Ryan Kneen has been awarded the 2018 PokerStars Spirit of the TT Award following brother Dan’s accident during this year’s TT Races.
The Kneen family have close links with the road racing community and Ryan, who was also competing in this year’s TT Races meeting, went out at the back of Thursday’s qualifying session wearing his brother’s helmet, following Dan’s death in Wednesday’s Superbike practice.
The PokerStars Spirit of the TT Award is given annually to the person or persons who best represent the ethos and values of the TT Races including decency, honesty, generosity, courage, compassion, integrity, respect, teamwork and commitment to the development of the races.
The presentation of the award was made on Friday – Senior Race Day – on the Grandstand podium ahead of the PokerStars Senior TT Race.
Guy Templer, Chief Operating Officer, The Stars Group, who presented the award commented:
“The Kneen family has shown incredible resilience and spirit and this was typified by Ryan’s gesture in his tribute practice lap to his brother that received such an incredible reaction from the fans at the event and a remarkable surge of support on-line as well.”
Rob Callister, MHK, Isle of Man Government’s Tourism and Motorsport representative said:
“Everyone in the local community and the broader road racing scene, was affected by Dan’s death. He was a hugely popular figure on the Isle of Man and made a great impact on everybody that met him. He will be sorely missed.”
“It is entirely appropriate that this year’s PokerStars Spirit of the TT award goes to Ryan whose spirit and dignity is a shining example of the values and ethos of the event. I personally attend the legacy lap on Sunday and it was incredibly moving to see Ryan and his father Richard leading around eight thousand bikers around the TT course.”
Representatives from the Isle of Man Government’s Motorsport team including Rob Callister MHK, TT rider liaison officers Richard Quayle and John Barton, ACU Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson and the Stars Group Chief Operating Officer Guy Templer judged the award. Nominations were invited from members of the public and from officials associated with the TT.
Previous winners have included Paul Owen, Conor Cummins, the Birchall Brothers, TT Marshal Eric Alexander and TTRA secretary Frances Thorp. The then ninety-one year old Harold Leece who opened up his garden to visitors every year and 8 year old fundraiser Cici Reed received the award in 2015 and the 2016 winner was TT rider Paul Shoesmith. Last year’s award was shared between the three organisers of the TT facebook helpline page – Barbara Keene, Margaret Cain and Sandra Diamond – which was set up to help visitors to the Isle of Man with travel and accommodation emergency issues.
Isle of Man TT newcomer Davey Todd has been awarded the RST ‘Star of Tomorrow’ Award.
The award was created by Official TT safety partner RST and was judged on a number of factors by the TT rider liaison officers John Barton and Richard ‘Milky’ Quayle who run the newcomer programme. The award includes a full factory equipment package of an RST Race Dept suit, boots gloves, and an Arai helmet.
Davey finished the second fastest newcomer in the event’s history, bettered only by Peter Hickman’s lap time from 2014 but surpassing Josh Brookes’ 2013 time. Davey clocked 127.890 in Monday’s RL360 Superstock race which he improved to 128.379 in yesterday’s PokerStars Senior TT, having already indicated his potential with a lap of 128.051 in Wednesday’s Senior qualifying session from a standing start.
Jonny Towers, RST said:
“We are delighted to be involved with the TT on many levels both commercially as well as supporting the travelling marshals and in creating an award to recognise and support a rider in the early stages of his career. Davey, in his performance and approach, typifies the type of rider that we were looking to recognise with this award.”
Richard ‘Milky’ Quayle said:
“RST’s support for the newcomers is a real tangible benefit for a rider starting out and shows that their thinking is aligned and in tune with riders and their requirements. Davey has had an outstanding first year at the TT and his success is based on the hard yards that he has done over the winter months in preparing to race here for the first time. He has a great attitude and I can see him having a long and successful TT career if he continues to make the progress and build on his first year.”
Michael Rutter’s campaign at the 2018 Isle of Man TT Races ended in disappointing fashion on Friday afternoon when the Bathams Racing rider was forced to retire from the Senior race with a broken steering damper bracket.
As they had been all fortnight, weather conditions around the 37.73-mile Mountain Course were perfect and a good start for the Bridgnorth resident saw him complete the opening lap in ninth place after lapping at 128.432mph.
Second time around and it appeared that all wasn’t well with Michael and the BMW S1000RR as he slipped back to 11th after a lap of 126.606mph but, after pitting for fuel and a new rear tyre at the end of the lap, he continued in the race.
