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Celebrating 100 Years Of The Isle Of Man TT At The Stafford Bike Show

Celebrating 100 Years Of The Isle Of Man TT At The Stafford Bike Show
Study this image closely. Not only is the motorcycle fully in the air, it is rocketing past someone's house on a public road, with all the inherent patchy surfaces and awkward cambers that implies. This is 'real' road racing, as practiced on the Isle of Man and throughout Ireland. This year the famous Isle of Man TT races, which start on May 25 and run until June 7, celebrate 100 years.
The first of this year's two Stafford Classic Bike Shows includes an impressive line-up of TT-winning riders and machines. The Isle of Man TT races were first staged in 1907 but two world wars, plus the UK foot and mouth epidemic, took out 12 years, meaning that the 2019 running reaches the milestone 100 years. Event organiser Mortons Media Group will be celebrating this special anniversary with a TT theme at its Stafford International Classic Motorcycle Show on April 27-28, where big-name riders and the famous machines that carried them to victory around one of the most famous circuits in the world will be on display.  The star riders are highlighted below, but the show also has a display of 10 genuine former TT machines. The collection includes a 1926 AJS GR10, which finished third in that year’s TT in the hands of Frank Longman; an ex-HG Tyrell-Smith 1932 works Rudge, which also finished third in that year’s Junior TT race; a minuscule 50cc Honda CR110, a three-cylinder MV Agusta, a 1984 Ducati TT2 and a Honda RC45 formerly ridden by TT legend Joey Dunlop. Now in its 39th year, the Carole Nash International Classic Motorcycle Show also features trade stands, bike clubs and many other exhibitors.   Full details at www.staffordclassicbikeshows.com Here we salute some of the great names from TTs past and present, all of whom will be appearing at the show. Words by Malc Wheeler.

This year the famous Isle of Man TT races, which start on May 25 and run until June 7, celebrate 100 years.

The first of this year's two Stafford Classic Bike Shows includes an impressive line-up of TT-winning riders and machines.

The Isle of Man TT races were first staged in 1907 but two world wars, plus the UK foot and mouth epidemic, took out 12 years, meaning that the 2019 running reaches the milestone 100 years.

Event organiser Mortons Media Group will be celebrating this special anniversary with a TT theme at its Stafford International Classic Motorcycle Show on April 27-28, where big-name riders and the famous machines that carried them to victory around one of the most famous circuits in the world will be on display.

The star riders are highlighted below, but the show also has a display of 10 genuine former TT machines. The collection includes a 1926 AJS GR10, which finished third in that year’s TT in the hands of Frank Longman; an ex-HG Tyrell-Smith 1932 works Rudge, which also finished third in that year’s Junior TT race; a minuscule 50cc Honda CR110, a three-cylinder MV Agusta, a 1984 Ducati TT2 and a Honda RC45 formerly ridden by TT legend Joey Dunlop.

Now in its 39th year, the Carole Nash International Classic Motorcycle Show also features trade stands, bike clubs and many other exhibitors.

Here we salute some of the great names from TTs past and present, all of whom will be appearing at the show. Words by Malc Wheeler.

Celebrating 100 Years Of The Isle Of Man TT At The Stafford Bike Show
Ian Hutchinson 'Hutchy' became the fourth most successful rider in TT history with 16 wins, including five races in a week in 2010, although his success has not come without serious cost. He  suffered horrific injuries that would have made most people call time on racing, when a short circuit accident at Silverstone shattered his leg. With a cage fitted, he re-grew 210mm (over 8 inches) of bone. Returning to TT racing in 2012, he broke the same leg again in a mini-bike accident, but still bounced back to win the Macau Grand Prix. Back on the Isle of Man fit and well in 2015, he gained three wins, repeating the feat in 2016 and claiming two more in 2017, before a freak accident broke the same leg once again. Now back to full fitness, the Honda rider’s stage interviews are not to be missed. Mark Walters

