Honda take six Isle of Man TT Victories
20 June 2000
Isle of Man TT Races - June 3 - 9, 2000. The 2000 running of the Isle of Man TT races ended with Honda taking six race victories during festival week - including the prestigious TT-Formula 1 event. Throughout the week, Honda's legendary Joey Dunlop, the racer's racer, was a dominant force. The TT-Formula 1 race had been in Honda's hands for 17 years until Yamaha's David Jefferies ended their run with a 15-second victory over Joey Dunlop last year. On that occasion Dunlop raced an RC45. This year, he went head-to-head with the Yamahas, racing the RC51 (VTR1000SP-1) equipped with an SP-W engine supplied by the Honda World Superbike team. The big V-twin made it's TT debut, and some debut it was. Dunlop lead the six lap, 364.326km race from start to finish, winning by almost a one minute from Michael Rutter (Yamaha) and John McGuinness on a second Honda VTR. Dunlop's lead was only briefly threatened. David Jefferies (Yamaha) and Dunlop were virtually tied on time at the pit stop but the Honda crew rewarded Dunlop with six seconds at the stop, and he raced away to win as Jefferies suffered a technical problem late in the race. It was Dunlop's 24th TT victory in a 31-year career. The 48-year-old veteran from Ballymoney, Northern Ireland said. "I never thought I'd win another Formula 1 race but I've never had a bike this good. It's the first time I've been on a V-twin in this race and the VTR is the best bike I've ever ridden." Rob Fisher and Rick Long emulated Dunlop's performance with a start-to-finish win in the Sidecar 'A' Race on the same day. The pair powered their Honda CBR600-engined Baker outfit home, one minute ahead of the Horsepole - Leigh Yamaha team. Dunlop was again the master on Monday when he again led every step of the way to win the three-lap Lightweight (250cc) TT. He led fellow countryman John McGuinness by seven seconds at the end of lap one, 35 at the end of lap two and increased that to over a minute at the finish flag. It was Dunlop's eighth Lightweight TT victory. "The machine was brilliant, the best I've ever had a 250 machine run round the TT course," said Dunlop. "I had a lot of trouble setting the machine up I practice but it ran like a dream in the race." Fisher and Long won the Sidecar 'B' race on Monday to complete the double. This time they were gifted the win when rivals Ian Bell and passenger Neil Carpenter stopped on the final lap while leading the Honda pairing by nine seconds. Fisher and Long went on to win, by over a minute from the Yamaha outfits of Stephen Norbury - Andy Smith and Geoff Bell - Ian Hallam. The Supersport 400 race also fell to Honda on Monday. New Zealander Brett Richmond was awarded the race after finishing second to Yamaha's Geoff McMullen. McMullan's Yamaha was found to be oversize and he was excluded from the race results. Originally just 17 seconds behind McMullan at the finish, Richmond said of his victory, "It's great news. Not the ideal way to win a TT but I'll take it. I had a good feeling I could be in the top three after practice and once the race got underway I was confident I could win." Wednesday saw Dunlop completing his hat-trick of TT 200 race wins with a victory in the four lap Ultra-Lightweight (125c) race. Another start-to-finish win, this time from Denis McCullough by 16 seconds. Joey's younger brother Robert finished third. Joey led by as much as 28 seconds at one point in the race but McCullough fought back to reduce that to 21 as they started their last lap. The event was dominated by Honda RS125R production racing machines - the top ten men to finish all raced RS125R's.