The Black Eagle Racing Team had a very good year at the Classic TT in 2016.


Black Eagle Racing Team celebrate winning the Okells Classic TT in 2016

It was a very good year for the Black Eagle Racing Team in 2016


 

Dean Harrison sets the fastest time in practice

Dean Harrison sets the fastest time in practice

 

Sulby speed trap records fastest laps for two of the Black Eagle bikes

The Sulby speed trap records fastest laps for two of the Black Eagle bikes

The Black Eagle Racing Team celebrates successes in 2016

 

After a year of heady success in 2015, the team aimed high once again in 2016

 

The plan was to enter two riders, Dean Harrison and Lee Johnston in the Bennetts Senior, and Lee Johnston in the Okells Junior 350cc race, which he had won in record time in 2014. But, as we know, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.

 

Lee was not available to ride after having broken his collarbone during the Ulster Grand Prix qualifying sessions earlier in the year. This left a vacancy, into which Michael Dunlop fitted very well.

 

During the 500cc practice sessions, the team were disappointed when they had to withdraw Dunlop’s machine from the Senior battle after detonation problems caused a loss of compression on one cylinder.

This left Harrison alone to fly the Black Eagle flag in the senior race.

 

In a battle of attrition against the legendary John McGuinness, the early stages were nip and tuck, with fractions of a second between them. However, after a fuel stop, McGuinness forged ahead and Harrison was unable to catch him. Despite having set the fastest time in practice, Dean finished second, relinquishing his 2015 title to McGuinness. For the third year running, a Black Eagle MV was on the Classic TT podium.

 

And.... there's always next year....

 

For a full account of the 2016 Bennetts Senior Classic TT race, please click here

 

The Black Eagle Racing Team won a first place in the Okells Classic TT and a second in Bennetts Senior Classic

 

The Black Eagle Racing Team had a good year at the Classic TT in 2016, with a first place in the Okells Classic TT

Next came the Okells Junior Classic. Dunlop lapped at 102.567mph to head Friday’s 350cc qualifying.  He is known for is robust riding style, and clearly the team was pleased that their engineering proved equally rugged. But would the bike withstand a gruelling four laps of racing, under the guidance of someone, who by his own admission, was an imposing figure on the dimintive MV?

 

Well, the outcome could not have been better for the team. Dunlop rode the classic MV sensitively and with remarkable expertise, given that he had come so late to the party, and especially since he was used to riding so much faster and bigger bikes.

 

Near the end, his nearest rival, Michael Rutter had to be content to ride in Dunlop's wake, but for some time, they were neck and neck, much to the delight of the crowd.

 

Dunlop’s winning time of 1hr 27min 51.735s  beat Chris Palmer’s record from 2013 by almost a full minute,but was just short of Lee Johnston's record, set in 2014 on the same bike.

 

After his first Classic TT win away from the Superbike class, Dunlop said how much he had enjoyed riding the little MV.  “I didn’t think that anyone as fat as me could win a race like this. I’m delighted to do it for the Kay family. There are three generations here working on the bikes and they are a great team."

 

For a full account of the 2016 Okells Junior Classic TT race, please click here.

 

 

So what about 2017?

 

Well plans are afoot for more championship bids, but most significantly, the team are privileged to have been asked to take part in the anniversary celebrations of Bob McIntyre's first 100mph lap, set in 1957.

 

The team has built a beautiful, faithful replica of the Grand Prix Gilera four 500cc bike that McIntyre rode to victory so long ago. The Kays intend to both parade and race the Gilera. But the first objective will be to get it through practice and onto the grid for the 500cc race on the Saturday (August 26th 2017). 

 

For a full account of the Kays' quest to replicate this remarkabe achievement, please click here..

 

 

Michael Dunlop wins the Okells Classic TT in 2016

Michael Dunlop wins the 2016 Okells Junior Classic TT

The Black Eagle Racing Team won a first place in the 2016 Okells Classic TT and a second in the Bennetts Senior Classic

Michael Dunlop won a first place in the 2016 Okells Classic TT on an MV 350cc