Traditionally producing some of the closest racing on the Mountain Course, you’d be brave to call who could emerge triumphant from the four lap Monster Energy Supersport races of TT 2022. One of the obvious favourites for middleweight class honours is five times North West 200 winner, first time TT winner in 2019, Lee Johnston. Ever cheerful, personable, a happy go lucky character, the British Supersport front-runner set to race potent YZF R6 Yamaha tackle is also extremely ambitious and ultra-keen to add more TT success to his roads CV. Supersport race 2 victor at the returning North West 200, Ashcourt Racing’s Johnston could prove the dominant force next month, he’s only to aware though that the opposition is stern, immense. Fellow countryman Michael Dunlop also has his eyes firmly set on a victorious TT voyage. The Ballymoney racer who’s set to pilot his own teams R6 Yamaha, 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. Alongside traditional 600cc steeds, new imposed regulations have allowed machines such as Triumph’s Street Triple 765 RS, Kawasaki’s 636 model to enter the fray. Elite names making the decision to race aforementioned bikes include outright lap-record holder Peter Hickman. Absent from the North West 200 entry due to existing technical regulations, the above showcased regulations at the TT allow Hickman to race his own outfits’ 765cc, K2 Trooper Beer backed Triumph mount. Will the extra CC give the five times TT winner the edge in June? It’s another of those questions all road racing aficionados are keen to find out. Hickman’s persistent main big bike TT rival of recent times, DAO Racing’s Dean Harrison also switches to Evo Supersport machinery. 16 times TT podium finisher Harrison whilst perhaps not as tipped for success as he was in 2018 and 2019, remains an anticipated front-running threat and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he returns to the top step of the podium. Same notion applies given his stellar class record to Ian Hutchinson, who races under the Boyce Precision Engineering/Russell Racing banner. Former employers, Padgetts Racing, (Milenco by Padgetts), enjoyed a superb FonaCAB & Nicholl Oils North West 200 and go into TT 2022 quietly optimistic that rostrum finishes a plenty can be secured. Number 11 plate holder, Ramsey’s Conor Cummins forms again part of the vastly successful Padgetts team, alongside ‘Man of The Moment’ Davey Todd. Both hugely talented, in particular lots of focus will be on second quickest newcomer in TT history Todd, given his lap record-breaking exploits at the North West. Don’t discount as well the likes of Rich Energy OMG Racing’s James Hillier, KTS Racing Powered by Steadplan’s Jamie Coward from battling for podiums. Others certain to be in the mix for strong finishes include TT legend John McGuinness MBE (SMT Racing/Blue Earth Construction), twice TT winner Gary Johnson, PreZ Racing’s Paul Jordan plus fellow improving talents Adam McLean (McAdoo Kawasaki) and Dominic Herbertson (Cowton Racing). Added confirmed entrants include Duke Road Race Rankings Champion Michael Sweeney (EM Building Yamaha), Sam West (Moto Hub), Brian McCormack (Global Robots Triumph), Michael Evans (Heattech Racing), Julian Trummer (WH Racing). Craig Neve (Alasdair Cowan Racing), Joey Thompson (Wilson Craig Racing), Phil Crowe, Matt Rees, Shaun Anderson (Wilcock Consulting), IRRC Supersport winner Jonathan Goetschy, Japan’s Masayuki Yamanaka, Doncaster’s Mark Goodings, Thomas Maxwell, James Chawke. Plus, Manx GP to TT graduates Nathan Harrison, Jim Hind (Bass Tyre Services), Stephen Parsons (Peoples Bike Team), Gary Vines, Pierre Yves Bian and Chris Sarbora. Newcomers wise just three Mountain Course debutants are entered in what are set to be compelling, engrossing, and ultra-competitive Monster Energy Supersport races, Jamie Cringle, North West 200 winner Joe Loughlin (Team ILR/Mark Coverdale) and Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Champion Rennie Scaysbrook (PRF Racing). Photo’s by Tommy Vennard, Nick Wheeler, Mark Corlett Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou
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