Dave Molyneux, the most experienced driver in the TT paddock, has signed up a
Mountain Course novice for next year’s event.
After Dan Sayle recently announced that he would not be racing alongside the 17-time winner in 2017, Molyneux has recruited a complete first-timer to accompany him on an all-new Yamaha-powered outfit.
Moly, who celebrated his 53rd birthday last week, is to ride with 24-year-old Harry Payne, originally from Essex, who moved across to the island in August of this year.
Payne was set to make his debut this year with experienced campaigner Dave Wallace, but his entry was declined as he qualified for his Mountain Course licence one month after the cut-off.
‘I’ve studied the TT for years,’ said Harry, yesterday. ‘I have been coming over to the event to spectate since 2006 and I worked hard to prepare myself this year prior to my entry being turned down.
‘I made about 20 visits to the island as my girlfriend lives here, so I did a lot of work familiarising myself with the course.
‘Now I’m living in Ramsey and working in Douglas as a diesel mechanic, so I am driving over the mountain every morning and returning home via Ballacraine and Ballaugh, so I’m completing a lap every day.’
Molyneux has raced with 12 different passengers in his 31-year association with the TT (winning with eight of them), but he has no qualms about racing alongside a TT rookie next year.
Payne started off in the rough and tumble sport of sidecar motocross, switching to road racing in 2015 when he raced alongside several different drivers in the BEMSEE series.
He attained British championship level by the end of the season when with the aforementioned Wallace. They also had a couple of wins at Scarborough earlier this year, when they were close to Moly’s lap record, so Harry has had some experience of racing on roads.
At the end of the current season, Payne partnered TT runner-up Alan Founds in the F2 British championship race at Brands when they were also within one second of Molyneux and Sayle’s long-course lap record from the end of 2015.
‘Harry is mad keen to do the TT. He’s the right build. the right weight and, for a passenger, the right age. It’s very physical in the chair these days, especially round the Mountain Course.’ Adds Moly.
‘I did approach Lee Cain as I heard he had split from Karl Bennett, but he has signed up to go with John Holden next year.’
Moly has never shirked a challenge and he also has a completely new outfit as well as a first-time TT passenger to get used to.
He hasn’t raced a Yamaha since 1996, but is confident that the R6 will go well for him.
The sidecar king has stability with his regular team of backers behind him, notably Andy Faragher of A&J Builders and Contractors, Rob Brew of CBG, plus a link-up with Yamaha UK.