TT 2022 Preview: Part 1 – Superbike/Senior Races

TT 2022 Preview: Part 1 – Superbike/Senior Races
I will be the first to admit, I wasn’t sure I’d be writing TT previews again. Absent for the last two years the most famous of all road races is back!

Lots have been saying the three-year absence could affect the pace, those with more experience than others have a distinct advantage.

Will this prove true? In my opinion the standard will be as high as ever even better potentially than in 2018 and 2019.

The bulk of racers competing are super race fit, in good form post the North West 200, piloting lightning-fast high-spec machines and the old faithful Mountain Course, has had various subtle improvements.

Right, here’s a run-down of how the entry is shaping up for the blue riband RST Superbike, Milwaukee Senior races.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic struck, FHO Racing’s Peter Hickman was the man to beat on 1000cc machinery at the TT, will this continue this summer?

On lap-record breaking pace at the North West 200, he showed pre major tyre problems the impeccable turn of speed he possesses.

Enjoying title support for his seventh TT campaign from Richard Rawling’s Gas Monkey Garage, Hickman’s M1000RR BMW steed sports a distinctive green, black, white livery.

Main challenger of recent TT’s Dean Harrison, leads the Kawasaki charge.

Racing for the DAO Racing squad, which maintains the nucleus of the prior Silicone Engineering Racing team, Bradford’s Harrison has been chipping away with Kawasaki’s latest ZX-10 model.

Having endured by his standards a low-key North West 200, he goes into TT 2022 perhaps a touch under the radar.

Outside of widely tipped pre-race favourites Hickman & Harrison, lots of focus will also be on the revelation of recent Triangle course competition, Davey Todd.

Milenco by Padgetts Todd ultra-impressed on route to second in the opening Superbike race and there’s no doubt that he is capable of front-running performances next month.

Quickly into the groove with Honda’s latest generation Fireblade mount, much is expected of the 2019 IRRC Superbike Champion, same applies to team-mate Conor Cummins.

Ten times a TT podium finisher, race success in June would go down unbelievably well with his thousands of supporters across the Isle of Man.

If you keep knocking at the door long enough, it will open and this could be the case for coffee shop, pizzeria owner Cummins.

Additional potential front runners include of course the enigma that is Michael Dunlop.

Let’s be honest preparation wise, it’s not been perfect with the end of a deal to race for PBM Ducati forcing him into a last-minute switch to new tackle, Hawk Racing Suzuki machinery.

Before well reported Dunlop tyre issues, the 19 times TT Champ had looked in decent fettle throughout qualifying, early stages of the opening NW200 Superbike encounter.

Racers like Ballymoney’s Dunlop are capable any time of surprising everyone, pulling-off miraculous race wins.

Could next month see him prove again that the impossible is possible? Time will tell. Fellow event legend, John McGuinness MBE back in Honda Racing colours, is quietly confident of been in the mix for first rate results.

Banking mileage a plenty during opening pre-season tests, opening National Superstock 1000 rounds, the North West 200, he heads into TT 2022 with a good frame of mind.

Whilst race wins may be a tough ask, podiums the same, you don’t overnight forget what’s needed to claim TT victories and I’m sure countless fans, fellow racers, road racing aficionados would be delighted if he turns back the clock and stands again on a Superbike race rostrum.

Others not to be discounted from taking top three finishes include Milwaukee BMW Motorrad’s Ian Hutchinson and James Hillier, sole rider for TT first timers Rich Energy OMG Racing Yamaha.

Added elite roads scene names competing include TT winners Michael Rutter (Bathams Racing), Gary Johnson (Specsavers/North Lincolnshire Motorcycles) and likely Supersport class front-runner Lee Johnston (Ashcourt Racing).

Remaining seeded runners are KTS Racing’s Powered by Steadplan’s Jamie Coward, Phil Crowe, Street Diner backed Sam West, Ducati TriOptions Cup front-runner Craig Neve.

Roadhouse Macau/FHO Racing’s Brian McCormack, triple Irish road race Superbike Champion Derek Sheils (The Roadhouse Macau BMW) and new Hawk Racing signing Shaun Anderson.

Further depth to the entry is provided by the likes of Michael Evans (Heattech Racing), Julian Trummer (WH Racing), Adam McLean (McAdoo Kawasaki), Rob Hodson (Dafabet Racing).

Michael Booth, the in-form Michael Sweeney (MJR Racing), Joey Thompson (Wilson Craig Racing), Paul Jordan (PreZ Racing).

Italian star Stefano Bonetti, Forest Dunn, Manx GP to TT graduates Nathan Harrison, Jim Hind and Stephen Parsons plus Team Classic Suzuki’s Tom Weeden and IRRC winners Lukas Maurer, David Datzer.

Joining them on the entry list are a host of experienced Mountain Course stalwarts, that includes Davy Morgan, Dave Hewson, Barry Furber, Spain’s Raul Torras Martinez, Richard Charlton, Rhys Hardisty, Michael Russell and Optimark Road Racing’s Xavier Denis.

Newcomers wise, it’s going to fascinating to see how seven times NW200 winner Glenn Irwin adapts to the fabled, mythical Mountain Course.

He’s put in lots of homework, put the hard yards in as he bids to make an accomplished debut at an event unlike any other worldwide.

Joining Honda Racing’s Irwin as newcomers sampling the six lap Superbike, Senior races are 2021 IRRC Supersport Championship runner-up Ilja Caljouw (Performance Racing Achterhoek) and National Superstock 600 podium finisher, top five finisher at Tandragee Milo Ward (DP Coldplaning/TC Racing).

Boasting an entry brimming with top calibre, world class quality, the big bike races of TT 2022 are guaranteed to provide spellbinding action.

We all have our crystal balls, saying this will happen, that could happen, they will win, they won’t win but the TT is unique, there is so many variables, you’d be brave to predict with exact certainty race results.

Intriguing 1000cc TT races ahead, could tyre decisions play a part, overheating engines, shrewd decisions during pit-stops, we will all know very soon.

Photo’s by Mark Corlett, Nick Wheeler, Tommy Vennard, Rod Neill

Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou
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