The comments and views expressed in these bloggs are mine and do not reflect the views of the

Hickman at his spectacular best but tragedy stops the Sidecar Race.


The Island is absolutely buzzing with excitement about today’s proceedings. There has been a massive influx of people over the last couple of days and the Island has come alive. It was reported that spectators were already at some vantage points, the bottom of Bray Hill and the bottom of Barregarrow, at six o’clock this morning. The Superbike race was due off at noon and the road didn’t close until 10 o’clock apart from the mountain section which closed at an hour earlier.


A new innovation for this year is the inclusion of warm up laps into the programme. Today there was a solo warm up lap scheduled for 10:30am which got underway at 10:40. Half of the riders who took part went out on their superbike machines and half used superstock or supersport bikes. The idea of the lap is for riders to familiarise themselves with the track conditions before the race. 


Not all competitors took advantage of the lap, most noticeably James Hillier. He said he was ‘old school’ and didn’t need to go out before the race. It was a fine day and there were no damp patches around the course to be aware of. The lap is part of the new safety management system (SMS) that has been taking place over the last few months.


The delay to the warm up lap meant that the Superbike Race was put back by fifteen minutes and started at 12:15pm. The introduction of the SMS has reduced the grid sizes, for the Superbikes only 50 bikes can start in the race. There were actually only 47 riders on the grid. There had been a bit of confusion in the paddock as to who had qualified and was eligible to race. Manx Radio reported that the Peoples Bike rider Jonathan Perry only heard he was riding an hour before the race! 


John McGuinees was first away as he started his 100th TT race. He joins a select band of riders that includes David Madsen-Mygdal, Ian Lougher and Jim Hodson that have started over 100 races. The story of the race and the results will have been reported on the various websites so I will not repeat them here. Suffice to say that Peter Hickman, Gas Monkey Garage by FHO Racing 1000 BMW, led from start to finish with another fantastic ride, he appears to be unbeatable on the larger capacity machines. The dice for second was between Dean Harrison, Dao Racing 1000 Kawasaki, and Michael Dunlop, PBM 1000 Ducati. Harrison always had the upper hand but Dunlop did erode some of the lead when he got into Hickman’s slipstream after he was passed. Once the tow was broken Harrison maintained his advantage to take the runners up spot. 

Peter Hickman storming to victory

Tenth placed Dominic Herbertson, Haith BMW S1000RR, at the Bungalow

Davy Todd, Milenco by Padgett' Motorcycles 1000 Honda, retired at Sulby on the second lap when his rear tyre delaminated 


Fastest newcomer of all time, Glen Irwin, Honda Racing UK Honda CBR 1000RR-R SP, who lapped at 129.859 on his 6th lap


For me the story of the race was about the depth of the field. In the mid 1980’s Mick Grant proposed that the maximum number of riders on the grid should be 45. Fortunately his idea never came to fruition, that is, until now. There were 47 bikes on the grid for the start of the race and only 27 finished. After the second lap, when most retirements happened, there were long gaps between the bikes. The live TV stream, from the cameras around the course, did not show the amount of down time between the bikes as they flipped from one camera to another. The TT is in danger of becoming a TV spectacle rather than a spectator sport, this is a genuine concern for the future of the event. Football without the fans during Covid lockdowns was a non event. The TT needs trackside spectators to survive .


The Sidecar Race was less than three and a half minutes old when a horrific crash just after Ago’ Leap resulted in the death of Driver Cesar Chana. Passenger Olivier Lavorel.  was airlifted to Liverpool in a critical condition. They were French F2 champions and newcomers to the TT, and had a best qualifying lap in excess of 108mph. Racing was stopped for the day and the stretch of road between the bottom of Bray Hill and Alexandra Drive remained closed overnight. The thoughts and prayers of everyone on the Island are with the family and friends of the stricken riders.


the ill fated French crew Cesar Chanel and Olivier Lavorel during practice

A downside to day’s instant communication is the speculation and miss information put out on social media. There seems to be a trend of people trying to be the first to post tragic news over the internet and lay blame. More often than not the information is incorrect and terribly hurtful to the family and friends of the people involved and to the marshals and officials who attended the scene. It is time for these internet trolls to respect all the people involved and wait until an official announcement has been made before making their posts.


The views above are mine and not those of the TT Supporters Club.


Mike Hammonds