Legendary Races Week: 1992 Senior TT

When the Isle of Man Post Office conducted a poll back in 2011 to discover which race the fans thought was the Greatest TT race of all time, the clear winner was the 1992 Senior TT, and for good reason. The six laps had everything – record breaking speeds, drama, and nail-bitingly close racing with some of the best-known names in motorcycle racing history.

Steve Hislop, the Scot who eventually made the Island his home, was aboard the Norton NRS588, aka The White Charger, while Carl Fogarty contested on the Loctite Yamaha OW01. Although these were unfamiliar bikes to both riders, the spectacle that unfolded was in no way affected. Fogarty and Hislop both had spells leading the race, and between them set a record lap of the course and the fastest ever speed.

Talking about the race, Hislop recalled setting off with a determination to win, but rather than go flat out aggressive, he decided to change his tactics and settle quicker – aiming to improve speeds by riding more smoothly and improving on his braking points. At the end of lap one though, it was Fogarty who had the early lead of 1.2 seconds. Completing the top 3, Robert Dunlop was just 3.4 seconds down. All three had lapped at over 121mph.

Over the course of the second lap, Steve had the edge, leading Carl by 2.8 seconds. Dunlop held 3rd but was already some 15 seconds down. In the pits at the end of the second lap, Hislop’s rear tyre was changed, meaning that he would have good fresh rubber to last the remaining four laps, and hopefully give him the edge should the later laps become close. Setting out from the pits, Hislop knew he had time to pull back, and as they completed the third lap he was just one second behind Fogarty. Dunlop remained in 3rd.

By Christof Berger – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=219313

Having maintained his approach with the riding style and braking, Steve pulled the lead back and by the end of lap 4 had a 7.4 second advantage. The fifth lap played out in much the same way, and this was the first lap that the lead didn’t change. At the end of the lap, the gap between first and second was just 5.4 seconds. Whilst brother joey had retired during the previous lap, Robert Dunlop still held the third place.

It was now the final lap, and Foggy knew he had to pull something special out of the bag. He found a blistering pace, setting a new absolute lap record of 18 minutes 18.8 seconds (3 seconds under the old one). That equated to a speed of 123.61 mph, but even that just wasn’t enough. Hislop was as close as he could be on the final lap – also inside the old record and just one second slower. Giving Norton their first TT win in just under 20 years, and their first Senior since 1961 Steve Hislop and the White Charger, topped off with the familiar pink, white and blue helmet, took the win by 4.4 seconds.

It was a record-breaking race in many ways – the previous race record had been held by Hislop on the RVF at 121.09mph, 1hr 52mins 10.2 seconds. It was broken by the same rider on his Norton mount, with a new record of 121.28mph in one hour 51mins 59.6 seconds. It surely must have been some consolation to Fogarty that he broke the previous lap record held by Hislop (18 minutes, 21.8 seconds, 123.27mph) with his 18mins, 18.8 seconds, 123.61mph lap – not just a new lap record but an absolute record.

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