The Norton factory team: John McGuinness, Peter Hickman and Davey Todd

Giant shindig kicks off prep for 2019 TT in Douglas, Isle of Man

Michael Dunlop with the 2019 Arai TT replica helmet

THE EASTER eggs have been in the shops for weeks, WSBK and MotoGP have kicked off, and it’s just about warm enough to get out with vented leathers on (in the south-east at least…) So the TT will be upon us before we know it – and the Manx government held a massive star-studded event launch in Douglas. It was a chance for the press (us!), and the locals to see what’s planned for 2019 – and it looks set to be a cracking TT.

The rider news was mouth-watering stuff: with Ian Hutchinson and John McGuinness making full-scale returns to racing after serious injuries. McGuinness was a bit fried when we spoke to him – he’d been up for more than 30 hours travelling home from the Classic race event at Eastern Creek in Sydney, via Hong Kong, then London and Ronaldsway. The 23-time TT winner from Morecambe is racing on Nortons, including the new 650 twin Lightweight machine. “I’m blown away with the Norton Superlight,” he said. “It’s a class I’ve never raced in so I’m really excited and want to be winning. It’s another opportunity for a win for me and it’s another manufacturer in the class so I’ll be putting my heart and soul into it.”

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Conor Cummins with the new TT timekeeper and watch sponsor Bremont

Hutchinson is with Honda of course, riding the Fireblade alongside new team mate Dave ‘Davo’ Johnson. Manxman Conor Cummins is also on a ‘blade, riding the Padgetts Milenco machine. Meanwhile, lap record holder and all-round top man Peter Hickman is on the new 2019 BMW S1000RR, with the Smiths team.

Isle of Man TT car and motorcycle partnership 2019

Alongside the race announcements, Honda has renewed its car and bike sponsorship, so the travelling marshals and medics will be whizzing about the Rock on Fireblade SPs and in Civic Type R cars. British watch firm Bremont is the new official timekeeper for the races, and will no doubt be handing out flash timepieces to the race winners too. And long-time TT partner Arai helmets has released its special limited edition lid for the 2019 event – 12 years since it made the first one to celebrate the 1907-2007 centenary event. Based on the top-spec RX-7V race lid, with a sweet fluoro paint job by Aldo Drudi, it’s a limited edition essential for collectors and TT fans for sure.

2019 Arai TT helmet

Finally, DJ emperor and all-round top bloke Carl Cox will be headlining the closing party at the TT. The legendary DJ and massive race fan will play his breathtaking set in the VIP Hospitality Unit on the evening of Senior Race day – Friday 7th June 2019.

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If you’ve not booked a hotel, flights or ferry, you’ll be up against it a bit – but there’s still time. Get along to the official TT website – https://www.iomttraces.com for more info on all the good stuff…

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