The bikes may be from the last century, but there's nothing dated about the recent performances from Avon-shod riders at the 2014 Bennetts 500 Classic TT, held on the Isle of Man.
Avon Tyres, based in Wiltshire, had a clean sweep of the top spots, with Ian Lougher on the Team Flitwick Paton taking the top step on the podium, Dan Cooper in second and Bruce Anstey in third. Anstey also took the Mike Hailwood Trophy for the top-placed single-cylinder two-valve bike.
The lead had passed from legend to legend, with John McGuinness, Ryan Farquhar and Michael Rutter all leading at one stage, before retiring from the race with mechanical woes.
All of the top riders were using Avon’s AM22 and AM26 Roadrider race tires at this year's event. These retro-styled tires use modern carcass constructions and tread compounds, giving 21st century levels of grip, stability and longevity – essential for the highest level of classic racing. Indeed, even the classic race bikes from BMW in Germany have been sporting Avon tires this year at races and on parade laps. Georg Meier's legendary 1939 TT winner, the Kompressor, was back at the Island proudly wearing Avon rubber on its rims.
One clear example of how well the Avons work is in the 2014 lap times. The Paton machines were lapping the Mountain course at 113mph in practice, with only a 500cc engine, and maximum tire widths of 110-section front and rear – narrower than the front tire on most modern commuting bikes.
After the highs of the weekend though, the Classic TT came back down to earth on Bank Holiday Monday, when all events were cancelled due to atrocious weather conditions. The revised schedule restarted on Tuesday 26 August.
The Manx Grand Prix, which celebrated its 90th anniversary last year, is part of the Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling, along with the Classic TT races. Practice started on Saturday 16 August, and the event finishes on Friday 29 August.
Bob Ulrich was named Modern Tire Dealer editor in August 2000. He joined the magazine in 1985 as assistant editor, and has been responsible for gathering statistical information for MTD's "Facts Issue" since 1993.