Ask the layman to name a TT hero from the Isle of Man and you’ll likely hear one of two names: Dunlop or McGuinness. But while Joey Dunlop, John McGuinness and Michael Dunlop occupy places one, two and three in the list of all-time winners of perhaps the scariest motor racing in the world, none have won all five races in a week of TT.
This achievement belongs only to Ian Hutchinson and a famous week in 2010. Although maybe not as famous as it should be. If you’ve seen the TT movie, Closer to the edge, it is a sub-plot playing the second violin of “the story of Guy Martin”. As cameras follow Martin’s tousled hair and confused timing in the paddock, Hutchy is writing TT history almost in the background. Guy has never won a TT. Ian won 16.
And he might have had a lot more trophies – and surpassed McGuinness and at least one Dunlop on this list of winners – if it hadn’t been for an accident just a few months after tearing TT record books that almost cost him a leg. It happened at Silverstone on the supposed safety of a circuit rather than in the wild west of road racing. He made a miraculous recovery, but a string of injuries followed and although he racked up more TT wins, Hutchy never returned to his scintillating best five in a week.
“It would be easier to pack your bags!” He told us in 2018 when he scared us mindlessly behind the wheel of a Civic Type R around Snaefell Mountain in sixth gear, his leg fresh out of a cage. “But if you pack your bags, then that’s it; you never go around the Isle of Man like that again.
“Accumulation here is a bit like going on a roller coaster; you’re sitting in the chair, strapped in, and you don’t know why you’re doing it again. But as soon as you go, it’s a different story.
“When you’re in the paddock and the race is about to start you think there must be easier ways to make a living. You think of all the things that can go wrong. Then as soon as you walk down Bray Hill you love to cycle and it all comes out the window. You are no longer nervous because you are in control. You know what you are doing, except for anything that is not in your hands. Which can happen anywhere in life, right?
It certainly happened to Hutchy …