Market Rasen’s Phil Crowe, Derek Sheils, BE Racing In Conjunction With Richardson Kelly’s Tom Weeden, Michael Sweeney and PreZ Racing’s Jamie Coward.
Others more than capable of securing high quality finishes include David Johnson (Honda Racing), Dominic Herbertson (Davies Motorsport), Paul Jordan (Dafabet Devitt Racing), Michael Evans (Wilcock Consulting), Dan Cooper (KW Electrical-CMS), Barry Evans (PRF Racing), Darren Cooper, Rob Hodson and Daley Mathison (WH Racing).
Notable overseas entries include Spain’s Raul Torras Martinez, Timothee Monot, Xavier Denis (Optimark Road Racing), Julian Trummer (DP Coldplaning/TC Racing), AJ Venter (VRS Racing), Japan’s Masayuki Yamanaka, RST Superbike Classic TT runner up Horst Saiger and New Zealand’s Jay Lawrence.
23 times TT winner John McGuinness is also an entrant, but to date there’s been no official announcement regards his machine of choice for the Supersport class.
Photo by Nick Wheeler
Manx GP graduates keen to make an impression next month include reigning Junior Manx GP winner James Chawke, Peoples Bike Team’s Matt Stevenson, Jason Corcoran, Nicolas Pautet, Michael Browne and Slovakia’s Miroslav Sloboda.
Newcomers wise just four Mountain Course debutants are entered in what are set to be compelling, engrossing, and ultra competitive Monster Energy Supersport races, David Datzer, Ray Casey, New Zealand Superbike champion Daniel Mettam and IRRC Supersport race winner, Jonathan Goetschy.
Words by Stevie Rial