The top twenty seeded riders for the opening race of the Classic TT presented by Bennetts, the Bennetts Senior Classic TT, have been announced today.
As in previous years, the top twenty is made of a combination of regular TT front runners and Classic Racing specialists on a variety of single cylinder machines such as Norton and Matchless, twin cylinder bikes including Honda and Paton, plus hi-revving triples and four-cylinder bikes from MV Agusta and Honda.
First away is 2018 and 2016 winner, John McGuinness, who lines up on the Team Winfield Paton once again. With the exception of 2017 when he was forced out by injury, the 23-time TT winner has campaigned Roger Winfield’s machine every year since the inaugural Classic TT in 2013. With 4 valves per cylinder, the twin cylinder Paton’s enjoy a significant power advantage over the rest of the field and with McGuinness onboard, will start as hot favourite for the race win.
Dean Harrison, the reigning Dunlop Senior TT champion, returns to the 500cc class following his absence in 2018 and will start at number 2 on board the LSS Waste Management Norton for the first time, having previously won the 2015 encounter onboard an MV Agusta.
He’s followed by the experienced pairing of 2015 race winner Ian Lougher (John Chapman Racing/MV Agusta) and Michael Rutter (Ripley Land Racing/Matchless) at number 3 and number 4 respectively.
James Hillier starts from number 5 with his regular CSC Racing team on their Honda 500-4 and is set to be followed by Michael Dunlop at his customary number 6, but the four-time Classic TT race winner has yet to announce what machine he will ride.
Number 7 is Maria Costello onboard the Beugger Racing Paton. Costello finished third in the 2017 edition of the race and was battling for a podium position in 2018, before dropping down the order and retiring on the final lap.
Jamie Coward follows Costello at number 8, riding the Ted Woof/Craven Manx Norton on which he has taken three of his five previous Classic TT podiums. Coward has enjoyed a scintillating season so far, breaking the 130mph barrier for the first time at the Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy, taking his first TT podium in the Bennetts Lightweight Race, and winning the 2019 TT Privateer’s Championship following a string of top ten results.
Dominic Herbertson, winner of the 2018 Locate.im Junior Classic TT, starts at number 8 for Davies Motorsport onboard the only Yamaha TX500 in the field. His team mate, Lee Johnston, is onboard a Honda 500-4 and is back to his usual start number of 13 having started from 11 for the TT Races in June.
The top ten is completed by Chris Swallow on the Flitwick Motorcycles Royal Enfield, who finished less than four seconds off the podium in last year’s encounter.
Numbers 11 to 20 feature further classic racing talent in Alan Oversby (Ireland Honda/Honda) starting at number 11, the vastly experienced Bill Swallow onboard the only 500 Ducati for Gleve Racing/John Poyner at 14, and Michael Russell (Izzard Racing/Norton) starting from number 15.
Danny Webb (Dunnell Racing) makes a return to TT Mountain Course action having missed the TT Races earlier this year and starts from number 12. Honda Racing’s David Johnson is at number 14 but, like Dunlop, has yet to confirm what machine he will take to the start line on. Horst Saiger (Egli Motorradtechnik) and Derek Sheils (Greenhall Racing) start at 17 and 18, with Rob Hodson (Geoff Bates Racing) completing the top 20.
Joey Thompson makes a return to Road Racing onboard the second John Chapman Racing MV Agusta, and slots in at 19.