Posts Tagged ‘Ian Hutchinson’

1. Ian Hutchinson. Redefined the possibilities of sports rehab.

2. John McGuinness. Class, consistency, longevity. Time to revive that campaign for a Royal honour. But then, he’s King of the Mountain already.

High point: McGuinness at Brandywell in the Senior. Photo: Alan Knight

High point: McGuinness at Brandywell in the Senior. Photo: Alan Knight

3. The Isle of Man public. Generous response to mean weather in practice week.

4. The Birchalls. Like Klaffi a few years ago, massive reward for putting their short-circuit reputations on the line.

5. James Hillier. Speed, control, dignity, modesty. TT titles await.

6. Dave Molyneux. A special lap to break a special record.

7.  Gary Thompson. The Clerk of the Course came up with so many correct answers an appearance on University Challenge must only be a matter of time.

8. Bruce Anstey. Specialist subject: making the horrendously difficult look ridiculously easy.

9. Michael Dunlop. Went through the pain barrier time and time again.

10. North One production team. Camera work and editing were quite brilliant.

11. Derek McGee. I saw him racing as a novice at Athea a few years ago and thought then that a future TT star was being born. The leading newcomer goes home with a clutch of bronze replicas. Name to watch.

12. Peter Hickman. Second year at the TT and he’s beating Anstey, Martin and McGuiness? You can’t be serious.

13. Ivan Lintin. Manx GP graduate has done everything the right way.

14. Keith Flint. The prodigy frontman hummed the melody, Hutchy played it.

15. The marshals. Orange army in the pink, as ever.

16. Clive Padgett. Not for the first time, his team punched above its weight.

17. Isle of Man Police. They had more to deal with than they should have. Good online communication.

18. Fiona Baker-Milligan. The TT’s highest-placed woman this year.

19. ITV schedulers for placing ‘Closer to the Edge’ on mainstream TV at the start of the fortnight – with repeat on ITV4.

20. Johnny Moss. Manx Radio’s quirkiest newsman put together a lovely montage to end the station’s TT broadcasts.

 

 

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Road racing has given us some truly uplifting stories over the years and now we’ve had one to top the lot – Hutchy’s victories in the Supersport and Superstock TTs, at the end of five long years of fighting his way back to fitness after that terrible crash at Silverstone in 2010. It’s a tale that deserves much more publicity than it will probably get, but that doesn’t detract in any way from the achievement.

just one step on the way back...Hutchy in Swan Yamaha livery at Signpost, 2012

Just one step on the way back…Hutchy in Swan Yamaha livery at Signpost, 2012

Hutchy’s success on the 600 Yamaha was described as a fairytale on the BBC website but I doubt if the man himself would see it quite like that. From the horror of the original accident through the news that he’d need his foot amputated to the 30-plus operations, the hours in rehab, the frustration of riding without being able to do himself justice, and seeing other riders scoop up the glory in his absence, it’s hard to imagine a worse experience for a professional sportsman. For those unfamilair with the tale, Hutchy was struck by another bike in that spill at Silverstone, doing such serious damage that amputation of his foot was recommended but Hutchy refused to allow the medics to go ahead. Trying to think of another competitor who has triumphed over anything similar, I thought of Alex Zanardi, the F1 driver who had both legs amputated after a crash while racing in the Champ Car series in Germany. Zanardi overcame the mental scars as well as the physical damage to win a gold medal in the handcycling time trial at the 2012 Paralympics. Talent is essential in big-time sport but without determination it is nothing, as any Liverpool football fans who have watched Mario Balotelli this season might agree. Hutchy has provided a spectacular lesson in the value of determination, turning disaster into triumph like King Midas on two wheels. He’s also one of the most modest individuals in the sporting world, so at a time when the sports pages are dominated by financial scandals in football and drug allegations in athletics, how good to have something genuine to make the world seem a better place.

It’s usually dangerous to draw too many conclusions from the NW200 about likely outcomes at the TT. Alastair Seeley’s dominance at the Causeway Coast is one reason. Seeley consistently mops up at the North West but doesn’t do the TT. Despite that, there are maybe some pointers to be found.

I don’t want to go any further though without saying that the most important thing is the wellbeing of the woman who was seriously injured in Saturday’s three-bike incident. I felt too many people were too quick to ‘move on’ from this desperate accident. ‘The helicopter got away, how soon can we get back to the racing?’ No, that’s not the right way to go. As I write, over 24 hours has passed and the woman is still on the critical list in the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast. I sincerely hope she makes a good recovery. The same thoughts go to Stephen Thompson, also rated critical having been involved in the same incident.

