Gripping Lightweight class action is in prospect next month with a host of road racing’s ‘Alien’s allied to Manx GP winners, rising stars, improving event exponents all entered in the Bennetts Super Twins TT which now features Twin Cylinder 700cc machines. Mountain Course maestro Michael Dunlop as in all classes at TT 2019 starts again one of the prime, major favourites for class success. As during his previous class triumphs in 2018 and 2019, he sticks with Paton’s iconic S1-R steed. Three successive Twins TT victories? It’s a distinct possibility for a rider that has proven the impossible is possible on more than one occasion. Joining Ballymoney’s Dunlop in racing Paton’s include the Team ILR (Ian Lougher Racing) with Mark Coverdale squad. Class winner in 2017, nine times Macau GP winner Michael Rutter knows what it takes to excel aboard Twins machinery whilst new team-mate, British Supersport points finisher, Lightweight Manx GP lap record holder Jim Hind is extremely capable of sealing at least a top eight, top six finish. Remaining Team ILR team members are Japan’s Masayuki Yamanaka and TT newcomer Joe Loughlin. Recently I caught up with the Castleblayney racer, to chat about his impending TT debut. Our uncontrived conversation reads as follows: Q1: It’s finally here TT 2022, how much are you looking forward to racing the fabled Mountain Course? “I am really looking forward to it in the last week. There’s a lot of learning and work done in this last- few years but when it’s only weeks to go it’s all real now.” Q2: What do you think will be the most challenging aspect about TT racing? “The most challenging bit will be the concentration and mental endurance needed to do a 4-lap race there.” Q3: Do you see yourself racing the TT for multiple years? “I am a newcomer so if I don’t like it that would be it for me but I can see it being a great track and coming back for more in future.” Q4: Has your form at the North West given you added belief about your capabilities on the roads? “I was surprised with my performance at the northwest but it doesn’t change much. I just had a great team and a good pre-season. It gives me great confidence that the team will get me round the TT safely.” Maria Costello MBE and fellow recent North West 200 winner Pierre Yves Bian are also Paton mounted. Although still a relative newcomer to Mountain Course affiliated action, underestimate the ebullient Yves Bian at your peril, a dark-horse for a strong result. Kawasaki’s Lightweight class presence is as ever vastly strong, with once again more than fifty percent of the entry piloting ER6/Z650 machinery. Race runner-up last year, KTS Racing Powered by Steadplan’s Jamie Coward, will be hoping his allocated plate number (No.1), is an omen for him to crack a coveted first TT victory. Further depth to Kawasaki’s challenge is provided by Dafabet Racings’ Gary Johnson & Rob Hodson, PreZ Racing’s Paul Jordan, plus the in-form pair of McAdoo Kawasaki’s Adam McLean and current Duke Road Race Rankings Champion Michael Sweeney. Others on Kawasaki’s capable of making a prominent impression include Cowton Racing’s Dominic Herbertson, WH Racing’s Julian Trummer, Heattech Racing’s Michael Evans, fellow Manx GP winner James Chawke. TT Races Rider Liaison Officer John Barton, Barry Furber, Jonathan Perry (Peoples Bike Team), Craig Neve, Michal ‘Indi’ Dokoupil, Dave Moffitt, Optimark Road Racing’s Xavier Denis and TT debutant Jamie Cringle. Aprilia’s RS660 steed which let’s be honest from viewing up close recent North West 200 competition, looked a touch down on power has many a famous pilot. Arguably Aprilia’s best chance of success will be via Ashcourt Racing’s Lee Johnston, who took a brace of podiums at the North West. You’d be foolish though to discount world’s fastest road racer Peter Hickman (PHR Performance), if all clicks into place, he could add Twins TT victory to his already golden Mountain Course racing resume. Michael Russell planning to compete in all solo, Sidecar races! Cornwall’s Forest Dunn, Spain’s Raul Torras Martinez, Stefano Bonetti, Brian McCormack (JT Performance by Global Robots), Dave Hewson, Jonathan Goetschy, Mike Norbury have also elected to race the highly-regarded RS660. Yamaha, CF Moto, Suzuki additionally enjoy representation albeit minor in the Bennetts Super Twins TT, which has all the ingredients needed to be the most competitive race of TT 2022. So, who will stand on the top step of the podium? Hebden Bridge’s Coward, modern era TT giants Dunlop or Hickman, British Supersport front-runner Johnston, rising talents McLean, Jordan, Sweeney. I can’t call it I’m not sitting on the fence! One thing is for sure whoever takes the class spoils will have found that piece of something special, something unique, something other-worldly to conquer the fabled, mythical Mountain Course. Photo’s by Nick Wheeler, Tommy Vennard, Mark Corlett Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou
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