The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Race, for long considered the world's leading motor cycle event, is regaining the status it has lost over the past few years.
CU Riders on line and away at start of practice circuit
MCU number 58 K. Lilley starts
CU Pat Hennen of U.S.A. starts
MV Mick Grant, number 6, of Britain, around bend
MV Rider around bend
SCU Another rider around bend, down straight, and followed by Elmet Dahn of West Germany (2 shots)
CU Phil Read of Britain in pits
CU Mick Grant of britain walking in pits
MV Start of sidecar practice (2 shots)
MV Sidecars rounding bend at Braden Bridge (4 shots)
SPORT: MOTOR CYCLING
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Background: The Isle of Man Tourist Trophy Race, for long considered the world's leading motor cycle event, is regaining the status it has lost over the past few years. Riders have been practising this week for this year's meeting, which starts on Saturday (11 June).
SYNOPSIS: Many of the world's top riders had refused to race on the demanding 37-and-three-quarter mile (60 kilometres) mountain circuit, and the annual event had been striped of its world championship status. The riders had complained about the lack of safety features on the circuit, and the danger of racing fast modern machinery on public roads.
The major factory teams, which had withdrawn their support, have again decided to enter teams for this year's race, with Honda in particular keen to see their machines in action. And seven times world champion, Phil Read of Britain who had severely criticised the course, is racing again this year. He said medical facilities and the track itself had been greatly improved.
The winner of this year's Open Classic race will earn at least GBP5,000 (8,600 US dollars) and there is a total of GBP40,000 (68,000 US dollars) in prize-money spread over eight events, making the meeting one of the richest TT series ever.
The TT is still not a championship event, but the large amounts of money being poured into it by the Isle of Man Tourist Board and the decision by several top riders including Read to race there again, have enhanced its position.