40th anniversary of Hailwood's TT comeback remembered at 2018 Bennetts Classic TT



Arguably the most memorable and emotional moment in the TT’s 110-year history will be central to the celebrations at next year’s Classic TT presented by Bennetts, which forms part of the Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling.

23 times TT champion John McGuinness will ride a parade lap on the original Sports Motorcycles Ducati that Mike Hailwood raced in his glorious 1978 comeback. The lap, which takes place on the 25th August, will celebrate the fortieth anniversary of ‘Mike the Bike’s’ Formula 1 TT Race win after an eleven-year absence.

Commenting on the Mike Hailwood comeback anniversary lap John McGuinness said:

“I’ve already had some special moments on the Mountain Course in my career,- both racing and with parades - but this is undoubtedly going to be one of the real highlights. It’s truly an honour and a privilege to be asked to represent Mike even though I was only six when he came back and won the F1 Race. It’s an iconic moment in TT history and a story that everyone who follows the event knows about.”

Mike Hailwood’s family, widow Pauline and son David, will attend the Classic TT to witness the Parade Lap, with the original machine, one of the most iconic in motorcycle racing history, being kindly supplied for the event by New York based collector Larry Auriana.

The Classic TT has been the scene of a number of memorable races in the event’s five year history and last year alone included the first ever 120+mph 250cc lap of the Mountain Course by Bruce Anstey on the Padgetts Motorcycles Honda.

Other highlights from 2017 include Anstey’s stunning new outright Classic TT lap record of 127.496mph on the YZR 500cc Yamaha during the thrilling Classic TT Superbike Race that ultimately saw Dean Harrison take the race win and former British Superbike Champion Josh Brookes, riding the Winfield Paton, taking his maiden Mountain Course victory.

Other memorable Classic TT moments since the event’s inception in 2013 have included Steve Plater’s lap of the Mountain Course on an authentic factory six-cylinder 250cc Honda Six, the ‘Joey Dunlop Road Racing Legend – The Rivals’ Parade Lap in 2014 that saw many of Joey’s greatest rivals, or representatives of his rivals, appearing in a tribute lap. 

The Classic TT races gets underway with the Bennetts Senior Classic TT on the morning of Saturday 25th August with the class dominated in recent years by the stunning collection of Patons assembled by Roger Winfield. Saturday afternoon, following the Hailwood Parade lap, sees the memorable sight, sound and smell of the two stroke 250’s for the Dunlop Lightweight Classic TT Race before tales of derring-do are swapped in the evening’s Classic TT Party in the VIP Hospitality Suite.

The action moves to the North of the Island on Sunday 26th for the now traditional nostalgia-fest – the ‘Festival of Jurby’, organised by the Isle of Man chapter of the VMCC – a fitting preview to the evening’s RST Legends dinner back at the TT Grandstand.

The action returns to the Mountain Course on the British Bank Holiday Monday 27th August with the Junior Classic TT Race, which has seen so many memorable British marques returning to the Mountain Course and battling the more modern Japanese manufactured bikes. Last year’s race saw Michael Rutter take the honours on the Ripley Land Racing Drixon Honda.

 Monday’s Race programme is bisected by the Classic Racer Magazine Lap of Honour; the chance to see some of the most memorable and some long forgotten machines and marques once again navigating the Mountain Course before the meeting reaches its climax with the RST Classic TT Superbike Race.


To secure your place you can book all your ticket requirements now at iomtt.com.


PICTURE CAPTIONS : ©‘The Nick Nicholls Collection @ Mortons Archive’