The 2016 World Superbike Championship was truly eventful and Rea certainly impressed in retaining his crown. Here's your exclusive round up and quiz.
Hutchinson and McGuinness Lift the Lid off TT 2015
With the dust having now settled on the 2015 Isle of Man TT, there’s no doubt that everyone will look back at it and agree that it was one of the best ever.
The racing was quite simply sensational and every race had a story to tell. From new winners to new podium finishers, and from first time achievements to the sport’s very best hitting dizzy heights, TT 2015 had the lot.
The man of the week:
It’s impossible not to start with anyone other than the man of the week – Ian Hutchinson. After five years away from the very top of the sport, and exactly five years since his incredible five-timer in 2010, the Bingley rider’s comeback from the horrific leg injuries sustained at Silverstone that same year was all with the aim of doing one thing – winning a TT again. And he did more than that taking a superb hat-trick and ending the week as the only man to take five podiums.
No doubt Hutchy would be a winner:
After having over 30 operations to firstly save and then subsequently improve his leg, the now 35-year olds bravery, ability, self-belief, determination and character can only be admired. It’s fair to say many in the paddock doubted whether or not he could return to the heights he’d scaled in 2010 but not Hutchy. He knew he was going to be a TT winner again – and also knows he’ll be winning in the future too.
Credit also to team boss Paul Bird who gave him everything he needed in the big bike races whilst the success on Keith Flint’s Team Traction Control Yamaha’s – a deal only struck days before the event – was the stuff of fairy tales.
Odds against McGuinness:
John McGuinness was another rider who many had written off. His poor 2014 was down to a broken wrist but with his best result prior to the final day – TT Zero race excepted – being fourth in the Superbike race – no one had him down as a race winner in the Senior. The bookies certainly didn’t offering odds of 16-1 for the Morecambe rider.
But 22 TT wins – before the start of the Senior – speak for themselves and with his focus and determination like never before he simply blew the opposition away. Those in the know always said that if he strung it all together, his lap time would be something special and so it was.
The fastest lap ever from a standing start was soon followed by the outright lap record and the cheers from the grandstand when it was announced his speed was 132.701mph was something truly, truly special.
Fellow veteran Bruce Anstey also achieved a first, when he took his first ever Superbike win, getting the better of Hutchinson in the opening race of the week. The Kiwi took a brace of runner-up spots in the Supersport and TT Zero races too and at 45 shows no signs of slowing down. A nasty moment at the top of Bray Hill, when he clipped the right hand kerb, showed just how hard he was trying.
James Hillier was the fourth stand-out rider of the week. His three previous podiums had all come in the Lightweight class and although he’d done a 131mph lap in 2013, 2014 wasn’t as successful. But he had his best ever year on the island with three podiums and top six finishes in all six of his races.
His pace on the big bikes surprised many and he’d clearly done his homework, leading practically every race at Glen Helen on the opening lap, something that McGuinness usually did. He‘s now the third fastest rider ever and you’d be hard pressed to find a more amiable rider in the paddock.
Ivan Lintin first ever TT win:
Ivan Lintin took a fully deserved first ever TT win, the Lightweight race, with Lee Johnston living up to his pre-event billing as he took a maiden podium.
Fastest ever newcomer Peter Hickman rode a Superstock machine in all the 1000cc races but finished in the top eight in all of them and his Senior lap of 131.626mph will make him top of the factory teams’ shopping lists for 2016.
Special mention also to David Johnson, now the fastest ever Australian at the TT, and someone who’s matured into a class act around the Mountain Course, and Michael Rutter who was back on the podium, in the Lightweight race, on the beautiful sounding Paton.
How will TT 2016 compete?
Those who were at the TT this year were privileged to witness some of the best racing ever seen around the 37.73-mile course. With the margins between the places narrowing all the time, and speeds throughout the field getting quicker and quicker one can only wonder how TT 2016 will go!
So, what did you make of the TT this year? It definitely was an eventful one…how will 2016 be able to match it?
For more blogs on the TT, NW200 and other races why not visit the Devitt blog page.
Having started watching motorcycle races all over the world form childhood, Phil Wain has been a freelance motorcycle journalist for 15 years and is features writer for a number of publications including BikeSport News and Classic Racer, having also been a regular contributor to MCN and MCN Sport. He is PR officer for a number of teams and riders at both the British Superbike Championship and International road races, including Smiths Triumph, Quattro Plant Kawasaki, John McGuinness, Ryan Farquhar and Keith Amor. He is also heavily involved with the Isle of Man TT Races, writing official press releases and race reports as well as providing ITV4 with statistical information.