At last, Dave Kay's dream has come true. The Black Eagle Racing Team won the 2015 Classic TT 500


A dream come true -

a win at the 2015 Classic TT 500

Extracted from an article first published by Classic Racer in September 2015

You have to turn the clock back to 1972 for the last time two MVs finished on the podium in the Isle of Man. On that occasion it was a one-two for Giacomo Agostini and Alberto Pagani in what was to be the last appearance of the factory Agustas on the Mountain Course.

Four decades on, Dean Harrison and Lee Johnston rode the Kay family’s Black Eagle Racing triples in the 500cc Classic TT. They were split by the Paton twin of Ian Lougher, who kicked himself for a second successive pit lane speeding penalty.

‘Mint, I’m over the moon,’ said ever-cheerful Yorkshireman Harrison at the finish, while the similarly chatty Ulsterman questioned why anyone would want to let a couple of ‘muppets’ like he and Dean loose on an MV over the Mountain Course? Both machines finished with identical oil leaks from the right-hand crankcase, but other than that, they ran faultlessly. Johnston stalled his triple seconds before the start, losing him a bit of time on the initial stretch to Glen Helen, where John McGuiness led by a solitary second from Ryan Farquhar on the other Winfield Paton.

Dean Harrison leads in the 2015 Classic TT 500


Dean Harrison leads



Lee Johnston , third placed in the 2015 Classic TT 500


Harrison was third, at another four seconds, followed by Lougher, Johnston and Michael Dunop, who had likened the vibrations from his Molnar Manx Norton to that of a washing machine as he warmed the bike up on Glencrutchery Road


His brother William was an early retirement on the Honda K4, along with Maria Costello on Peter Breugger’s Paton at Appledene with a broken fuse. The Patons of Lougher and Farquhar were quickest through the speed trap at Sulby Strait at 146.8 and 145.6mph respectively, but their races were almost over.


McGuiness pulled up at Parliament Square when the retaining bolts in the front disc loosened off and the disc starting sawing into the fork leg. It was his third lap-one retirement in as many attempts at the Classic TT on the Paton. Farquhar’s near identical Paton stopped a few yards later on Albert Road. Harrison immediately jumped into a nine-second lead over Lougher at the Hairpin, with Johnson up to third at another four seconds.


A standing start lap of 110.463mph gave Harrison an initial advantage of almost 16s over Lougher, with Johnson another 2.5s back in third. All three lapped in under 21 minutes.




Lougher went for an early splash and dash fuel stop, but for the second year in succession he was slapped with a 30-second penalty for exceeding the 60kph limit on the exit to the pit lane. This and the fuel stop combines dropped him to eighth place at Glen Helen on lap two. Michael Dunlop moved up to third, 27s down on fellow countryman Johnston, with Danny Webb and Alan Oversby also benefiting from Lougher’s error. Dan Cooper was dropping down the order and stopped one mile later ar Cronk-y-Voddy. Keith Amor, 12th, had stopped at the pits with fuel leaking out of the tank onto his legs, but later said that he only continued for bike owner Tony Dunnell’s sake as he wanted to get him a finish.


Close behind, James Cowton, 14th, also stopped at the pits on the D&M Honda, but did not continue. Dunlop was pushing hard on the four-valve Molnar Manx, but making no impression on the leading MVs at Ramsey. Harrison and Johnston both lapped in excess of 110mph on lap two and the gap between first and second was nearly 18s at half-distance. But the MVs needed to stop for fuel, with Dunlop sailing straight down on Glencrutchery Road on the less thirsty Norton to jump into a brief lead.

Harrison had gained a three-second advantage at Glen Helen on lap three, with Dunlop 14s up on Johnston.


Dean Harrison leads in the 2015 Classic TT 500




Dean Harrison leads in the 2015 Classic TT 500


Lougher had already made his way back up to fourth. Olie Linsdell retired the Royal Enfield from ninth place at the pits, while Mark Herbertson dropped out of 10th spot at Quarter Bridge. It was rapidly turning into another race of attrition, even at the top end of the field.


Next to go was Alan Oversby in seventh, with clutch problems on the Davies Motorsport Honda. With one lap to go Lougher was back up to second place, 25s down on Harriso and one fifth of a second in front of Dunlop, who was on a no-stop strategy with the Norton.


Danny Webb stopped the second of Andy Molnar’s bikes at the pits, to make it 29 retirements by three-quarters distance. Johnston was back in front of Dunlop with half a lap to go, while leader Harrison was still holding Lougher at bay up ahead. A light shower of rain swept in across the tops of the course, where Dunlop was reported as stopped at the end of the Mountain Mile. It was the end of a gallant effort on the leading single.


Harrison powered down through Hillberry and Cronk-ny-Mona for the final time with plenty in hand. At the line he was 26.8s ahead of Lougher on corrected timing to claim his first 500cc Classic TT victory.



“I was a bit wary of the tyres to begin with,” said the Bradfordian. “I saw both McGuiness and Farquhar stopped at Ramsey on the first lap. I caught Lougher on the climb. He re-passed me but i got him back again before the end of the lap. I never saw him again.” “I was told at my pit stop that I had a 21 second laed. The bike never missed a beat. David and Mark Kay did a terrific job with it.” He was unaware Lougher could possibly have won the race without the 30 second penalty. Lougher was gutted with his repeat mistake. In 2014 he had made all the time back up to go on to win the race, but there was no such luck for the 52-year-old Welshman on this occasion. “I am really sorry for the Linsdell and Cabassi families, as I know how fantastic their preparation is. The bike was faultless. There are no pit lane limiters on these machines and I thought I was slow out of the pits.”


Lee Johnston, in third, also finished with oil on his boots, similar to team-mate Harrison. “I’m a bit of a poof when it comes to oil and I backed off,” said the Ulsterman. “The bikes are hand-built so you have to expect a bit of oil here and there.”


James Coward’s Craven Norton was the first British single behind the three Italian multis. finishing a fraction over 10s in front of fellow Yorkshireman Chris Swallow on Dave Keanah’s machine. Keith Amor’s persistence paid off, enabling him to present Tony Dunnell with a top-six finish on his Manx.


Lee Johnston finishes third in the 2015 Classic TT 500


Lee Johnston finishes third




For the winner of the 2015 Classic TT 500




The best privateer was serial Mountain Course finisher Dave Madsen-Mygdal in seventh spot on the Team Gimbert Honda four. Ivan Lintin’s Classic TT debut resulted in eighth place on Brian Richards’s Seeley, with veteran campaigner Wattie Brown making a welcome comeback in ninth on his Norton, the best privateer single. Phil McGurk believes his 10th place may include the fastest lap by a BSA Gold Star to finish on the Mountain Course. He lapped at 99.056mph on David Hardman’s Goldie on lap two.


The Black Eagle Racing Team won the 2015 Classic TT 500

The Kay dream has came true. Dean Harrison wins the 2015 Classic TT 500