'Hutchy' became the fourth most successful rider in TT history with 16 wins, including five races in a week in 2010, although his success has not come without serious cost. He suffered horrific injuries that would have made most people call time on racing, when a short circuit accident at Silverstone shattered his leg. With a cage fitted, he re-grew 210mm (over 8 inches) of bone. Returning to TT racing in 2012, he broke the same leg again in a mini-bike accident, but still bounced back to win the Macau Grand Prix. Back on the Isle of Man fit and well in 2015, he gained three wins, repeating the feat in 2016 and claiming two more in 2017, before a freak accident broke the same leg once again. Now back to full fitness, the Honda rider’s stage interviews are not to be missed.

Celebrating 100 Years Of The Isle Of Man TT At The Stafford Bike Show
Ben and Tom Birchall Likeable brothers Ben and Tom Birchall have made the sidecar TT their own in recent years, winning the last five races on the bounce. The duo became a team in 2003, when Ben swapped the co-pilot’s platform to drive his own outfit.   Driver Ben and younger brother Tom dominated the 2018 Sidecar races, securing both race and lap records, as well as taking their TT win tally to eight. They rounded off the year with another World title, their third in the premier class, making them the only team to win back-to-back TTs and World Championships in the history of the sport.  The brothers will have their TT-winning outfit on display, and also will be on stage during both days with some great stories to share. Mark Walters

Likeable brothers Ben and Tom Birchall have made the sidecar TT their own in recent years, winning the last five races on the bounce. The duo became a team in 2003, when Ben swapped the co-pilot’s platform to drive his own outfit. Driver Ben and younger brother Tom dominated the 2018 Sidecar races, securing both race and lap records, as well as taking their TT win tally to eight. They rounded off the year with another World title, their third in the premier class, making them the only team to win back-to-back TTs and World Championships in the history of the sport. The brothers will have their TT-winning outfit on display, and also will be on stage during both days with some great stories to share.

Celebrating 100 Years Of The Isle Of Man TT At The Stafford Bike Show
Charlie Williams Few riders can boast a TT career like nine-times winner Charlie Williams. First coming to the attention of the road racing world in 1971 when he won the Lightweight Manx Grand Prix, Charlie went on to enjoy a successful TT career, notching up 21 podiums. In addition to his real roads career, Charlie was a successful Endurance racer. Partnered by fellow Cheshire man, Stan Woods, they won the prestigious Barcelona 24 Hour Race, the 8-hour Nurburgring race, 6-hour Zandvoort race, and 1000km race at Brands Hatch, all on factory Honda machines. Since retiring from racing, Charlie has raced in both the Goodwood Revival and the Classic TT, as well as keeping his interest alive as a TT radio presenter. The Mitsui Yamaha TZ250 on which Charlie enjoyed his last TT win in 1980 will be on display as part of the TT celebration. Charlie will be launching his autobiography at the show. It promises to be a great read, and he will be signing copies. Mortons Archive
Celebrating 100 Years Of The Isle Of Man TT At The Stafford Bike Show
Alex George The fact that Alex won three TT races only tells part of the story of a long and successful career. Hailing from Glasgow, Alex, in common with Charlie Williams, fist gained recognition when he won the Lightweight Manx Grand Prix in 1969. Again in common with Charlie, he was a successful Endurance racer, winning the Bol’ d’Or 24 Hour Race for Honda. In a period when most riders combined pure road racing with Grand Prix, Alex made a name for himself on the Continental Circus, racing TZ Yamaha machinery, Suzuki RG500 and factory Cagiva 500. He finished third at the 500cc Czech GP in 1975; the 350cc Dutch TT in the same year; and in 1977 won the 500cc Austrian GP. He also had a number of other top 6 results in the 500, 350 and 250cc GP classes. Partnered by Dave Croxford, Alex claimed his first TT victory in the 1975, 10-lap Production TT aboard the legendary factory Triumph racer, Slippery Sam. The second TT win came in the Formula 1 race in the 1979 TT. Aboard a factory Honda, Alex ran away a clear winner. He is perhaps best remembered for his incredible dice with Mike Hailwood later in the week, when he came home to victor by a mere 3.4 seconds after six hard-fought laps. His career effectively ended after the TT in 1982, although he was to race again in the 1992 Senior Classic Manx Grand Prix, when he finished in a creditable 11th place on a 500 Manx Norton.  Mortons Archive

