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Isle of Man TT 2024: Five storylines that shaped the event

The 2024 Isle of Man TT has come to a close and will be remembered for the historic achievements of Michael Dunlop.

Michael Dunlop, Hawk Racing Honda

Coming into the 2024 event, Dunlop stood on the edge of greatness after notching up his 25th TT victory last year.

One more would see him match his late uncle Joey Dunlop. And he did just that in the first race of the week, going on to become the all-time number-one winner at the TT with 29 victories.

Dunlop did this in a fragmented week of racing as poor weather caused a major headache for the organisers. But of the 10 races scheduled, only one never got going.

There were maiden wins for Davey Todd and Sidecar duo Ryan and Callum Crowe, while Peter Hickman sliced off his own piece of history in a tougher-than-expected TT for the event’s poster boy of recent years.

As the dust settles, here are the five key storylines that shaped the 2024 Isle of Man TT.

1. Michael Dunlop becomes the undisputed King of the Mountain

Michael Dunlop, Hawk Racing Honda

Michael Dunlop, Hawk Racing Honda

Photo by: PaceMaker Press

Joey Dunlop’s record of 26 TT wins has stood since he won the Ultra-Lightweight race back in 2008 aged 48, just a few weeks before he was killed in a crash at an event in Estonia.

Since then, it had stood unmatched. At one stage, it seemed like John McGuinness would be the one to dethrone Joey Dunlop before his victory tally stalled at 23. It also seemed like Michael Dunlop would never reach the same heights as his legendary uncle.

Now he is the greatest of all time having surpassed Joey’s record of 26 to keep it in the family, with the benchmark now at 29 wins.

At 35, Michael Dunlop is riding better than ever, his prowess on the smaller bikes now being backed up by stunning form on the Superbikes. A cruel visor issue not of his own making denied him victory in the Superbike TT, while a mechanical issue ended his hopes on lap one of the Senior TT finale. His privately run Hondas in Superstock trim also proved no match for the factory-supported FHO and TAS Racing squads.

But with the competition he is having to face too, there can be little doubting Michael Dunlop’s credentials. Whether he or Joey can be considered the greatest TT racer of all time will be a debate raged in pubs long after Michael has called it quits.

Joey Dunlop won most of his races when he was over 35. The heights that Michael could scale to, then, pose a frightening thought.

2. Hickman matches a grand prix legend as he notches a half-century of starts

Peter Hickman

Peter Hickman

Photo by: iomtt.com

Peter Hickman has been the rider to beat at the TT on the big Superbike and Superstock bikes since 2018. But TT 2024 didn’t quite read to the same hymn sheet for the outright lap record holder.

A power deficit on his Triumph Supersport bike – to the tune of about 8mph – held him back in that class, while his Yamaha was no match for the Paton Dunlop rode to double victory in the Supertwin category.

He was dethroned in the Superstock class by Davey Todd and was looking on course for victory – and a new outright lap record – in the Senior TT before crashing out at Ginger Hall.

But Hickman’s form to that point in the Senior proved that the rider that has been so dominant on big bikes has lost none of his edge, while a win in the Superbike TT after issues for the leaders meant he matched grand prix legend Mike Hailwood’s career tally of 14.

3. Todd finally breaks his duck and joins ‘the big four’

Davey Todd

Davey Todd

Photo by: PaceMaker Press

Davey Todd has been knocking at the door of TT victory success for the last few years, but couldn’t quite get there in 2023 with the Padgetts Honda squad.

A switch to the TAS Racing BMW team, with whom he has been strong on short circuits in 2024 in the British Superstock Championship, has allowed Todd to make that next step.

Second in the Superbike TT on the BMW was a preview to a maiden victory in the only Superstock race of the week. A class well and truly owned by Hickman since 2018 (the year Todd made his TT debut), Hickman set his best lap in practice on that bike.

But Todd was the stronger of the BMW pair, beating Hickman by just 2.2s in a three-lap thriller. He then benefited from a crash for Peter Hickman in the Senior TT finale to dominate on his Superbike to bring his haul of wins to two.

Todd added podiums in the Supersport class aboard the Ducati Panigale V2, which he raced for the first time at TT 2024.

One of four riders setting 135mph laps in TT 2024, Todd is finally where he should be on the Isle of Man and will no doubt see his star rise further in the years to come.

4. Sidecar class gets a shake-up

Ryan Crowe, Callum Crowe

Ryan Crowe, Callum Crowe

Photo by: iomtt.com

The Sidecar class was blown open at the start of the year when Tom Birchall – a 14-time TT winner alongside his brother Ben – announced he would be retiring.

With Ben Birchall having to get up to speed with a new passenger in Kevin Rousseau, it opened the door coming into the 2024 TT for the Crowe brothers – driver Ryan and passenger Callum – to hunt down their first win.

That hope was only boosted as they posted a 119mph lap at the end of practice, while Birchall/Rousseau were forced to miss the first race for the class after smashing up their outfit in a crash at the Mountain Box in qualifying.

The Crowe brothers were utterly dominant in both Sidecar races, breaking into the 120mph barrier (just the second outfit in history to do so, after the Birchalls in 2023) and gave the Manx crowd their first home win since 2014.

Birchall/Rousseau managed a podium in the second Sidecar race, marking a good start to that partnership, while Peter Founds and Jevan Walmsley didn’t live up their pre-TT promise – finishing race one a distant second and not starting the second with engine issues.

Completing the podium in race two was Dave Molyneux, the 17-time TT winner getting a first podium since 2017 after a tough event that may well be the 60-year-old’s last.

5. Organisers do well to battle against the conditions

Rain delay

Rain delay

Photo by: PaceMaker Press

Last year’s Isle of Man TT was blessed with such good weather that anything other than a repeat in 2024 could be classed as a disappointment.

Tuesday’s practice was lost to poor weather, while the race week schedule was severely hampered by rain.

No racing took place on Tuesday, while only one did on Wednesday. Rain meant no racing could happen on Friday, forcing a three-race Saturday timetable and the outright cancellation of the Superstock 2 contest.

All in all, though, of the 10 races scheduled only one wasn’t run. Given the logistical headaches organisers face in running the TT, the fact almost all of the scheduled races were staged deserves immense credit.

While there will always be those who are unhappy with timetable changes and cancellations, organisers have to consider the local population, demands on riders and the marshals when deciding on any revisions.

Staging the TT will never be an easy task, but the organisers did as good a job as possible to ensure almost all racing could be held and fans weren’t disappointed.

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Previous article Isle of Man TT 2024: Todd wins dramatic Senior TT; Dunlop, Hickman DNF

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