We can’t tip Seeley for success at the TT, but we can say that his Tyco/TAS team have got the BMW working well. If that level of preparation carries through to the team’s BMWs on the island, then their TT experts William Dunlop and Guy Martin should prosper. William has the edge on Guy at the moment and Guy will have to be properly focused on the island. His ‘boring boring’ rant was out of order and also out of character, more a sign of frustration than anything else. I’d love Guy to win in what he says will be his last TT – although he hinted in a BBC NI interview that he might have second thoughts. At the moment, I have to say I think he’ll do well to get on the podium, never mind win.

Michael Dunlop’s switch to Shaun Muir’s Yamaha team makes forecasting even more difficult. Much the same as Hutchy’s switch to Shaun’s outfit after his five-out-of-five on Clive Padgett’s Hondas, before injury intervened. Michael has done it all on Honda and BMW bikes – but Yamaha? Well, if I’ve learnt one thing, it is never to bet against M.Dunlop. He will be a major contender. So will John McGuinness and Conor Cummins on the Hondas. The North West confirmed Lee Johnston as a big player, winner of the Superstock on Saturday. And Hutchy looked pretty good too, thank goodness, third in the Superstock and second in the Superbike, both on Paul Bird’s Kawasakis. The weekend also reminded us that Bruce Anstey is very much in the frame.

It’s impossible this year to come up with a single overwhelming favourite so it looks like we’re set for a massively exciting TT with the victories being shared around a bit more than in recent years.

I hope Guy turns up with his mojo in good working order. And I do hope Michael doesn’t go for a repeat of a silly little stunt at the start of proceedings on Saturday when he seemed to be goading the excellent BBC reporter Stephen Watson into giving a gratuitous plug to Michael’s sponsors. Stephen dealt with it well, but come on Michael. If Stephen had fallen for your little trick he’d have been in big trouble with his bosses. If anyone had tried to make me do something which is a disciplinary offence, if not a sackable one, when I was at the BBC I’d have thought long and hard before giving him any live TV exposure again.

Update: BBC TV interview with NW200 Race Director Mervyn Whyte, May 18th 2015

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We’re moving into the business end of my personal Top Twenty Mountain Course moments in my nine years as lead commentator at the TT and Manx Grand Prix. Up to now my hit parade has included the funny and the quirky as well as moments of sporting theatre. Today we are well and truly into the category of history-makers.

8In at Number Eight is the Godfather himself, John McGuinness. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s the Senior TT in 2009 and a high-quality grid looks certain to provide us with some rapid speeds. Even so, the stat that my computer screen blinks out as McGuinness slows into pit lane at the end of lap two comes as a stunner: 131.578mph. “Ohhh, look at that!” I bellow into the mic, oblivious to the fact that no-one else can actually see it. “It’s one-three-one!”  The first 131mph lap ever and a wonderful, exhilarating moment for us all. Such is TT though: John is denied a victory chance when his chain snaps and Steve Plater takes the win.

7Same year, but the summer is burning out and this is a carolynndifferent kind of history but no less remarkable. I’m in my lofty perch watching the Ultra Lightweight race at the Manx Grand Prix. We’re wondering if Carolynn Sells can become the second woman on the podium after Maria Costello, after all she was well placed in 2008 before coming off at Windy Corner. It’s the midway point in the race and riders are coming in for the routine pit stop. Carolynn’s bright orange Yamaha FZR400 rockets into view – but does not slow down. She scorches past the pit wall, head down. What’s happening? A desperate blunder or a brilliant strategy? All is revealed soon enough. Brilliant strategy. The Paul Morrissey/Martin Bullock team has calculated their fuel consumption to the drop and without any pit stop Carolynn wins the race and I’m saluting the first woman ever (and still) to win a solo race around the Mountain Course. Afterwards we examine the stats again and work out that she would still have won even with a pit stop.

6The thought of any one rider winning five out of fiveHutchy TT races in a single year seems ridiculous but in 2010 Mission Impossible takes place before my very eyes. Just as remarkable, all races are won with the same manufacturer and the same team, Padgetts Honda. In a day of sometimes painful drama, in which Guy Martin survives a fireball at Ballagarey and Conor Cummins is seriously banged up at the Verandah, Ian Hutchinson emerges triumphant in the four-lap restarted Senior TT, leading from flag to flag with two 131 laps in the first two.  Hutchy, McGuinness and Conor all exceed 131 on the first lap. The race ends with Hutchy standing on the pegs as the Honda coasts across the line and into Ian’s own chapter of TT history.

