Annual Motorcycling Dinner 2019 - Event Review

To view images from the event click here.

Club members, guests and stars of the motorcycling world converged on Pall Mall for the Club’s Annual Motorcycling Dinner which this year celebrated the Isle of Man TT. Often described as ‘the greatest show on earth’, our evening cast a spotlight on the Mountain Course which offers no room for error, as well as the greats who choose to ride it.

Two & Three-Wheeled Stars
In celebration of the evening a Mark Coverdale’s Paton SC1 as ridden by Maria Costello MBE was placed inside the room for the evening whilst Maria’s LCR F2 Kawasaki Sidecar was parked up in the rotunda. Maria made history on the vehicles this year by becoming the only female competitor to race in a solo TT race and a sidecar TT race. Due to weather conditions, both races took place on the same day.

To read more about the motorcycles, click here.

Club Links to the TT
The Club’s links with the TT stretch back to 1905, when it held its inaugural Tourist Trophy race for automobiles on the Isle of Man. The heavy touring cars which took part were completely unsuited to the steep inclines of Manx roads. John Napier was the victor of the TT, completing the course in a leisurely 6 hours and 9 minutes.

In 1907 the first TT for motorcycles was introduced and won by famous Norton rider, Harry Fowler.

Today the race is run in a time-trial format on public roads closed for racing by the provisions of an Act of Tynwald (the parliament of the Isle of Man). Its gruelling 37.73 mile mountain course takes competitors through narrow urban streets, rural lanes and mountain passages, incorporating over 200 corners.

A Chat with the TT Greats
Following a hearty three-course meal, commentator and former motorcycle racer Steve Parrish treated the audience to an on-stage interview with TT legends Ian Hutchinson, Peter Hickman, Maria Costello MBE, and John McGuinness.

The current President of the TT Riders Association Maria Costello MBE spoke about the unique challenges which come with riding a sidecar after she became the first woman to compete in both a solo TT race and a sidecar TT race at the 2019 TT. ‘If you think the rides bumpy on a normal bike, try doing the course with the sidecar’s suspension’ she said.

Maria described the safety precautions on a sidecar. A pull cable connects her to the bike so that if she comes off, the cable is pulled out of the bike and the engine is cut. But if the sidecar passenger takes a tumble? The only immediate indication for the driver, Maria said, is that ‘the bike suddenly feels a lot faster’.

Ian Hutchinson, a current 16-time TT Winner and winner of the 2015 Torrens Trophy, broke the record for the most TT wins in a single event in 2010. Later that year, however, he suffered a bad leg break during the opening lap of the British Supersport race at Silverstone, which almost led to his left leg being amputated. Recovering slightly, he then suffered another a bad fracture in 2012.

Despite this, he still hasn’t lost the hunger to win, saying that after his 2010 crash he felt like he ‘hadn’t got enough out of racing’. Even now, following a jaw-dropping 39th operation on his leg and with much of the limb now composed of metal, he’s as driven as ever to get more victories at the TT.

Even if his leg is improving he doesn’t let himself forgot his injuries, currently keeping one of his removed leg bones ‘in the kitchen drawer’.

The four-time TT Winner and current TT lap record holder Peter Hickman chatted to the audience about his blistering lap at the 2018 TT when he became the first rider to break a 135mph average speed.

Although a lap record was ‘nice to have’ it’s still the TT wins which he’s ultimately after. Describing his approach to the course, he said ‘it’s all about‘building up confidence’ over the two-week period. Many riders start fast in practice and try to constantly beat their times, whilst Peter prefers to gradually chip away at his time throughout the week.

23-time TT Winner and 2015 Segrave Trophy Winner John McGuinness shared his love for the course with the audience, noting its popularity among competitors and spectators was down to its mix of fast stretches and corners.

He also talked about the corner which has taken his name since 2013 – noting the ‘McGuinness’ bend was chosen by him because it was an area of the course where he is often able to shave down his lap time.

In 2017 John was also setback with injuries which included four broken vertebrae and a leg fracture, and described his frustration at not being able to compete in this year’s TT. At 47 he’s still hungry for more – the only question now is whether he can surpass the great Joey Dunlop’s 26 TT wins.

With some cracking banter and sensational stories, it’s evident that the TT offers both riders and spectators unparalleled thrills.

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