BBC Sport motorsport


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 07:11 GMT, Thursday, 4 June 2009 08:11 UK

McCallen's view

By Phillip McCallen

Phillip MCCallen
Phillip McCallen on board the RC45 Honda on which he won the TT

The Isle of Man TT remains the ultimate challenge for any road racer and the notorious 37.73-mile Mountain Course offers something unique in the world of motorcycle racing.

I have returned this year to play my part as Honda celebrate 50 years of competing at world championship level and you still feel that buzz as soon as you arrive on the island.

It is the most famous road race in the world and it's where Honda really made their name, so it still holds a special place in the affections of all involved with the Japanese factory.

They know that success on the Isle of Man benefits the sale of motorcycles and most of the top TT names, including Joey Dunlop, Steve Hislop, Carl Fogarty and John McGuinness, have competed in their colours over the years.

I won 11 races there between 1992 and 1997, including four successes in a week in 1996, and those victories were among the best moments of my career.

The TT course offers the rider a bit of everything - fast corners, slow corners, flowing sections and hard braking - a real combination which provides the ultimate challenge of man and machine.

The riders start individually, as opposed to a mass start, and the unpredictability of the pitstops adds another interesting factor into the equation.

I didn't have any favourite parts of the circuit when I was racing as you are then tempted to go faster on the bits that suit you and slower on the sections you don't like.

It's really satisfying when everything comes together and you stand at the top of that podium.

First of all, the bike has to be competitive, but the rider has to be mentally and physically fit to race and concentrate for 226 miles, plus you also need a good team of people round you.

The lap records and race records are rising all the time and there is a lot of excitement surrounding the event again

You need your share of luck as well as a lot of things can go wrong - you are only as good as your bike and your hopes depend entirely on your machine keeping going until the end of the race.

The atmosphere is always fantastic throughout the fortnight although when I was racing I was always very aware that I was at work and had a job to do.

Everyone there is mad keen on motorcycles and racing so they all have that in common and think along the same lines.

The profile of the event has really been boosted in recent years and the organisers have managed to resurrect its fortunes by attracting some really good new road racing talent.

It looked like the races were going into decline four or five years ago but the lap records and race records are rising all the time and there is a lot of excitement surrounding the event again.

The likes of Guy Martin, Cameron Donald, Bruce Anstey and Steve Plater have made up ground on McGuinness in recent years and I expect them to give him a hard time this year.

The Hondas, Suzukis and Yamahas all have a chance of winning so whoever wins a race this year will have earned it.

Among the Northern Ireland lads, Ryan Farquhar is capable of winning and should be a threat.

Michael Dunlop will go well too and could surprise everyone by winning one of the Supersport races.

Phillip McCallen was talking to BBC Sport NI's Richard Petrie

Print Sponsor

see also
Quartet spearhead NI TT challenge
30 May 09 |  Motorsport
Team talk
31 May 09 |  MotoGP
Steve Parrish's column
28 May 08 |  Motorsport

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.