A few days late but 3rd June 2019 finally brought racing to the 2019 TT Races. A jammed schedule was planned as a result of the weather that has hampered this years event, but it really did line up well. A racing fan’s dream of a full day’s double session of racing.
After a couple of delays – one off track medical emergency then an uncooperative ‘fan’ things got underway.
Due to time constraints the originally planned 6 lap race was shorted to 4 laps.
Conor Cummins started things of followed by Dean Harrison. Harrison was in the lead by Glen Helen and had caught up with Cummins by the Mountain Road. Deano lapped at 132.47mph – the fastest lap of 2019.
Peter Hickman was on form too and was quickly second on adjusted time, and things were looking like it was going to be another epic duel between Hicky and Harrison. Deano was flying and by Ballagh Bridge on lap 2 Harrison was 4.841s ahead of Hicky. This all changed on the Mountain Road and the route down to pits and by the time of the planned pit stop Hicky was 1.782 seconds ahead. A lead which he held onto.
On the same stretch of the road Conor Cummins took the lead on the road again from Harrison which he later explained was some sort of power / throttle issue with his bike.
Unfortunately on lap 2 of this superbike race the red flag was brought out with the tragic death of rider Daley Mathison.
The race to this point was declared a result with Peter Hickman taking the win, Dean Harrison was second and Conor Cummins third.
John McGuiness on his Norton retired at the end of lap 1 citing low oil pressure as the problem. Irish rider Derek McGee also retired at the end of lap one.
The bike riden by Hicky was a hybrid – mostly Superstock, with a few superbike add-ons. The system clearly worked!
Words taken from iomtt.com
The three lap Locate.im Sidecar TT race 1 saw two big retirements before the field had passed Glen Helen on lap 1.
Tim Reeves and Mark Wilkes only made it as far as the bottom of Bray Hill David Molyneux and Harry Payne were reported as retired at Braddan Church.
In contrast to qualifying the Birchall brothers seemed to be straight on the pace and had a 4.138 second lead over John Holden and Lee Cain by Glen Helen which they extended to 5.646 seconds at Ballaugh.
The two Team Founds outfits made up the next two places with Peter Founds and passenger Jevan Walmsley leading brother Alan Founds and Jake Lowther.
Another set of brothers were setting the leaderboard on fire: Ryan and Callum Crowe were up to sixth place at Ballaugh Bridge, an incredible opener to their first ever TT race.
By Ramsey Ben and Tom Birchall had pulled out their lead over Holden & Cain to 8.739 seconds and after the climb up the mountain that gap was 11.282 seconds.
Crowe & Crowe continued making impressive progress, catching Lewis Blackstock and Patrick Rosney on time by the Bungalow, taking them into fifth place behind Founds and Lowther.
117.709mph was the opening lap from the Birchall brothers, a stunning opener given the small amount of practice time.
The Crowes’ 112.56mph first lap saw them comfortably exceed Tim Reeves’s longstanding newcomers lap record.
The Birchalls blinding pace continued through sector after sector on the second lap, 7.5 seconds inside their own lap record time at Ramsey, but the blustery conditions on the Mountain slowed them to only 119.13mph.
Holden and Cain tried to stay in touch but although they extended their advantage over Founds/Lowther to over 22 seconds, they were half-a-minute adrift of the Birchall brothers at the Bungalow.
The positions remained the same throughout the third lap allowing Ben and Tom to ease the pace and finish with a lap of 118.122mph, finishing in a new race record time.
John Holden and Lee Cain maintained their second place position, finishing 48.116 seconds down on the Birchalls. Founds and Lowther held off Founds and Walmsley by 5.572 seconds to finish third.
At the winners’ enclosure Ben Birchall confirmed that although conditions played a part in holding them from doing the first 120mph+ it came down more to receiving a pit board telling him he was 30+ seconds ahead and bearing in mind advice from John McGuinness not to push too hard.
The Crowe brothers continued their dream debut, putting in a final lap of 113.34mph, finishing every lap inside the old newcomers lap record.
Things were tight in this race.
By the first pass of Glen Helen the top six of James Hillier, Dave Christian, Lee Johnston, Gary Johnson, Dean Harrison, Jamie Coward and Michael Dunlop were all separated by a mere 5 or 6 seconds.
Peter Hickman in seventh position was on 0.105 seconds down on Dunlop and Cummins was a further 0.759 seconds back on Hickman.
As I said things were tight in this race.
By the the Bungalow Lee Johnston had the lead over Hillier and Peter Hickman had fought his way up to the third spot, 2.473 seconds ahead of Gary Johnson in fourth.
By lap 2 Lee Johnston waa 1.989 seconds ahead of Hiller and registered an average speed of 126.03 mph for this lap.
Peter Hickman held on to his third place, eking out the lead on Gary Johnson to 3.181 seconds.
Lee Johnson worked his lead up to 3.944s over James Hillier at Glen Helen on lap 2 however Hillier fought back and the lead was cut to a mere 0.656 seconds at Ballaugh Bridge. Hickman remained third 3.887s back from Jimbo.
By the end of lap 2 and pit stops about to start there was only 20 seconds covering the top seven riders.
It all became irrelevant as the 2019 weather happened again and the race was declared a result.
Lee Johnston got his first TT win, with James Hillier was second and Peter Hickman filled the podium with third place.
Two qualifying sessions were also run during the day, the lightweights and TT Zero Machines all getting a run out.