Supersport TT seeds announced; machine changes add extra spice.

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The seeded riders for the two Supersport Races at TT 2024 have been announced. The race has many interesting sub-plots this year and should provide compulsive viewing for the spectators at the trackside.

The bird-scarer for the races is Northern Ireland’s Paul Jordan; he has moved from Prez Racing to the vastly experienced Jackson Racing Team this year. Their Hondas will be immaculately prepared and could power him into the top 6. Two times Privateers’ Champion Jamie Coward has the number 2 plate and is one of several top riders to have switched to Triumph for the event. Seventh fastest on all time class fastest laps list he will be an outside bet for a podium if he gels with the KTS Triumph.

It is all change for Dean Harrison this year; he has relinquished the 2 plate that he has had for some years, third fastest on the all time list; he is number 3 in the races this year. He has taken one of the works berths at Honda Racing and with more top end than he had on the Kawasaki he will be a strong contender to add to his one class win from 2018. Ian Hutchinson; a 7 times class winner and sixth fastest on the all time class list returns to the fray following last year’s enforced absence. He is reunited with the Padgetts’ Team for which he took the only 5-timer in 2010. Ian is one of the all time greats; but I think it is too much to expect him to be in the top 6 this year.

Another reuniting with a previous team is James Hillier, who returns to Bournemouth Kawasaki. James set the fastest Superbike lap ever by a Yamaha rider last year; he is a class act and will extract the best from the machine; but it may not have the pace to take him onto the podium. 25 times TT winner Michael Dunlop retains his favoured number 6. He has won the last 4 Supersport Races on his own Yamaha and holds the lap record at 130.604mph set in last year’s memorable second race. His move to ride a 675cc RS Triumph was unexpected given his success on the R6. He has won on the triumph already, at Bishopscourt, Co. Down. The duel with the similarly mounted Peter Hickman (130.219mph last year) should be enthralling and could be resolved by the pit stops.

Josh Brookes returns to the class for the fist time since 2018 on the Russell Racing Yamaha R6. Josh was quickly back on the pace last year in the Superbike and Lightweight Races and as a former BSB Supersport Champion has the ability to mix it with the established class leaders. Davey Todd provides the biggest unknown amongst the seeded riders. He left Padgett’s last year to join up with TAS for his Superbike rides. He has woken us from our slumber and spiced up the Supersport TTs by agreeing to ride a Ducati Panigale V2 for Powertoolmate Ducati. The booming bike has been the one to beat in the World Supersport races so far this season. If it can handle the bumps of the Mountain Course this rapid combination will be challenging for a win; Davey is 4th on all-time list (best Honda) at 128.699mph, set last year when he was recovering from the debilitating virus that he and team mate Conor Cummins picked up.

Craig Neve has developed into a fine rider and has the number 9 plate in recognition. He remains with the Batham’s Racing; this year he is equipped with a 675cc Triumph. He is followed by the similarly mounted Peter Hickman; the outright course lap record holder. Peter Hickman keeps his favoured number 10; on a familiar bike he may just start as favourite; but fractions will decide these races. We can expect the lap record to be raised; if the weather plays ball.

Conor Cummins is in the familiar Milenco by Padgett’s livery on his Honda. Conor’s height goes against him in this class; but he is well capable of gaining more top 6 places. Davo Johnson has the Platinum Club Racing Kawasaki this year; despite the machine’s lack of outright speed, he could make the top 10 at the flag. Lee Johnston (Ashcourt Triumph) has the number 13 plate; but it would be unrealistic to expect the past race winner to challenge this year; given his big crash at the NW200 last and further leg break this year in testing.

Double MGP Lightweight winner Mike Browne starts at 14 on the Russell Racing Yamaha. He is still learning his trade at the TT, but given his rate of progress to date he could easily slot into the top 10.  A past Classic Superbike TT and MGP winner Rob Hodson is also Yamaha mounted; for the SMT Vehicle recovery Team; he is another who would hope to make it into the top 10 given a fair wind.

Dom Herbertson has the Burrows Engineering team behind him; they will ensure that his Yamaha is on the pace. His best lap at over 125mph suggests that a top 10 could be possible. We then have 3 of the GSXR 750 Suzukis to add yet more interest to the race. Two times winner Gary Johnson will be looking for a change of luck on his NL Motorcycles machine. Shaun Anderson put up some performances last year and cracked the 130mph barrier on his Superbike. Given his progress; a top 10 should be possible in one of the races. James Hind exploded onto the scene with 2 wins in the MGP. In last year’s TT he had handling problems with his Suzuki Superbike; but took 6th after a fine ride in Supersport Race 1. He is a real class act and could achieve a similar finish if the new bike goes as hoped. Another dark horse goes at number 20. Double MGP winner Mikey Evans has switched from Honda to Triumph and with the Smith’s Team behind him must be looking to break into the top 10.

Away from the seeds; we have Nathan Harrison, Joe Yeardsley; Pierre-Yves Bian, Ryan Cringle, Joey Thompson and Marcus Simpson to watch out for.

In other news; it has been announced that ACU Events will run the TT for the next 10 meetings; up to and including 2033.