The Isle of Man, Ellan Vannin in the old Manx tongue, feels far removed from the rest of the world. Despite being nearly equidistant from the four parts of the United Kingdom, it is its own world entirely. Its strength in self-governance is clear in the flag’s three-legged triskelion and the accompanying motto: Quocunque jeceris stabit, which means in Latin “whichever way you throw, it will stand.”
Nothing represents that better than the Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) Race. One hundred and four years old, the TT Race is run on the Snaefell Mountain Course, the oldest currently-in-use motorcycle race track. A full 37.73 miles in length, the course sweeps the island from side to side and rises 1,385 feet at its highest point. Once a year, it calls motorcycle racers from all over the world into the competition.
The Isle of Man TT 2015 had all the intensity of unpredictability that keeps racers and enthusiasts returning year after year. Records, all-time and personal, were broken lap after lap as the race progressed.
John McGuinness: Still Going Strong
As of the 2015 Senior TT Race, John McGuinness is a 23-time Isle of Man TT Race winner, with the highest record of any living racer and second-highest overall. In addition, this year also saw his seventh win in the flagship event of the Isle of Man TT. This makes him, along with Mike Hailwood, one of only two racers with 7 Senior TT wins under their belts.
Riding the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP for the Senior TT Race, McGuinness was ahead at the end of the first lap, and with superb handling of the course, had a 12-second lead by the end of the second lap and halfway pit stop. He kept that lead to finish first with a 14-second lead over James Hillier. McGuinness not only maintained his record of most TT Race wins and equaled Hailwood’s Senior TT Race wins; he also set a new absolute lap record of seventeen minutes and three seconds–racing at speeds of 132.701 mph.
This bagged McGuinness the Norman Brown Trophy for fastest lap in the Senior TT Race, and the Jimmy Simpson Trophy to boot (for the fastest lap in the entire meet). The only other winner of a trophy in the Senior TT Race was McGuinness’ team-mate Conor Cummins, finishing sixth and winning the Gavin Lee Trophy for the best finish for an Isle of Man resident.
Guy Martin: Newest 132mph Club Member
Guy Martin has been competing in the Isle of Man TT Races since 2009. However, he broke personal speed records and joined the prestigious, unofficial “132mph club” of TT Racers who have broken the 132mph speed barrier in these races.
Martin was riding a Tyco BMW S1000RR the first time he rode a BMW in the Isle of Man TT Race. Although he finished fourth behind John McGuinness, Ian Hutchinson, and James Hillier, Martin is now part of a club that boasts of only five members. It puts him right behind McGuinness, Michael Dunlop, and Hillier as the fourth fastest man in the Isle of Man TT. His entry ticket into the club was a lap speed of 132.398mph in the second round of the Senior TT Race.
Ian Hutchinson: Comeback of the Season
Ian Hutchinson holds the record of most races won in one Isle of Man TT meet, having grabbed five wins in 2010. After a compound leg injury in the 2010 racing season, Hutchinson was forced to take a long break for recuperation and rehabilitation in 2013. But returning to the Isle of Man TT Race, he proved that whatever the injury to his leg, his racing abilities were fully recovered.
Hutchinson won both Supersport TT Races on a Traction Control YZF-R6, and the Superstock TT Race on a PBM Kawasaki. The Supersport TT Race 1 was the most emotional for Hutchinson and the crowds, being his first TT race since his break. Hutchinson edged a lead in the first lap over Gary Johnson and kept a two-second lead over Anstey in the second. Although Anstey stayed close behind the whole way, Hutchinson secured the win with a 7-second lead.
The second Supersport TT race started even closer, Hutchinson pulling just half-a-second behind Michael Dunlop by the second lap. The pit stopover gave him a 9-second lead, and it grew into a 32-second lead by the time Hutchinson crossed the finish line. The next day, he pulled ahead with a 20-second lead after the second lap in the Superstock TT Race. Despite running out of gas in the second lap and getting a tire change in the pit stop, Hutchinson made it to first with a 17-second lead.
These successes added to Hutchinson’s loaded trophy shelf the Supersport TT Formula 2 Cup for his overall Supersport TT wins, the Joey Dunlop TT Solo Championship Trophy, and the TT Supporters’ Club Trophy for the fastest aggregate Supersport TT Race times. However, he shares the Superstock TT credits with Michael Dunlop, who received the Don Ryder Trophy for the fastest lap record of the race.
Bruce Anstey: Tenth Time’s the Charm
For his 10th Isle of Man TT Race win, Bruce Anstey took home the Superbike TT for 2015 for the first time. Riding a Honda CBR600RR on the course, Anstey provided one of the most dramatic wins of the circuit, only pulling ahead in the fifth lap of the six-lap course. Hutchinson and Hillier were the early leaders of the race, but by the first pit stop Anstey was close behind Hutchinson at second.
Anstey closed with Hutchinson all throughout the fourth lap, and roared out of the second pit stop with a 2-second lead. He stretched that to a 5-second lead in the final lap, and at the end, crossed the finish line in first place with a 10-second lead. This not only brought Anstey the Superbike TT, but the John Williams Trophy as well, for the fastest lap on the Superbike TT race course with 131.797mph.
Isle of Man TT Race 2016: Same Time Next Year?
The next Isle of Man TT Race will take place between May 28th and June 10th. At the moment, all eyes are on John McGuinness to make a showing at the course next year, as his record draws ever closer to the current overall record of 26 Isle of Man TT wins held by the late Joey Dunlop. Most significantly in the 2016 race, the Lightweight TT race course will be increased one lap to four in total, as the Lightweight race course gains momentum since its start in 2012.