The official Isle of Man TT press launch takes place later this evening in the iconic Villa Marina and Gaiety Theatre on Douglas Promenade, with Ballymoney’s Supersport race 2 winner from 2009, Michael Dunlop, being joined by fellow Ulsterman and newcomer to the circuit Stephen Thompson.
Motorsport manager for the Isle of Man TT, Paul Phillips, explained: “The Villa is open to all tonight where we will interview riders on stage and make further announcements regarding this year's TT programme of events.”
Superbike winners from 2008 and 2009, Cameron Donald and John McGuinness, along with their Relentless Suzuki and HM Plant Honda machinery were on hand for a launch photo-shoot yesterday afternoon; and after some of the usual pleasantries, both riders agreed, they are now looking forward to getting back to the Island in June for some high speed action.
Donald said: “It’s great to be back on the Island after spending the whole winter at home in Australia sorting out my injured shoulder. I’ve been very busy in Northern Ireland since I got back with interviews, launches and general team bits and pieces, but the TT is my number one goal this year and I’m fully focused.”
Other riders expected to make this evening’s launch include Senior TT winner from 2009 Steve Plater, Manxman Conor Cummins, who will ride for Cookstown team, McAdoo Kawasaki in 2010, fellow Honda pilot and double winner from 2009 Ian Hutchinson and Scottish rider Keith Amor, who is currently without a ride after a surprise parting of ways with Ballymoney-based JMF Millsport Yamaha just over a week ago.
Veteran racer Michael Rutter is back in TT action this year, campaigning a 1098R Ducati supplied by local businessman and former sponsor of the North West 200, Alistair Kennedy.
Rutter last campaigned a Ducati at the TT in 2006, and with 10 years’ experience on the Mountain Circuit, the multiple NW200 winner is looking forward to this year’s challenge.
Rutter said: “Obviously last year didn’t quite go to plan with all the problems, so I’m eager to come back with a fully competitive package and show what we can really do.”
Race action at the TT gets under way on June 5 with the TT Superbike and Sidecar race 1 with further races on Monday, June 7 (Supersport & Superstock) and Wednesday, June 9 (Supersport 2 & Sidecar 2) with the blue riband Senior TT on Friday, June 11.