Nov 16, 2018

How Our Boys Did On The Isle Of Man

Joshua Brookes during the Dainese Superbike TT, 2013. He ended up with a new record for "fastest newcomer" to the TT in his first TT race. (Photo by Phil Long / CC 2.0)

This year marked 100 years of racing on the Isle of Man—that small rock sitting somewhere north of Wales and nestled in the Irish sea between England and Northern Ireland.

Since the first TT race in 1907, the Isle of Man has been an ever-present annual fixture, manoeuvring itself into a position where it is now considered to be the pinnacle event and stage in motorcycle racing. And over the years, Aussies have more than played their part in the success of this epic event.

In 1956, Ken Kavanagh won the Junior TT, becoming the first Australian to do so. In total, he took part in sixteen career TT’s, although he didn’t make it home in eleven of those. In addition to his solitary victory, he also bagged second, third and fourth place finishes during his Manx career.

Keith Campbell came in second, fifth and seventh in his short-lived TT career before he was tragically killed racing at Cadours in France.

Then there was Jack Ahearn, who took part in nineteen TT races between 1954 and 1975 and whose best TT finish was fourth at the 1966 Junior.

A veteran of forty Isle of Man races, Jack Findlay won the 1973 Senior TT, which was one of only 15 finishes.

Popular figure Barry Woodland won the Production race three years in a row during his thirty-one Isle of Man races, commencing in 1986.

Cameron Donald narrowly came second in the Senior TT in what was only his second year of competitive racing. He won both the Superbike and Superstock events in 2008, and in seven races his lowest finish was 16th.

Josh Brookes in 2014 (Photo by Almdudler16 / CC BY)

So, during the 2018 event, whose sponsors included PokerStarsMonster EnergyHonda and Dunlop, and which came to an end on 8th June, how well did our boys get on?

Well, 35-year-old Sydney rider Josh Brookes enjoyed yet another impressive run in his fourth year at the event. He produced a new personal best lap of 131.745 mph on his way to a best-ever finish of fifth in the Senior.

Not only was this the best ever lap to be recorded by an Australian but, for the record, it was also the best ever lap on a Norton. After a sound tenth-place finish in the opening race, which he achieved despite riding for two laps with a hampering flat tyre, Brookes bagged a couple of sixths in the Supersport races to raise his place.

Adelaide favourite David Johnson was back on the IOM, and he went two better by securing a fourth-place finish in the RST Superbike TT; but he was sadly unable to see the Supersport 1 all the way to the end – a race won by Michael Dunlop.

Dunlop, by the way, also came in first in the RST Superbike. Sadly for Johnson, he was also unable to make it home in both the Senior and Bennetts Lightweight. He did, however, save some respectability in the Superstock, where he came in fourth.

Elsewhere, on the Smiths Racing BMW, Brit Peter Hickman produced an astonishing record final lap to win the PokerStars Senior, just nicking it from the race-long leader and winner of the Monster Energy Supersport 2, Dean Harrison, in one of the closest races on record. He added this to his victory in the Superstock, in what was yet another record-breaking two weeks of high-octane bike racing at its very finest.