Several of the most promising riders to have taken part in the Manx Grand Prix Races in recent years, will this year be making the step up to the TT for the first time. 2004 Manx Grand Prix winners Davy Morgan and Dean Silvester will be joined by up and coming stars Keith Stewart, Ken Doherty and Hayden Fitzgerald on the 2005 TT entry lists.
Thirty three year old Davy Morgan from Saintfield in Northern Ireland has been contesting the Manx Grand Prix since 2000 finishing on the podium on an amazing four occasions. He finally tasted victory winning the 2004 Senior Race where he lapped the circuit at an impressive 120.68mph. One of Ireland's best and most consistent road racers, Davy is no stranger to the TT, having contested the old Production Races three times with a best result of eleventh, and he will be looking to feature in the top ten in all his races at TT 2005.
Twenty-nine year old Dean Silvester from Stanstead in England won the 2004 Junior Manx Grand Prix Race having made his debut at the event in 2000. Dean has lapped the circuit at 119.85mph on his 600cc Yamaha machine and having contested three Production TT's in recent years, gaining a best finish of eighteenth, he can be expected to perform well at TT 2005, and will be looking to break into the top ten, especially in the Supersport class.
Keith Stewart is thirty-four and comes from Crumlin in Northern Ireland. Stewart made his Mountain Circuit debut last year winning first time out in the Newcomers Manx Grand Prix Race. An experienced competitor in Ireland who has scored impressive results at the North West 200 and Ulster Grand Prix in recent years, Keith will be a welcome addition to the TT entry and will be looking to improve upon his fastest lap time so far of 111.88mph.
Ken Doherty of Tallaght in Southern Ireland is one of TT regular John Donnan's teamsters and he made an impressive debut at last years Manx Grand Prix. The twenty nine year old lapped the circuit at 115.95mph in the Senior Race on his way to seventh place, which came on top of his fourth in the Newcomers Race and eleventh in the Junior event. One of Ireland's best up and coming riders, Doherty will join team boss Donnan and team mate Raymond Porter in a three-pronged assault on this year's TT with all three riders expected to feature strongly.
Hayden Fitzgerald comes all the way from New Plymouth in New Zealand and is aged just twenty years old. A Motorcycling New Zealand High Performance Squad member, Hayden took part in the 2004 Manx Grand Prix finishing eighth in the Newcomers Race and a more than impressive sixteenth in the Senior event on board a 600cc Kawasaki lapping the circuit at 112.54mph. He makes the step up to the TT for 2005 concentrating on the Supersport class whilst he continues to learn the circuit, hoping to one day emulate the feats of countrymen Bruce Anstey and Shaun Harris by winning a TT Race.
Commenting on the riders stepping up to the TT from the Manx Grand Prix, TT Team and Rider Liaison Officer Richard 'Milky' Quayle, himself a former double Manx Grand Prix winner said:
"We are delighted to see these five riders making the move to the TT. We need these sorts of riders to come in and strengthen the TT entry, whilst they continue to learn their craft. They have all proved that they are fast enough for the TT where they will get more track time and improve quicker than they might do at the Manx. All five of the lads are smooth riders who prepare well and ride good machinery, which is just the type of rider we want to see at the TT. I'm sure all of them will go on to enjoy very successful careers racing at the TT and I'll be here to help them as much as I can."
David Cretney MHK, Minister for the Isle of Man Department of Tourism and Leisure added:
"The Manx Grand Prix continues to be a vital stepping stone to the TT for a great many riders and it is encouraging to see such quality coming through the ranks. With the new organisation structure we now have in place, hopefully we can help some of the better riders make the step up to the TT at the right time which will be better for both events in the long run. Having someone like Milky involved now, we will also be able to help these riders develop their skills around the Mountain Circuit in the years ahead."