Isle of Man TT 2024 Round-up

Published: June 13, 2024

Dunlop creates history as Todd breaks through

Another Isle of Man TT came to an end last week and whilst the weather did its best to disrupt proceedings, the racing was as spectacular as ever. Lap records, new winners, new podium finishers and history made as Michael Dunlop became the most successful TT rider ever.

Four-timer sees Dunlop become the greatest

A lot of talk ahead of this year’s TT centered around when, not if, Dunlop would break Uncle Joey’s record tally of 26 wins which had stood since 2000. Equalling it in the very first race was a big relief for the Northern Irishman, and he went on to smash the record ending race week with a tally of 29 wins.

Michael Dulop isle of man tt
Michael Dunlop Image Credit Isle of Man TT Press Office

It could, and should, have been 30 had his visor not been incorrectly fitted during the second Superbike pit stop but equalling and then breaking the record clearly meant a lot to Michael. This could clearly be seen when the opening Supersport race saw him equal Joey’s 26 wins, the 35-year old showing a rare amount of emotion as he was clearly moved by the magnitude of what he’d just achieved.

The following victories seemed more routine, in the winner’s enclosure at least, but he was quick to play down any comparisons between him and Joey preferring instead to pay tribute to his uncle and recognise what made him stand out, rather than talk about his own success. But there can be no doubt, Michael is a great in his own right and, on paper, the greatest. Records are there to be broken but with plenty of years ahead of him, he could put it beyond reach.

Todd makes the breakthrough

This year’s TT saw the ‘big three’ of Dunlop, Peter Hickman and Dean Harrison become the ‘big four’ as Davey Todd made the breakthrough everyone predicted he would. Some thought that would happen in 2022 and many thought it would happen in 2023 but he finally delivered on his promise and potential this year; quite simply, he was a revelation.

Prior to this year’s event, Todd had taken just a solitary TT podium, in 2022, with no less than 16 taken at the North West 200. In danger of becoming known as a specialist at the Irish meeting, converting his form there into TT results was crucial if his threat was to be deemed serious and the TAS Racing rider delivered in spades.

Davey Todd Isle of Man TT
Davey Todd Image Credit Isle of Man TT Press Office

Fast across all classes from the word go, few have made a jump up in speed, in the 130mph category, as much as what Todd did this year going from a lap of 132.982mph to 135.664mph. He also claimed one of the fastest ever sector times and dealt with everything Hickman threw at him, especially in the Superstock race, a class which he remains unbeaten in this year.

At 28 years of age, Todd is the younger statesman of the current TT front runners so very much has time on his side. If he stays injury free, there’s no reason why he can’t win many more races and although dominating proceedings is unlikely given the current competition, now that he’s made the breakthrough, expect to see him dining at the top of the TT table for some time.

Another victory for Hickman

Coming into the TT, Hickman was seen as the man to beat having won 13 races in the previous four years, ten of those coming in the 1000cc races. The fact he only won one – which he admitted was lucky given Dunlop had a 25s lead prior to his visor issues – shows he was far from his usual self.

The FHO Racing rider gave it as all as always and after closing to within half a second of Todd on the final lap of the Superstock race, everyone expected him to go on to win only for traffic over the Mountain to intervene. Two runner up spots in the Supertwin races were impressive given it’s the class that suits him least due to his stature, but he was out of sorts with his Triumph in the Supersport races and off the pace throughout.

Peter Hickman Isle of Man TT
Peter Hickman Image Credit Isle of Man TT Press Office

He was clearly fired up for the closing Senior race, flying out of the traps as he set the fastest standing start lap ever. With a lead of more than eight seconds half way round the second lap, we were on course to witness something special and another outright lap record only for him to make a rare mistake, getting into Ginger Hall too hot and crashing out fortunately without injury.

He was clearly pushing hard but Hickman rarely makes such mistakes (he rarely crashes at all) so maybe there are chinks in his armour after all. But the Superbike win was his 14th in total and equalled the tally of Mike Hailwood so he’ll no doubt be fired up to right the wrongs of 2024 in 2025.

Solid week

Harrison moved to Honda Racing over the winter months in the hope it would see him return to the top step of the TT podium but whilst he didn’t achieve that, it was another solid week for the Bradford rider with four more podiums added to his tally.

Issues with the Superbike prior to the event left him on the back foot somewhat and this could be seen during practice week when he looked far from happy with the set-up of the Fireblade.

Dean Harrison Isle of Man TT
Dean Harrison Image Credit Double Red

He also lost an evening’s practice when he broke down on his opening lap, but he turned it round in race week with third in both the Superbike and Senior races.

