IOMTT 2014: Riders to Watch

Author: Bike Social Posted: 30 May 2014

Race week at the 2014 Isle of Man TT kicks off tomorrow with the Dainese Superbike TT. Six laps, two hours of gruelling battle between some of the most talented motorcycle racers in the world. One of the most fascinating things about the TT spectacle is there aren’t just one or two riders that can win a race; it’s more like ten.

Here, we take a look at some of the riders to keep an eye on this year, some obvious – some not so.


McGuinness is always one to watch

Age: 42
TT Victories: 20
Team: Honda Racing/Padgetts Racing (STK/SPT)
Twitter: @JM130TT

You can’t go through the TT period without at least keeping one eye on the Morecambe Missile that is John McGuinness. With twenty TT victories to his name, he is very much the current King of the Mountain with only the late, great Joey Dunlop having taken more victories on the mountain course.

McGuinness is riding injured this year after breaking his scaphoid in an enduro accident, but that’s not to say you can count him out! McGuinness is a big bike specialist, with most of his victories in the Superbike and Senior races. If his wrist is as bad as it was at the North West 200, he could be one to watch on the smaller bikes this year. John told Bike Social a few weeks back that he sometimes prefers the smaller bikes as they’re easier to control… Could that be a sign of things to come this year?


Michael Dunlop is on it this year

Age: 25
TT Victories: 7
Team: BMW Motorrad/MD Racing BMW (STK)/MD Racing Honda (SPT)/MD Racing Kawasaki (LWT)
Twitter: @M_Dunlop3

Michael Dunlop came of age last year, storming to victory in the first four TT races of the week. Marked as the man who could take the challenge to BMW, the Ballymoney bloke threw a question mark over his head for 2014 when he announced that he might not ride. Later in the day it was announced he’d join the Hawk BMW team, to try and emulate BMW’s success of winning the Senior TT a whopping seventy-five years ago.

Dunlop faces quite the challenge with the BMW but he’s already making it own. Just yesterday he made the sensational decision to change tyre manufacturer mid-TT, a move normally unheard of in the TT paddock. Dunlop will take the BMW and wrestle it into submission until he gets a victory and mark our words, he’ll probably get at least one!


Is it Guy Martin's year?

Age: 32
TT Victories: 0
Team: Tyco Suzuki

It’s sometimes astonishing to think that Guy Martin has never won a TT race as he’s probably the most famous road racer in the world. By gosh, he’s come close to TT victories in the past and by all means he has the capability, it just seems that Lady Luck has never been on his side come race day. Everyone always says how “Guy has to win one eventually” and they’re probably right. With McGuinness injured and Dunlop learning the BMW, is this year Guy’s chance?


William Dunlop could be strong this year

Age: 28
TT Victories: 0
Team: Tyco Suzuki
Twitter: @Dunlop6

The elder Dunlop brother is arguably just as talented as Michael, albeit a little calmer! William has been known in the past for his ability to ride a Supersport bike, with his three TT podiums coming in the 600 category. At this year’s North West 200, the Ballymoney man bashed his brother up a bit to take victory in the Superbike race and so far in practice he’s shown well on the GSXR1000. Is this year his year to make a mark?


Ian Hutchinson says he's full fit

Age: 34
TT Victories: 7
Team: Milwaukee Yamaha
Twitter: @Tweethutchy

Famous for winning five TTs in a week back in 2010, Hutchinson returns to the Isle of Man this year for what he says his first ‘proper’ attempt since that astonishing result four years ago. The Yorkshireman has suffered terribly in the last few years with badly broken legs, but now claims he’s back to full fitness. He stormed to victory at the Macau Grand Prix at the back end of last year and is up for a fight at this year’s TT. He’s certainly capable of taking victory if the circumstances play into his hand on the day.


Cummins is on top machinery this year

Age: 28
TT Victories: 0
Team: Honda Racing / RAF Reserves Honda (STK)
Twitter: @ConrodIOM

Conor Cummins’ was going for TT victory back in 2010 when he slipped off the Verandah at insane speeds, flying off the side of the mountain. Since that crash, Cummins hasn’t been quite the same but this year he’s been given a shot in the best team in the paddock: Honda Racing. Cummins reckons the 2010 crash is well and truly behind him and is keen to prove himself alongside new team mate, John McGuinness. On the best machinery he’s ever been on, Conor is a sure threat for victory this year.


Bruce Anstey has impressed so far on the island this year

Age: 44
TT victories: 9
Team: Padgetts Honda

Proof that age is but a number. Bruce Anstey is a weird one, half the time he doesn’t wake up until mid-way through the Senior Race! This year, he’s been on it so far in practice and has already been close to a 131mph lap. With McGuinness injured and Dunlop on new machinery, Anstey could be the one to capitalise in the big bike races next week.


Gary Johnson's on the Triumph in Supersport

Age: 32
TT Victories: 1
Team: Lincs Lifting Honda
Twitter: @Gary_Johnson69

Gary Johnson has been destined for a big bike victory at the TT for years but has just lacked a bit of luck. Mechanical problems often rule him out so turning up with a Honda for 2014 puts him in a good position. The Lincolnshire bloke is certainly fast and will be keen to capitalise on anyone else’s mistakes. Aboard the trusty Triumph in the Supersport category, it'll be interesting to see what the British machine can do!


Lee Johnston is climbing the ranks

Age: 24
TT Victories: 0
Team: East Coast Racing

An up and coming TT star, Lee Johnston is seriously one to watch this year at the Isle of Man TT, especially in the Supersport category. The ‘General’ nearly bagged victory at the North West 200 a few weeks ago. A victory might be a huge ask for his third year, but expect him to be closing in on the podium in the Supersport class and he’s definitely a name to watch for the future.


Brookes impressed in his debut year

Age: 31
TT  Victories: 0
Team: Milwaukee Yamaha
Twitter: @JoshBrookes

After an incredibly impressive rookie campaign, Josh Brookes is tipped for success in his second year on the Island. A solid top ten finish last year could suggest the Aussie will be pushing on towards the podium this time around. With the exception of the North West 200, Brookes hasn’t ridden a Supersport bike competitively since 2009, yet in practice he’s shown good form on both the 600cc and 1000cc bikes. A few more solid results this time round, and the big boys might be looking over their shoulders for this fast Aussie come 2015!


Donald has joined Norton for 2014

Age: 36
TT Victories: 2
Team: Norton Racing
Twitter: @CameronDonald86

Cameron Donald has always been one of the TT’s fastest racers, although this year he is very much an unknown quantity. He’s signed for Norton, who have built a TT bike from scratch. Lacking horsepower, last year’s Norton could only manage a 122mph lap, but Cameron has been knocking on the door of that time already in practice week. A victory is out of the question on a brand new bike, but a top ten would be absolutely historic for Cameron and the Norton Brand.

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