John Chapman Racing are set for a busy campaign at next month’s Classic TT Races, presented by Bennetts, as they field three riders in three out of the four races on the UK Bank Holiday weekend schedule.
Ian Lougher will lead the Lincolnshire-based team on a 500cc MV Agusta in the Bennetts Senior Classic TT race and he will be joined on a similar machine by Joey Thompson, who makes his return to Mountain Course action.
Thompson will also ride a 350cc Honda in the Locate.im Junior Classic TT race as well as a 250cc RS Honda in the Dunlop Lightweight TT race. Completing the line up is local rider Dan Sayle who will make an emotional comeback, also on a 250cc RS Honda, after suffering serious injuries in the race twelve months ago.
Chapman, a staunch supporter of the Classic TT, enlisted the services of ten-time TT Race winner Lougher for the 2016 meeting and although he has been out of luck on the MV Agusta since, his has a proven record in both the Senior class and around the Mountain Course.
The Welshman, who took his 29th TT podium in this year’s TT Zero race, has been successful from the inaugural Classic TT of 2013 and has the joint highest number of podiums with six. He won the 2014 Senior race on a 500cc Paton lapping at 111.523mph and followed that up with a close second place a year later so if the teething problems with the MV can be overcome, he’s sure to be featuring prominently on the leaderboard.
York’s Thompson has been absent for much of 2019 and will be getting his first taste of the MV Agusta but he impressed greatly on his Senior Classic TT debut last year with tenth place and a lap of 103.362mph on a single cylinder Norton. He also took a fine fifth place and a near 112mph lap in the Lightweight Classic TT race on the same 250cc Honda he’ll ride this year.
Third team member Sayle returns to the Classic TT after crashing heavily at Ballaspur on the first lap of the Dunlop Lightweight race last year. The crash left him with serious injuries and there were doubts he’d ever race again but thankfully they haven’t come true and he’s returning this year to firmly lay the ghosts to rest.
The Sulby rider, eight times a TT winner as a sidecar passenger, has tremendous pedigree in the 250cc class and was running in second place to Bruce Anstey for the first half of the 2017 encounter. Having lapped at an excellent 117.740mph on the 250cc Yamaha he was riding that year, he was well on course for a second place finish until being forced to retire on the third lap.
That more than shows his potential and having previously campaigned a 250cc Honda at the Manx Grand Prix, winning the Lightweight race in both 2008 and 2009, he’ll certainly be one to watch and along with Thompson, the team have a great chance of success in the four-lap race.