He also set a new personal best lap, 135.185mph, and although his career haul of 30 podiums is the sixth highest ever, it’s not getting any easier to win with his last victory coming in 2019. As well as Hickman and Dunlop, he now has Todd to contend with too so only time will tell if a second year at Honda will see him reap the rewards.

Brookes steps up

Returning to the TT in 2023 after a five-year break, Josh Brookes had a more than encouraging comeback with a maiden podium finish, three fifth places and a 132mph+ lap. Many expected him to make another step forward this year and he duly delivered with a superb second place finish in the Senior.

The Australian ace – who clocked close to 207mph through the Sulby speed trap – became just the fifth rider to break the 134mph barrier with a lap of 134.956mph and this was even more impressive given he failed to complete half a lap in the Superbike race after the FHO Racing BMW shed its chain.

Josh Brookes Isle of Man TT
Josh Brookes Image Credit Isle of Man TT Press Office

A lack of practice laps didn’t help either.

If his fortnight had been trouble-free, he probably would have done the 134mph lap in the Superbike race and gone even quicker in the Senior. Several videos showed Brookes was pushing hard during practice week but he’s still capable of more at the TT with 2024 being just another step towards a maiden TT win.

Regulars dominate the leaderboard

Outside of the podium finishers, the next best riders were clearly Jamie Coward, James Hillier and John McGuinnes with little to choose between them in the 1000cc races; indeed, the Superbike race saw the trio separated by just over two seconds after 226 miles of racing!

Hillier has long been established as a TT front runner with this year, his first on the WTF Racing Honda, seeing him claim a fourth and two fifth, along with a brace of sixths in the two Supersport races on the Bournemouth Kawasaki. His TT record is nothing short of exemplary.

James Hillier IOM TT
James Hillier Image Credit Tim Keeton (Impact Images Photography)

Coward is a more recent addition to the top echelons of the TT but make no mistake, the Yorkshire rider is one of the current best. Nowhere was this seen more than his near 129mph lap in the Supersport class whilst he also set a new personal best lap of 132.696mph lap which made him the sixth fastest rider of the week. McGuinness, meanwhile, took fifth, sixth and seventh place finishes in the 1000cc races with a best lap of 132.398mph.

Jamie Coward IOM TT
Jamie Coward Image Credit Tim Keeton (Impact Images Photography)


McGuinness continues to deliver

At 52 years old, some still question why Honda Racing continue to employ McGuinness given the crop of exciting, and in some cases, young talent now racing on the roads. But the answer is quite simple – the 23-time winner continues to deliver the goods.

John McGuinness IOM TT
John McGuinness Image Credit Tim Keeton (Impact Images Photography)

He knows he’s not going to be challenging for the race wins, which is why Honda hired Harrison but not only is he the perfect number two in the team he’s also riding as well as ever, following up his NW200 podium with three fine rides at the TT. Lapping more than 132mph once more, McGuinness also set his quickest six-lap race time as well as his fastest ever Superstock lap to keep his younger rivals firmly at arm’s length.

New names rise to the challenge

Stepping up to challenge the established guard is no easy task at the TT and this could again be seen by the names that dominated the podium positions, Dunlop, Hickman, Harrison and Todd taking 18 of the 21 podium positions available. There was also only one new member of the 130mph club, Mike Browne, and whilst the field was packed with riders in the 125-129mph bracket, more of these need to get in amongst the 130mph laps to knock the established riders off their perch.

Mike Browne IOM TT
Mike Browne Image Credit Tim Keeton (Impact Images Photography)

Browne’s laps on the Aprilia V4 were impressive, to say the least, and he enjoyed a strong TT, finishing inside the top ten in all seven races. A personal best was also set in the Supersport class whilst he claimed a second TT podium with third in the second Supertwin race.

He’s fulfilling the promise shown in a short space of time whilst other names to impress included Dominic Herbertson, a first-time podium finisher with third in the opening Supertwin race, James Hind, Paul Jordan, the Manx quintet of Nathan Harrison, Michael Evans, Ryan and Jamie Cringle and Joe Yeardsley, and the French trio of Amalric Blanc, Jonathan Goetschy and Eddy Ferre.

Having started watching motorcycle races all over the world form childhood, Phil Wain has been a freelance motorcycle journalist for almost 20 years and is features writer for a number of publications including BikeSport News, Classic Racer and Road Racing Ireland, as well as being 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 PBM Ducati, John McGuinness, KTS Racing and Jackson Racing. He is also heavily involved with the Isle of Man TT Races working with the race organisation, writing official press releases and race reports as well as providing the TV and radio broadcasting teams with statistical information.

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