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Nov 18, 2017

Isle Of Man TT: Rider Lineup Taking Shape For 2018 Event

Michael Dunlop (6). Photo courtesy of Isle of Man TT Press Office.

RACE PROGRAMME REMAINS UNCHANGED BUT NEW CONTENDERS EMERGE FOR 2018 ISLE OF MAN TT RACES

- Rising stars set to challenge dominance of established names

The well-established race programme for the Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy will remain unchanged for the 2018 edition of the world’s most famous motorcycle race.

Over 45,000 motorcycle racing enthusiasts from around the world are set to converge on the Isle of Man joining local residents to line their favourite spots on the Island’s hedgerows and securing the best vantage points to watch history being made before their eyes.

The 2017 meeting saw the continued dominance and fierce rivalry between two of the event’s fastest and most successful riders in its history; Englishman Ian Hutchinson and Northern Ireland’s Michael Dunlop. The pair shared four race wins between them which saw Hutchinson move to fourth on the all-time race winner’s leaderboard with 16 wins, one place ahead of Dunlop who has 15; a gap that the Northern Ireland rider will be looking to eradicate in 2018.

Michael Dunlop said: “The way I look at it is that I’ve got six more chances to win at next year’s TT and as with every other year I set out to try and take all of them. I’m happy at the TT, I know the set up and what I’m doing there. The programme suits me and when I’m on form and everything’s right, I feel like the races are mine to lose.”

However, there are a host of very fast veterans clearly not ready to hang up their leathers and while 23 time TT Champion John McGuinness continues his fitness battle following a career threatening crash at the North West 200, New Zealander Bruce Anstey continues to defy the odds as he heads towards his 50th birthday and Michael Rutter comes off one of his best TT’s ever in 2017 culminating in victory in the Bennetts Lightweight TT Race.

British Superbike Championship star Peter Hickman proved his credentials and signalled his intention to challenge the established order in the years to come with his first podiums in 2017 finishing with five at the end of the fortnight. Fellow British Superbike race winner and former series Champion, Australia’s Josh Brookes powered the ‘SG6’ Norton to the marque's fastest ever Mountain Course lap recording two top 8 finishes. Other leading contenders expected to return in 2018 include Dean Harrison and James Hillier who both added further podiums to their growing TT Race honours list earlier this year.

Other star names sure to be in the mix again in 2018 include the Isle of Man’s leading riders Conor Cummins and Dan Kneen, Australian challenger David Johnson, Northern Irishmen Lee Johnston and William Dunlop and Lincolnshire’s two-time TT winners Gary Johnson and Ivan Lintin.

TT 2018 commences with a week of qualifying getting underway on Saturday 26th May.

The race action gets underway with the RST Superbike TT Race on Saturday 2nd June with a new later start time of midday to allow teams more time to prepare following the previous evenings final qualifying session.

The schedule on the opening race day also sees the first of the two Sidecar TT Races with brothers Ben and Tom Birchall the team to beat having won both races in 2017, improving their own sidecar outright lap record in the process. Recent race winners expected to challenge the Birchall’s growing dominance include seventeen-time TT winner Dave Molyneux and passenger Patrick Farrance, 2016 TT Sidecar Champion John Holden, with Lee Cain in the chair, and multiple World Sidecar Champion Tim Reeves and his passenger Mark Wilkes.

Monday 4th June features the now traditional double solo race day, opening with the Monster Energy Supersport TT Race 1 followed by the RL360 Quantum Superstock TT Race. Ian Hutchinson, having won the last three year’s Superstock Races, will be looking to continue his dominance of the class.The varied and action-packed Wednesday timetable starts with the second Monster Energy Supersport TT Race, followed by the Bennetts Lightweight TT Race and culminates with the high tech, high spec, SES TT Zero Race that grows in influence and interest as the motoring world moves towards electric power.

TT 2018 will culminate with the ‘Championship Day’ on Friday 8th June, which sees the outright solo and sidecar champions crowned following their week’s efforts. The traditional Manx Bank Holiday sees local and worldwide attention concentrated around the Mountain Course as competitors are faced with their final opportunity for honours. The second Sidecar TT Race opens the day ahead of the traditional finale; the PokerStars Senior TT Race.

Last year’s dramatic climax lived up to expectations as a huge trackside audience saw the Birchall brothers clinch a sidecar race double before Michael Dunlop ensured that his was the name in the headlines to secure victory in the race of the week, the Senior TT; the 14th victory of his TT career.

And this year it’s easier than ever before to experience in person all the drama and excitement that this unique event throws up. Information on travel and accommodation options, grandstand seats, an extended choice of special events and Official VIP Hospitality Experiences are available from the TT’s Authorised Travel Partners.

To secure your place at the most exhilarating motorsport event in the world you can book all your ticket requirements now at iomtt.com.

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