The next Years

The very first TT took place on the 28th May 1907. The first two competitors Frank Hulbert and Jack Marshall climbed aboard their Triumph bikes and the Tourist Trophy races were born as they rode round the 158 mile St Johns Course. Charlie Collier rode to victory on his belt-driven Matchless machine and won that very first race. As the machines got bigger and faster, racing moves to the awesome Mountain Circuit - the most daunting test in closed-road racing. Riders such as Stanley Woods rose magnificently to the challenge and he enjoyed no fewer than 10 TT wins. Jimmy Simpson had the distinction of being the first rider to lap the course at 60mph (1924), 70mph (1926) and 80mph (in 1931). Jimmy Guthrie, Walter Handley and Alec Bennett are just a few of the other legends who helped power the TT through its first thirty-odd years until the untimely intervention of World War II in 1939. The World Championship era was perhaps the most exciting in TT history. Initially, Nortons and Velocettes were the machines to be reckoned with and Freddie Frith, Harold Daniell and Artie Bell were the men to beat between 1947 and 1949 when the TT became part of the FIM World Championships. Then along came Geoff Duke who won the 1949 Clubman's Senior TT on the Norton and the Senior TT at his first attempt in 1950, which signalled the dawn of a new era. In the late 1950s Bob McIntyre and John Surtees were showing a clean pair of heels with McIntyre recording the first ever official 100 mph lap. Surtees took the Senior 4 times until another great name appeared on the scene, Mike Hailwood. 'Mike the Bike' was to dominate the '61 TT with 3 wins and continued with a stream of victories through to '68 in spite of encountering strong opposition from the brilliant Agostini. Who can forget the incredible neck-and-neck struggle in '67 between Ago on the MV and Hailwood on the mighty Honda -4? The FIM controversially stripped the TT of its World Championship status in 1976 claiming the Mountain Circuit was too dangerous and the British round of the series was switched to Silverstone. The fans favourite Mike Hailwood made a sensational comeback in 1978 after an absence of over ten years and went on to win the Formula 1 race on a Ducati. The TT without World Championship status was a potential disaster which was overcome partly due to the event itself being bigger than its star riders and partly because of a whole new breed of road racing specialists. The new TT heroes were epitomised by Joey Dunlop - 'The King of the Roads' - with more wins than any other rider in TT history. (currently 26). Other great names who have thrilled the fans during the Eighties and Nineties in which the lap record went through 110mph and 120mph barriers are Mick Grant, Tom Herron, Tony Rutter, Nick Jefferies, Carl Fogarty, Steve Hislop, and Phillip McCallen, all have pushed the limits year after year. This spectacular festival shows no signs of diminishing and, with entries as high as ever and fans travelling from all over the world it continues from strength to strength.