Dunlop the star of TT launch
Michael Dunlop was one of the star attractions last night at the Villa Marina in Douglas where TT 2010 was launched with every race winner from 2009 — including outright lap record holder John McGuinness, Steve Plater, Ian Hutchinson and Dave Molyneux — in attendance.
Dunlop was of course the sensational winner of the second Supersport 600cc race last June, winning his first ever TT race following in the illustrious wheel tracks of his father Robert who won five Isle of Man TT races and his uncle Joey, who holds the all-time record of TT victories at 26.
Michael said: “To win a TT is something special and it is not easy accomplished. This year I have a tremendous team behind me and the intention is to try and add another TT victory to my CV.
“The opposition is tough with all these past winners, but now that I have won my first TT I’m hungry for more. To keep the Dunlop name at the forefront of TT racing is also something that I am keen to continue with.”
Dunlop has at his disposal the Robinson Concrete Honda for the superbike races, the Street Sweep Team Hardship Yamaha for the supersport class and a superstock Honda Fireblade courtesy of Hunts Motorcycles in Manchester with additional backing from Marlow Construction, D&GW Racing, Around A Pound and Dromard Hire for his attack on the TT meeting which gets underway with practice on Saturday, May 29.
TT 2010 will see Suzuki celebrating their 50th year racing on the Island and the pressure will be on the Moneymore based Relentless Suzuki by TAS Team of Bruce Anstey, seven times a TT winner, and Cameron Donald, twice a winner around the 37-mile Mountain Circuit, to deliver wins for the Japanese manufacturer.
Dungannon rider Ryan Farquhar had a TT to forget last year but returns this year full of confidence.
He said: “I spent too much time last year setting up my superbike, neglecting my other machines and paid the price for that. This year I’ve sorted a superbike ride out early with MSS Colchester Kawasaki and will be looking for a few rostrum finishes.”
The TT captures the imagination in a way no other race can and its uniqueness ensures that many newcomers are attracted to tackle the event with Crumlin rider Stephen Thompson set for his debut this year.
Thompson, a regular competitor in the Irish Superbike and British Superstock championships, will ride for the peoplesbike.com team alongside American Mark Miller.
Thompson said: “It has always been an ambition to ride at the TT. I did about six laps around the circuit at Christmas and made the decision to do it this year. I have been watching on-board DVD’s two or three times a week to try and learn my way around, but I can’t wait for the real thing to start.”
Another TT debutant is 2008 Irish Superbike champion Brian McCormack from Waterford.
Adrian Archibald, three times a TT winner, is another who cannot be ruled out of contention when racing commences on June 5.
TT Practice week May 29-June 4
Race Programme: Saturday, June 5: Superbike TT (6 laps), Sidecar Race 1 (3 laps)
Monday, June 7: Supersport Race 1 (4 laps), Superstock Race (4 laps)
Wednesday, June 9: Supersport Race 2 (4 laps), Sidecar Race 2 (3 laps)
Friday, June 11: Senior TT (6 laps), Classic Parade Lap