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

Qualifying Blighted by Red Flags


The TT+ Live Pass which is available to be purchased for £14.99 received a lot of criticism after Sunday’s first practice. There were issues with the quality and unreliability of the live streaming feed. The official race organisers apologised on their Twitter account stating that they were sorry for any inconveniences caused by the technical issues. These were sorted before Monday night’s practice.


The biggest talking point was whether the treaded rear tyre alternative to the Dunlop slicks that failed so badly at the North West 200 would be suitable on the TT course. The three fastest riders on Monday evening were all on the treaded tyre alternative, the D213 GP PRO tyre. Those riders were Peter Hickman, Gas Monkey Garage by FHO Racing BMWM1000RR, at 130.719mph, Dean Harrison, DAO Racing Kawasaki ZX10-RR, at 129.836mph and Davy Todd, Milenco by Padgett’s Motorcycles Honda CBR1000RR-R at 128.014mph.


The session which was due to start at 18:20 was delayed so that marshals could be moved around to various locations. The TTMA has enough marshals to cover the course but they are not necessarily all in the right location when the road is closed. A concern going forward is that if the TT is struggling to cover the course with marshals how will the MGP cope?


There was only one solo session and that was for Superbike, Superstock and Supersport machines, these were to be flagged off at 20:00 hours and the sidecars were due off at 20:05 hours. Sadly Sam West, The Street Diner BMW 1000, crashed at Laurel Bank at 19:58 hours resulting in a red flag. He went by airmed to hospital with suspected arm and leg injuries, his machine was totally destroyed when it went on fire. Fortunately Sam was later  discharged from hospital.


There was a lot of talk before the TT about how the automated ‘Red Flag’ system was taking responsibilities and duties away from the marshals. For me, it worked brilliantly. The riders got the message instantly on the flashing signs and then pulled in. The red signs were flashing before the message came through on the Tetra radio instructing the marshal’s to put out the red flag. Valuable seconds were saved preventing another possible incident, a positive move by the race organisers.


The damage to the road surface due to the fire meant that the rest of the evening’s qualifying was cancelled. The sidecars were all lined up at the Grandstand ready to start their qualifying session and had to stand down. The chairs always appear to get the rough end of the stick!!


The Superbike, Superstock and Supersport machines were first out on Tuesday evening, again the session was delayed to move marshals. The Supersport and Supertwin followed this session which was due to finish at 20:05. Unfortunately lightning did strike twice, the session was ‘Red Flagged’ just before its conclusion when Dave Moffit crashed his Patricia Wild Optometrist / F C Moore 650cc Kawasaki, also at Laurel Bank. Dave wastaken by Airmed to hospital with arm and leg injuries and subsequently flown to Aintree Hospital for further treatment.


There was a long delay before the sidecars were allowed out at 20:48 to complete one lap. Ben and Tom Birchall were quickest of the chairs at 115.663mph on their Haith Honda 600cc LCR. John Holden, Barnes Racing 600cc LCR Yamaha, had a new passenger on Tuesday evening. Jason Pitt had stepped down, accepting that the speed John was going at was too much for him and Dan Sayle had taken his place. Jason will continue to passenger for John when they return to the UK short circuits.


Qualifying certainly wasn’t going well for the sidecar crews. To make amends the organisers decided to let the sidecars go out first for a one lap practice on Wednesday evening followed by solo practice and then end with a two lap sidecar practice. There had certainly been a few disgruntled sidecar crews with lack of track time.


The Birchall brothers were again quickest in the first session at 116.825mph, followed by Pete Founds / Jevan Walmsley FHO Racing 600 Honda LCR and Crowe brothers, Ryan and Callum, at 114.598mph on their Haven Holmes 600ccLCR Honda. Alan Founds, recovering from a spill at Brands Hatch, had been assisting his brother before helping out with the commentary team on Manx Radio.


Pete Founds and Jevan Walmsley, FHO Racing 600cc LCR Honda, flat out.

The second sidecar session was ‘Red Flagged’ due to burst water main at Cronk-ny-Mona, no luck was going the sidecar crews' way. Peter Hickman headed the pack in the Superbike class, Gas Monkey BMW by FHO Racing BMW1000RR lapping at 131.957mph. Four riders went over the 130mph marque including Manxman Connor Cummins, Milenco by Padgett’s Motorcycles Honda CBR 1000RR-R. Jamie Coward was fastest in the Superstock class at 128.190mph on his KTS Racing powered by Steadpan YZF-R1 Yamaha. Michael Dunlop, MD Racing Yamaha YZF-R6, showed his hand in the Supersport class with a lap of 125.938mph.


Double MGP winner Nathan Harrison, Isle of Man Steam Packet 1000cc Honda, impressing the crowds.


James Hillier, Rich Energy OMG Racing 1000cc Yamaha, at the Bungalow


 The start time for Thursday’s qualifying was moved to 18:30 hours in an attempt to get the riders away on time, this time there was only a couple of minutes delay. The programme had been changed so that the Sidecars went out first and were able to complete a couple of laps. The Birchalls Haith LCR Honda set the two fastest times with a lap of 117.156mph and 117.475mph. Newcomer driver Harry Paine with Mark Wilkes in the chair were 7th quickest at 112.798mph on their DAO 1886 Yamaha LCR. The pair are certainly making their presence felt and will be amongst the top boys in a couple of years.  

Lewis Blackstock and Patrick Rosney, DAO Express Tyres 600cc LCR Honda, putting on the style 

Peter Hickman isn’t the first and won't be the last to push in from Governors Bridge having started to run out of fuel at Brandish corner. His first lap was the quickest of the night at 133.220mph, his push in lap was 111.516mph. The most memorable ‘push in’ was by John Williams in 1976. He was leading the Senior TT by some margin when he ran out of fuel. He had a damaged ankle from a crash in Austria and collapsed when he crossed the line in 7th place.


Tom Herron went on to win the race and arrived at the prize presentation ceremony wearing a top hat!! John Williams won at Spa in Belgium and a TT win would have done his world championship chances no harm at all. 

The final qualifying session on Friday afternoon was postponed until Friday evening. Rain had been forecast and the organisers decided not to risk the afternoon session. When qualifying was completed Peter Hickman was fastest in the Superbike, Superstock and Supertwin classes and Michael Dunlop topped the supersport. The Birchalls were clear leaders of the sidecars by nearly 20 seconds from the Crowe brothers. 


Newcomer and BSB star Glen Irwin was 9th quickest in the Superbike class with a speed of 128.268mph on a Honda Racing UK Honda CBR1000RR-R SP. Just under the newcomers record set by Peter Hickman in 2014.




The evergreen Michael Rutter promoting his old and new book.



Sixty years ago there were 13 practice sessions for the six world championship races. Beryl Swain became the first woman to do a solo lap of the TT course on Tuesday evening’s practice when she took her 50cc Itom round in just over the 50 minute qualifying time. She did qualify and became the first woman to race solo at the TT. The leaderboards were: 50cc Ernst Degner, Suzuki, 73.72mph, 125cc Lightweight Luigi Taverie, Honda, 88.81mph, 250cc Lightweight Bob McIntyre, Honda, 97.68mph, Junior 350cc Bob McIntyre, Honda, 98.00mph, Senior 500cc Gary Hocking, MV Agusta, 104.18mph and the sidecars were headed by Florian Camathias, BMW at 89,82mph. The tyre, brake,and bike technology was a far cry from today’s machines. The road surface was rougher in those days and the corners hadn’t been smoothed out as they are today. Would the stars of 1962 have given today’s stars a run for their money? The answer to that I believe is yes.


Mike Hammonds