Welcome to 2020 and the countdown to the start of the 2020 Road Racing Season. The winter break is now half over so I thought I would put together a quick post of some of the rumours (and facts) that have surfaced over the last couple of months.
If the news and gossip continues to come in at a similar I will need to do another one of these before April because there is a lot of interesting news to get through, unfortunately once you get past the positive and exciting stuff there is some really devastating news out there too, but more on that in a minute.
Happy New Year 2020 : May it be a great one for you all, and all of yours!
The Rumours and Stories from late 2019 :
- The International North West 200 has been confirmed for 2020 and Mervyn White will continue to sail that ship.
Macau 2019 :
- The 2019 Macau GP had some interesting team movements – some that lead to rumours that were equally interesting, however as you will see as you read on not too much has come from them, other than at this stage they were simply Macau 2019 teams.
- Ian Hutchinson was off the Factory Honda and onto a Team Milwaukee SMT Racing BMW. Nothing further has been confirmed for Hutchy’s 2020 season as yet.
- John McGuiness and Davo Johnson were on the Paul Bird’s Ducatis – and John McGuiness was flying. This one was particularly exciting at the time because it lead to some decent speculation of a PBD machine heading to the TT – unfortunately at this stage that rumour seems to have fizzled out.
- Ashcourt Racing had – as expected Lee Johnston – and Gary Johnson.
- Davey Todd was on a Penz13.com machine.
- Dafabet Devitt Racing had Paul Jordan and Dom Herbertson which was really exciting to see – two pure road racing guys getting a crack of the whip with one of the bigger teams.
You can read more about how the 2019 Macau GP unfolded here : http://tbni.blog/2019/11/14/2019-macau-gp-results-motorcycles/
2020 TT Zero?
- The TTZero has been suspended for 2 years. This is always a contraversial one – is it a real TT win, electric bikes are rubbish / electric bikes are amazing / the future *delete as required. I am a fan – I am open about that. The fact is simply they were innovating exciting technology. Now their future is is real doubt. I get that they were not competitive, but my hat comes off and heart goes off to all the teams involved who invested so much money, research and time in developing these bikes for it just to be shut down so harshly. After all these machines were starting to lap into the 120mphs, it wasn’t that long ago that that was the top speeds of combustion engine machines and we have unfortunately just scrapped them. One thing I am absolutely certain of though is the electric machines will be back. How much though will the innovators be prepared to invest in the technology is maybe a better question?
2020 TT :
- The 2020 TT Schedule has had a bit of a shake up. Mornings will now have a warm up lap, furthermore the practice will now start a day later than traditionally on Sunday 31st May 2020 with an afternoon practice session.
Full details of the revised 2020 TT Schedule can be found here (of course these timings are subject to and probably will change once the practice / qualifying and racing starts) : http://tbni.blog/2019/11/02/2020-isle-of-man-tt-schedule/
Is the Future of Racing in Danger?
- The 2020 Ulster Grand Prix is in real jeopardy. For the first time in almost 100 years it looks like there will be no UGP this year. Apparently dates have not been applied for the 2020 event and even more worrying is allegedly the event Is in debt that amounts to six figures and prizes / payouts and appearances were not settled from the 2019 event.
- The Enniskillen 2020 road races have been called off. A real shame from an event branded as the ‘revival’ of the old Enniskillen Road Races. It ran for two seasons and was a fantastic event, however I think this press release from the Club is very telling indeed, not only of their circumstances but of those currently threatening every road race on this island!
“The cost of running a road race is high and despite our best efforts to try and keep costs down we have found that excessive cost and logistics of hiring such as safety bales, rising medical costs and the like.
“Along with the fact that a trend of spectators choosing not to contribute by buying a programme or contributing towards the event means that not only Enniskillen, but the sport in general, is suffering, something that clubs cannot sustain in the long run.” https://www.facebook.com/enniskillen100
- The Enniskillen club will be running 2 short circuit dates at St Angelo’s.
Rider Movements :
- Glenn Irwin will have his debut at the TT in 2020 and he will be sat on top of a Factory Honda (as well as for his BSB Campaign). His team mate will be Davey Todd (previously Padgetts). Although the Honda has not been competitive for a few years 2020 is bringing us a new Fireblade and to be fair that’s not bad for a debut bike!
- Adam McLean returns to McAdoo Kawasaki after his racing incident at the 2019 Tandragee 100.
- Alastair Seeley joins Quattro Kawasaki for the 2020 NW200 – Quattro have hinted at an announcement of how his team mate will be soon but as yet there’s nothing. You would guess James Hillier – right? Wrong!
- James Hillier departs from Quattro Bournemouth Kawasaki after a decade and joins OMG Racing for his roads campaign. It all seemed to be very amicable – which is good as that partnership was one of the most stable in road racing.
- Davo Johnson team mates James Hillier at OMG Racing.
- Michael Dunlop has been named as the road racer of the decade : https://roadracingnews.co.uk/that-was-the-10s-international-road-racer-of-the-decade-michael-dunlop/
Tyco BMW v Smith’s Racing :
- Tyco BMW are no longer the factory BMW Roads team. Smith’s Racing now hold that privilege. Peter Hickman dominated the 2019 internationals on his Smith’s BWM machine, now BWM are throwing their weight behind them as the factory team for the road racing events. What does this mean for Tyco and road racing? Will Tyco even be on the roads and who is riding for them? They have announced their BSB Team (which maintains Factory support) but not a word about their future on the roads. I really hope we keep a Tyco Road Racing Team – they are iconic on the Irish scene and far to precious to us locals to disappear from our country lanes!
Just for Fun :
- And finally on a lighter note Guy Martin had his Court case dropped against him for allegedly not having a driving licence for his lorry. It seems out some boyo in Northern Ireland may have duped him in relation to his licence and qualifications. Those Northern Irish eh, always up to something!
So as you can see it has been an active off season so far and there are still some big questions to answer, like what about Michael Dunlop, what about Ian Hutchinson, John McGuinness is still under contract for another year to Norton, but Norton have hardly made an utter since last year’s TT – will they even race on 2020? Will we see the iconic blue and white Tyco livery on the roads and could we see a Ducati on the Isle of Man? A big few months still to come by the look of it!