The present Blackford’s Pre-TT Classic Road Races were born in 1988 with a four-race programme including Sidecars.
The first sidecar race over 8-laps of the Colas Billown Course, some 34.000 miles was won by Mark Kay and Richard Battisston on a MV Agusta outfit at an average race speed of 72.9000mph.
Since that initial race and a somewhat controversial win by the Italian marque, a total of 39 sidecar races have been run with 2,195 racing laps completed equal to 9,328.75 miles.
Emerging on top of the podium winner wise is Tadcaster’s Eddy Wright with nine race victories between 2006 and 2018. Eddy shares his nine wins with three passengers; Neil Wheatley 2-wins; Trevor Johnson 1, and Kieran Clarke with 6.
The effervescent Yorkshireman entered the Pre-TT Classic Races for the first time in 2006, but had previously race on the 4.25-mile course in the Southern 100 Road Races as far back as 1972, when on his debut on a BSA outfit with P Peart in the chair he finished eighth in his first race and bettered that with a seventh in the Sidecar Championship race won by John Watson and Brian Hoyle.
However, his Pre-TT Classic debut was less impressive, and he failed to start the race and 2007 was not a lot better, having started the race he failed to finish.
Third time lucky, as they say, Eddy and Martin Hull took the third podium place in 2008 as Nigh Houghton and Paul Thomas claimed the winner’s laurels with Dick Hawes and Tim Dixon second.
Twelve months later, with Neil Wheatley keeping the third wheel down (at times) the pairing stood on the top step of the Pre-TT Classic Podium for the first time. On their 1200 Windle Imp.
Absent in 2010 and 2011, the Wright / Wheatley crew again took the sidecar honours, this time on a 1170 Bella Imp in 2012.
A year out in 2013 and back in 2014 with Trevor Johnson in the chair and armed with a 750 Bella Morespeed BMW they were on the top step once again in the opening Sidecar race, although they were pipped to the post in the Camathias Cup Race by Wally Saunders and Eddy Kiff on a 980 MRE BMW.
Another change of passenger in 2015, Eddy and Kieran Clarke completed their first double winning both sidecar races with the aid of their 1000 Windle BMW.
Back again in 2016 the Yorkshire pair were second in the first race behind Vince Biggs and Vicky Cooke, reserving the roles in the second race.
Although entered in 2017 Eddy and Kieran were absent from the meeting.
2018 and Eddy Wright and Kieran Clarke were to prove dominant in both sidecar heats and the open final, bringing their tally of wins to nine.
Entered again in 2019, Eddy was advised by his doctor not to race as he was still recovering from a hernia operation and the bumps on the pure roads course would not have progressed his recovery in the right direction!
No doubt the long-time Yorkshire duo would have been lined up on the Castletown By-Pass endeavouring to add to their total number of race victories of nine so richly won to date.
Vince Biggs is second in the rankings with five wins, shared between two passengers, Phil Biggs (2) and Vicky Cook (3).
Geoff Hands is third with four victories, three with his wife Ruth and one with Andy Smith.
(Photo courtesy of Richard Radcliffe shows Eddy Wright and Kieran Clarke on their way to their ninth Sidecar Race win in 2018.)