The third lap saw him consolidate his 11th place but by the time he made his second pit stop at the end of lap four, he’d slipped back to 15th after a lap of 121.465mph. As soon as he got to his pit crew, Michael climbed off the bike and both he and his mechanics checked to see if they could rectify the problem.
Unfortunately, the steering damper bracket had broken and it wasn’t possible to continue thus bringing his 100% finishing record at TT2018 to an end. Nevertheless, with a first, third, fifth and sixth, it had been another successful event for Michael and the team.
Michael Rutter: “I was really looking forward to today’s race and felt in a good place after the win and third place but as early as Ballacraine on the first lap, the bike didn’t feel right as the front end wasn’t behaving anywhere near like it should have done. I kept plugging away but the bike was getting worse and worse and when I pitted at the end of lap four we found out the steering damper bracket had broken.”
“It wasn’t possible to repair it and even if we had, I’d have lost so much time I’d have been way down the order so there was little option other than to retire. It’s a shame the week ended with a retirement but, overall, I’ve got to be happy with a first, third, fifth and sixth from the four races I’ve finished. That’s a pretty good return so a big thanks to the team for all their hard work and for my sponsors for their continued support.”
Gary Johnson and the RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki team finished their 2018 Isle of Man TT Races campaign on a high note on Friday with the 37-year old taking a fine sixth place in the closing six-lap Senior race.
With good conditions all around the 37.73-mile Mountain Course, the race got underway at 12.45pm and the Lincolnshire rider made a good start to what would prove to be a record-breaking race with a lap of 129.763mph on the Kawasaki ZX-10R seeing him occupy seventh place.
Second time around and Gary remained in seventh place after a lap of 128.628mph and a good pit stop by the team saw him maintain the position although by half distance, he was less than a second behind sixth placed rider Sam West.
At the end of lap four, two thirds race distance, Gary moved ahead of West after a lap of 128.854mph and although he couldn’t move further up the leaderboard, his sixth and final lap of 130.057mph proved to be his quickest of the week and meant he finished in sixth place.
It was also his best finish of the week and with seventh and eighth in the two Supersport races, Gary and the team ended TT2018 with three top eight finishes. Peter Hickman eventually won the race by two seconds from Dean Harrison.
Gary Johnson: “I’m happy enough with sixth place and although I’m struggling a little bit to do the lap times I know I’m capable of, it’s a solid result in the Senior TT, which is always the pinnacle of race week. I wasn’t sure if we’d get to the end at one stage as I was hearing a few noises from the bike and I’m still trying to get a comfortable feeling with the engine management system so it was nice to complete a six-lap race.”
“Peter (Hickman) caught and passed me and I was able to stick we him for a few miles, which was pleasing given the pace he was on and sixth place gives us something to build on. The team have been brilliant all fortnight and I can’t thank them enough so it would nice if we can keep working together and have the continuity to come back in 2019 and build upon what we’ve achieved.”
Lee Hardy, Team Owner: “I’m very pleased with today’s result and sixth in the Senior is a great way to finish this year’s TT, both for Gary and the team especially as we know how hard everyone’s been trying this week. The pit stops went well with no mistakes and everyone stayed calm and Gary rode a fantastic race, never being lower than eighth, and eventually finishing sixth. He did 130mph+ at the end which is what he’s wanted to do all week and I’m very pleased with his effort’s all fortnight as I have been by the hard work of the team all fortnight.”
The Honda Racing team is signing off after a positive Isle of Man TT campaign; although the results do not reflect the performance of the riders Ian Hutchinson and Lee Johnston, the squad is leaving this year’s event pleased with progress and on-going development of the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade SP2.
Hutchinson continued to impress as he made his return to the TT after breaking his leg in an accident last year. With inspirational drive and determination the ‘Bingley Bullet’ completed a total of 39 laps aboard the CBR during practice and race week, just one month after having his external frame removed.
‘Hutchy’ improved his lap times and feeling aboard the Fireblade during each session and although he didn’t finish the Senior TT, feeling he wasn’t able to complete the full race distance after the second pit stop, the Honda team are proud of his efforts this week and know it’s only a matter of time before he’s back to full speed.
Meanwhile teammate Johnston went into today’s Senior TT confident after a six-place finish in Saturday’s opening Superbike race aboard the Fireblade. With glorious conditions once again around the 37.73-mile Mountain circuit, ‘The General’ had made his way into the top-ten. However at the end of the second lap he retired with a technical issue.
With the data and information collected from the TT, the team will now start looking towards the Ulster GP, which takes place 5-11 August.