05Number Five is another Magnificent McGuinness moment. johnWe’re at the Centenary TT in 2007 and the island has been simply spectacular all week with re-enactments, celebrity visitors, and terrific racing. One thing remains: we’re into the last race of the meeting, the Senior TT, and no-one has yet done a 130mph lap. Enter the Morecambe Missile. Lap Two, and here’s the HM Plant Honda Fireblade as the klaxon sounds to indicate a pit stop. Has it been done this time? It’s a real possibility. There’s the timing computer’s verdict. “It has been done! It HAS been done!!”  The engineers are frantically winding the volume down because my voice is busting the decibels at the top end.  130.354mph is the new record and John goes on to wrap up his 13th TT win with a new race record as well.

Tomorrow: Four to go. Which moments make the podium? Which is my all-time Number One? 

It’s been an incredibly busy week for news from the TT and MGP. In case you missed anything, here’s a round-up of what’s been going on over the last seven days.

  • Entries for the TT closed with all solo classes except Superstock over-subscribed and the Sidecars showing the largest entry since Centenary year 2007. Very sadly, the entries do not include Ian Hutchinson as he continues his fight to recover from injury. They do include Dave Madsen-Mygdal who could become the first rider to complete 100 races.
  • Hutchy will be on the island hosting his Let’s Talk Bikes show, which will be a treat but not exactly where we want to see him.
  • Cameron Donald withdrew from the Honda TT Legends endurance team because it takes him away from Australia too often. He will though ride the NW200 and the TT.
  • ITV4’s documentary series following the Honda TT Legends reached the Isle of Man with highlights of the SBK TT and insights behind the scenes. They’re back at the TT in next Monday’s episode.
  • 25 riders showed up for the first tour of the Mountain Course this year for Manx Grand Prix newcomers. They included a team of four from the British Army.
  • Manxman Gavin Hunt, son of ‘Big H’ Paul, will make his TT debut. The 26-year old will campaign a ZX-10R Kawasaki in the Superbike, Superstock and Senior.

    Gavin Hunt at the 2010 NW200. Photo: Kirth Ferris

    Gavin Hunt at the 2010 NW200. Photo: Kirth Ferris

  • Blackpool’s Roy Richardson announced his retirement from the TT but will continue at the Classic TT in August where he has 10 victories under the old MGP Classic banner.
  • Guy Martin announced his 2013 schedule which starts at Cookstown on April 26 and includes NW200, TT and Southern 100.
  • Olie Linsdell will again ride the SMV Engineering R6 in the Supersport races, and the Steve Bond / Flitwick Motorcycles Fireblade in the three larger capacity classes, and the Suzuki V-Strom racer in the lightweight race. For the inaugural Classic TT, Olie will ride all three races.

    Experts on and off the bike: Olie Linsdell and dad Steve

    Experts on and off the bike: Olie Linsdell and dad Steve

  • Olie’s former team boss Ian Lougher will join the team at the Classic TT riding the Royal Enfield that Olie took to second place last year.
  • KMR Kawasaki, run by Ryan Farquhar, announced that former Irish Superbike champion Brian McCormack will be joining the squad for the International and National road races. The deal was announced a day after KMR signed MGP Newcomers winner James Cowton who will contest the NW200 and MGP among other meetings.
  • Farquhar and McCormack do some blue-sky thinking. Photo: Stephen Davison

    Farquhar and McCormack do some blue-sky thinking. Photo: Stephen Davison

  • It’s been just over a year since Keith Amor announced his retirement from road racing due to injury but the Scot hasn’t been idle and can now be found in Cyprus running ‘Enduro Paphos’, his own off road/adventure business. Further details can be found at www.enduropaphos.com
  • Kawasaki all-time great Kork Ballington will be at the Classic TT in August, riding in the lap of honour and appearing at the Festival of Jurby on a Kawasaki H2R 750 triple. This will be part of a spectacular contribution to the Classic TT by Team Collins and Russell (Des Collins and Ronnie Russell) who are bringing up to 12 classic Kawasakis to the island.
  • Former MGP Lightweight winner Tony Duncan has been appointed chief travelling marshal for all Mountain Course events.
  • And finally, last Monday would have been Joey Dunlop’s 61st birthday meaning thousands of people worldwide spared more than few thoughts for the modest genius from Ballymoney.

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