After more than two decades running his own DMR chassis, TT legend Dave Molyneux admits it’s a case of ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ for his 2019 campaign as he switches to an LCR chassis for the first time.
The Manxman currently has 17 wins around the Mountain Course, which not only makes him the most successful sidecar driver ever but also the fourth most successful competitor ever behind Joey Dunlop, John McGuinness and Michael Dunlop. But it was in 2014 that he last tasted victory and with only two podiums from his last seven races, he’s keen to rectify that this time around.
“The TT is my life but some years are good and some are not so good and with my recent ones being the latter, I felt I needed to make changes. It’s always a challenge to compete at the highest level but I’m fit, I’m happy and I’m ready for the year ahead.”
“Switching to the LCR is a challenge in itself but it was clear my own DMR bike wasn’t developing fast enough to keep up and whilst I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong on the driving front, I felt it would be a good decision to get hold of the outfit that was outperforming mine. We got the bike last August so have had a decent amount of time to look at it and get it on track and from the first lap I did on it at Jurby last year, I knew straightaway what advantages it had.”
“The chassis works so well particularly with grip and corner exit and also coping with the bumps. I was 10mph down through the speed traps last year and I can see now why that was as the LCR is clearly a highly developed bike that does everything well. With the R6 engine – which I’m surprised not more drivers use as its dominant in World Supersport – we’ve got a really good package in place for 2019.”
“I feel that I’m capable of getting back to winning ways and, on hindsight, I’d probably taken the DMR as far as it could go. I got the lap record in 2015 after a last lap battle with Ben and Tom and really pushed to the limit. I think that was possibly beyond the bikes capabilities and no matter engine we’d have used, we wouldn’t have gone any quicker than that.”
Another challenge for Molyneux, who recently turned 55, is a new passenger in the form of Harry Payne. He only made his TT debut last year but lapped in excess of 109mph with Michael Jackson and Molyneux is convinced he has what it takes to be a top flight passenger around the Mountain Course.
“As a driver, the physical requirements are slightly different to that of a passenger but it’s clear now the passenger has to be an elite athlete – you only have to look at Tom Birchall and see what he’s doing to see that. Harry’s got the talent to win a TT, I’ve no doubt about that. He’s put in so much work both from a physical point of view but also from a mental point of view. He’s moved to the island to dedicate himself to the TT and I believe he’s more than ready.”
2019 is also a landmark year for Molyneux as it’s exactly 30 years since he won his first ever TT, taking victory with the late Colin Hardman in the opening race of 1989 and he’s opted to run the same number seven plate this year as he did then and also revert to a red, white and blue colour scheme.
“I thought it would be quite good to do what I did in 1989 and there’s a bit of a ploy for me switching to number seven and starting that bit further back. Going off at the head of the pack can present its own problems but starting at seven will be good for me.”
“The results have suffered a bit these past couple of years but I’ve got some good sponsors around me and we’ve put together a good package this year. I want to get back to being competitive and challenge for the podiums again and, ideally, the win but also enjoy my racing in 2019.”