The fact that Alex won three TT races only tells part of the story of a long and successful career. Hailing from Glasgow, Alex, in common with Charlie Williams, fist gained recognition when he won the Lightweight Manx Grand Prix in 1969. Again in common with Charlie, he was a successful Endurance racer, winning the Bol’ d’Or 24 Hour Race for Honda. In a period when most riders combined pure road racing with Grand Prix, Alex made a name for himself on the Continental Circus, racing TZ Yamaha machinery, Suzuki RG500 and factory Cagiva 500. He finished third at the 500cc Czech GP in 1975; the 350cc Dutch TT in the same year; and in 1977 won the 500cc Austrian GP. He also had a number of other top 6 results in the 500, 350 and 250cc GP classes. Partnered by Dave Croxford, Alex claimed his first TT victory in the 1975, 10-lap Production TT aboard the legendary factory Triumph racer, Slippery Sam. The second TT win came in the Formula 1 race in the 1979 TT. Aboard a factory Honda, Alex ran away a clear winner. He is perhaps best remembered for his incredible dice with Mike Hailwood later in the week, when he came home to victor by a mere 3.4 seconds after six hard-fought laps. His career effectively ended after the TT in 1982, although he was to race again in the 1992 Senior Classic Manx Grand Prix, when he finished in a creditable 11th place on a 500 Manx Norton.

Celebrating 100 Years Of The Isle Of Man TT At The Stafford Bike Show
Jim Redman MBE London-born Jim Redman moved to Rhodesia at a young age and started his racing career there. Few could have imagined then the success he would have at the highest levels of the sport. Having raced in Rhodesia, Jim returned to Europe, and after Honda team rider Tom Phillis was injured, Jim filled in for him in the latter half of the 1960 season, becoming a full-time Honda rider in 1961.  The Honda-Redman partnership proved a formidable one, with Jim going on to claim four consecutive 350cc World titles between 1962 and 1965. In 1962 and 1963, he did the double by winning both the 250 and 350cc titles in the same year. In 1964, Redman became the first rider to win three Grand Prix in one day, the only other rider in racing history to match this feat being Mike Hailwood three years later. Jim is also a 6-time TT winner, with double 250 and 350cc wins in 1963, 1964, and 1965. He retired from the sport after suffering a serious arm injury during the 1966 Belgian Grand Prix.   Mortons Archive

London-born Jim Redman moved to Rhodesia at a young age and started his racing career there. Few could have imagined then the success he would have at the highest levels of the sport. Having raced in Rhodesia, Jim returned to Europe, and after Honda team rider Tom Phillis was injured, Jim filled in for him in the latter half of the 1960 season, becoming a full-time Honda rider in 1961. The Honda-Redman partnership proved a formidable one, with Jim going on to claim four consecutive 350cc World titles between 1962 and 1965. In 1962 and 1963, he did the double by winning both the 250 and 350cc titles in the same year. In 1964, Redman became the first rider to win three Grand Prix in one day, the only other rider in racing history to match this feat being Mike Hailwood three years later. Jim is also a 6-time TT winner, with double 250 and 350cc wins in 1963, 1964, and 1965. He retired from the sport after suffering a serious arm injury during the 1966 Belgian Grand Prix.

