Road racing staff |
TT and Roads
Image: Impact Images
Tomorrow, the group of 2022 newcomers to the Isle of Man TT races will experience the closed roads of the 37.73-mile mountain course for the first time, as they head towards their speed control tower.
Leading the way is Glenn Irwin, perhaps the most high-profile debutant since Peter Hickman first appeared at the TT in 2014.
The Northern Irishman’s road racing pedigree is considerable with six straight Superbike victories at the North West 200 between 2017 and 2022. He has also won the Macau Grand Prix and picked up podiums at the Ulster GP.
On top of that, he’s also a British Superbike Championship race winner and frequent podium finisher, starting this year’s opening BSB round with a sweep of wins.
A reduction in the number of starters for this year means places for newcomers are scarce as ever before, but there are still seven solo competitors joining the TT fray for the first time, all with their own personal aspirations.
Irwin’s other newcomers may not be in the spotlight as much and they all come from different racing backgrounds, with Dutchman Ilja Caljouw and Englishman Milo Ward joining him in Superbike, Superstock and Senior racing.
Cajouw excelled in the Supersport category on European road circuits like Horice, Hengelo, Imatra, Chimay and Frohburg. He has finished on the podium in all eight races in 2021, finishing second overall behind former Newcomers Manx Grand Prix winner Pierre Yves Bian.
Ward, meanwhile, did well in the Pirelli National Superstock 600 championship, finishing fifth overall in 2018. He immediately moved up to the Superstock 1000 class where he scored points.
Elsewhere, youngsters Joseph Loughlin and Jamie Cringle will focus on Supersport and Lightweight racing. Irishman Loughlin already has considerable road racing pedigree on his CV, taking a stunning Supertwin race win at the recent North West 200 as well as two top-ten finishes in Supersport races. He also finished on the podium at the Ulster Grand Prix.
He will ride for 10-time TT winner Ian Lougher in June, while Cringle is the dominant performer and the man to beat in the Isle of Man 600cc and 1000cc Championships.
Rounding out the solo newcomers are Australian Rennie Scaysbrook and Englishman Craig Szczypek, with the duo competing in Supersport and Supertwin races respectively.
The Sidecar class also sees a good mix of newcomers with reigning British F2 champion Lee Crawford leading the way. Partnered with experienced TT passenger Scott Hardie, the pair have dominated in recent years at Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough and only just missed a 100mph lap in only their second year at the Southern 100 in 2019.
Harry Payne, a newcomer to the TT as a passenger in 2018, now returns to the driver’s seat and does so after taking a stunning World Championship win last year.
Former Manx Senior Grand Prix winner Michael Russell is making his three-wheeled TT debut this year with the Kings Lynn man set for a busy fortnight as he also competes in all the solo races while that British Championship front runner Craig Currie is also on the sidecar entry for the first time.
The newcomers, along with the rest of the field, will take to the mountain course on Sunday May 29 for the opening day of qualifying, with the first race of 2022 – the RST Superbike TT – taking place on Saturday June 4.