TT legend Anstey plans to ride again in 2022

| | TT and Roads
Picture: Impact Images

Bruce Anstey, one of road racing’s all time greats, is planning a comeback to coincide with the return of racing in the Isle of Man next year. And his principal target is the 2022 Classic TT.

New Zealander Anstey, now 52 years old and living with his wife Anny in Northern Ireland, is recognised for achieving a multiplicity of wins and lap records at the Isle of Man, the Ulster GP and the North West 200.

The knowledge that these took place while fighting a 25-year battle against cancer is viewed with awe as an achievement unmatched by any other rider or sportsman of any description.

His intention to return to racing became public when talking to old friends at the recent Cookstown 100 and recorded in an interview with BBC Northern Ireland: “I don’t know if I’ll do the main TT again as I don’t think I’m strong enough to do six laps.

“But I really want to to get out in the Classic TT again - maybe do the 500 and 250 races - that’s my goal and hopefully that will happen in 2022. I definitely want to do the Classic TT and maybe some other bits and pieces in between. I’m just glad to be here and plan to get out there, enjoy life and have as much fun as possible.

“It was great to be at the Cookstown. I hadn’t been at a bikes meeting since 2019 so it was good to meet some old friends. Everybody is so friendly and it was nice to have a chat with everyone . It’s been such a long time with Covid and everything.”

The highlight of Anstey’s racing CV, which includes 12 IoM wins, 13 Ulster GP and 10 North West 200, might well have been winning the 250cc lightweight race at 2019 Classic TT when, after reaching his half century in years and improving health, he came back after missing the 2018 season. But then followed a two year gap with the cancellation of races due to the pandemic.

The prospect of seeing this great man lining up on the the Glencrutchery Road for the Classic TT will be of great encouragement to loyal fans who are still waiting for an announcement from the newly elected Manx Government as to the future of the Classic, format, timetable etc.

Discussions are ongoing concerning it and the Manx Grand Prix. IoM Motorsport Development Manager Paul Phillips told that good progress was being made on the proposals for radical change affecting all events and particularly the TT, ranging from paddock area improvements to major changes in broadcasting, announced earlier in the year but further announcements would be made later in the year.

Reassuringly he also said he expected there would be racing on the Island in August. And more assuring news for the fans came when Clive Padgett, long time sponsor of Anstey, hearing his plans when they met at the recent Goodwood Revival meeting made the following promise: “Bruce, if you want to go racing whether it be next year or five years, we will supply you with bikes. You are one of the family.”