Celebrating 100 Years Of The Isle Of Man TT At The Stafford Bike Show
Tommy Robb Ever-smiling Tommy Robb's TT career began in 1958 aboard a NSU in the 250cc race on the Clypse Course, having already achieved success in his native Ulster. He finished a creditable eighth. On his Mountain Course debut the following year aboard a 350cc Manx Norton, he finished 22nd. Back on the Clypse Course riding Geoff Monty’s GMS, he showed the promise of what was to come by claiming fourth place in the 250cc race and ninth on a Ducati in the 125cc race. After a nasty spill at Windy Corner in the 1960 TT, which resulted in a broken neck, Tommy understandably took time out to recover. All that changed, however, when he was drafted into the Honda Team in 1962 alongside Bob McIntyre, Jim Redman, Luigi Taveri, Tom Phillis and Kunimitsu Takahashi.  Tommy immediately took to the Japanese machinery, finishing second in the 125cc race and a third in the 50cc TT. The following season saw him equipped with 125, 250 and 350cc Hondas. After a split with Honda, Tommy raced a factory Yamaha to seventh place in the TT, and also rode works Bultaco machinery. The Irish ace was also a long-time Continental Circus rider, with an impressive list of results. Riding for Dublin sponsor Danny Keaney, Tommy planned for 1973 to be his last season of TT racing, and entered five races. Race week started well, with a third in the Production Race, followed by mid-field finishes in the 250 and 350cc classes, although it was the 125cc race which gave the popular Ulsterman the victory he had always dreamed of. Mortons Archive

Ever-smiling Tommy Robb's TT career began in 1958 aboard a NSU in the 250cc race on the Clypse Course, having already achieved success in his native Ulster. He finished a creditable eighth. On his Mountain Course debut the following year aboard a 350cc Manx Norton, he finished 22nd. Back on the Clypse Course riding Geoff Monty’s GMS, he showed the promise of what was to come by claiming fourth place in the 250cc race and ninth on a Ducati in the 125cc race. After a nasty spill at Windy Corner in the 1960 TT, which resulted in a broken neck, Tommy understandably took time out to recover. All that changed, however, when he was drafted into the Honda Team in 1962 alongside Bob McIntyre, Jim Redman, Luigi Taveri, Tom Phillis and Kunimitsu Takahashi. Tommy immediately took to the Japanese machinery, finishing second in the 125cc race and a third in the 50cc TT. The following season saw him equipped with 125, 250 and 350cc Hondas. After a split with Honda, Tommy raced a factory Yamaha to seventh place in the TT, and also rode works Bultaco machinery. The Irish ace was also a long-time Continental Circus rider, with an impressive list of results. Riding for Dublin sponsor Danny Keaney, Tommy planned for 1973 to be his last season of TT racing, and entered five races. Race week started well, with a third in the Production Race, followed by mid-field finishes in the 250 and 350cc classes, although it was the 125cc race which gave the popular Ulsterman the victory he had always dreamed of.

Celebrating 100 Years Of The Isle Of Man TT At The Stafford Bike Show
John Cooper What can we say about the fans’s favourite, John "Moon Eyes" Cooper, in a few short paragraphs? It could fill a book! In fact, that is exactly what has happened, and John will be launching it at the show. Forever remembered as the rider who vanquished Italian star Giacomo Agostini – arguably the greatest Grand Prix racer of all time – at his home circuit, Mallory Park, John achieved so much more during a long and hugely successful career, although it has to be said his victory on the factory BSA triple was the stuff of legend. Starting out in local Derbyshire trials aged just 16, John soon switched the road racing aboard a 197cc James, tuned by Harry Lomas, father of Grand Prix’s Bill Lomas. He quickly progressed through the road racing ranks, becoming a formidable competitor on 350 and 500 Manx Nortons, and later on Colin Seeley’s 500 and 350 Yamsel, and also the factory BSA, which he is perhaps best remembered for. Entering the TT for the first time in 1964, John showed great promise by finishing ninth in the hard-fought Senior Race, but machine failures in subsequent years meant victory always eluded him. He is, however, a two-time North West 200 winner. Mortons Archive