Ten-times TT winner Ian Lougher has the most lavish choice of machinery of any competitor here at the Classic TT - a pair of 500cc twin-cam, 12-valve, MV triples worth around £460,000 for tomorrow’s Senior race.
Both bikes are based on the factory MV Agustas of the 1960s. One is built by the Kay family’s MV Meccanica Verghera company in the West Midlands, and the other by the HRT firm in Italy. And it’s the Italian machine that the 54-year-old Lougher has chosen to ride in the Senior.
“Ian feels that the handling characteristics of the Italian bike are a bit better in the way that it turns into corners, and it pulls a a bit more strongly out of turns,” team mechanic Arran Macleod said.
The Chapman Racing team has had a trouble-free practice week compared to last year at the Classic TT, when their Italian MV holed a piston on its first practice lap. “This year we’ve got three laps in, and now we’re just working on gearing and carburettor.”
If tonight’s final Senior practice session is cancelled because of poor weather, this is one team that won’t care, because they feel they’re now ready to race. They’re also conscious of the need to preserve the engine over the demanding Mountain Circuit.
Lougher has used up to 11,500rpm in practice, but can go to 12,000rpm in the race. In historic racing there are no slipper clutches, but riders do get the benefit of a rev limiter, a luxury that riders in the classic era never had.
Lougher will upset the recent form book if he wins on the Chapman MV, for the Paton twins and the Kays’ Black Eagle Racing MVs, which are being raced by Michael Dunlop and Dean Harrison, are the favourites. TT legend Mick Grant is team manager for the Chapman squad, and there are other favourable signs in this paddock tent. All four of their bikes are still running, and an Ivan Lintin has clocked an amazing 156mph on their Honda RS250 on the Sulby Straight.
The team’s ambitions for the Senior are clear: “We want to win,” Macleod says, “but we’d also be happy to finish.”