The inaugural Classic TT has been dubbed “great fun” by a number of riders who took part. There were three races in total, contested on Saturday and Monday. Olie Linsdell, Michael Dunlop, Chris Palmer, Jonathan Cutts and Dean Harrison came away with wins to their name in the various classes. Along with the races there were parade laps and a recreation of the iconic 1967 TT where Giacomo Agostini and Mike Hailwood fought closely for the win until Agostini’s bike broke down. John McGuinness took Hailwood’s role in the race, riding a Mike Hailwood replica Honda, while Agostini rode his MV Augusta.
The event kicked off with the Classic TT Paddock Carnival where riders got into the swing of things, wearing 60s costumes. From Philip McCallen’s Evil Kenevil tribute to Michael Dunlop’s wig and pipe, the paddock was colourful and a great tribute to days gone by. A gallery of pictures can be viewed here.
After the fun and games it was time to get down to action. First up was the Bennetts 500cc race, led away by Olie Linsdell. Gary Johnson struggled to get away at the start but eventually did, going on to finish in eleventh place. He was one of the luckier rider as big names such as Michael Dunlop, Bruce Anstey, Cameron Donald and John McGuinness all retired from the race. McGuinness, who had been having problems with his bike in practice, said: “We just can’t seem to get to the bottom of this misfire. It’s embarrassing for all of us. It’s really disappointing – you can’t get any better conditions out there. I’m speechless really.” Up at the front, Linsdell won the race ahead of William Dunlop and Jamie Coward. Despite completing the fastest lap (111.660mph), Linsdell revealed afterwards that he could have gone faster but he didn’t want to do “anything stupid”. For William Dunlop the race was “good fun” and described it as being “a wee bit different.” He summed up: “it was really good and I really enjoyed it”. For Coward it was a “dream come true”. He revealed that his bike had been misfiring on the final lap but that just made the result even better.
The first race on Monday featured the 350 and 250ccs. After a delayed start, due to misty conditions, Chris Palmer took a dominant victory to finish a minute clear of team-mate Cameron Donald. Daniel Cooper took the third and final podium spot in the 350cc class which was also his first podium at the Isle of Man. Number one, and 500cc race winner, Olie Linsdell retired in the pits during the race. Jamie Hamilton, who had had a slow start, looked like he could challenge the podium positions as he got faster and faster, however he came off at Parliament Square but thankfully was O.K. Chris Palmer said after the race that he had been struggling to steer the bike because of a sore arm but he thought the race was “faultless” and “brilliant”. Jonathan Cutts came home first in the 250cc with Peter Wakefield in second and Geoff Bates in third.
The third and final race was Formula 1/Formula 2/Formula Classics. Before the race Michael Dunlop, who retired from the 500cc race, said: “What will be will be. The bike is going well at the minute.” He romped away to victory, finishing well clear of Conor Cummins in second and Ryan Kneen in third. After the race Michael revealed that he had had a slipping clutch and oil leak and he just had to “nurse the little girl – it’s a fantastic bike”. Cummins said he would never complain about a lap of the TT on a modern bike again after completing the race. He said: “Once I got a clear road it was fine”. Bruce Anstey had been preparing to change Paul Owen’s visor at the pit-stop but he was saved the pressure when Owen retired from the race. In the Formula 2 class it was another victory for Chris Palmer ahead of James Cowton and Philip McGurk. Dean Harrison led home the Formula Classics with Gavin Lupton finishing in second and Chris McGahan in third.
All in all it seemed to be a highly successful event enjoyed by riders and spectators alike. A full list of results can be found at the Classic TT website.