No rider seemed to achieve so much in a relatively short TT career than
David Jefferies. In 1999, Jefferies broke the Honda's TT strangle hold taking a
hat-trick of wins on the V&M Yamaha. In 2000, he added another hat-trick of
wins which included the first lap at over 125mph, again on the Yamaha.
After the year of Foot and Mouth, Jefferies returned to the island in
2002 to break more records and win more races. This time Jefferies was to ride
the all new Suzuki GSX-R1000. The bike was reportedly very quick, but had no TT
pedigree. Infact Suzuki hadn't much TT pedigree for some time, not since the
days of Graeme Crosby some 20 years before. Question marks remained over the
bikes reliability despite a full week's worth of practice.
In the first race of the week, the TT Formula 1, Jefferies set out at a pace
that no other rider could match. Jefferies relentlessly posted the fastest ever
times around the TT course building up an advantage over John McGuiness and Jim
Moodie. A new record lap speed of 126.68mph helped Jefferies to more than a
minutes advantage over the chasing riders.
However, the TT always has it's
fair share of dramas, and what seemed like a cake walk for the new hero of the
TT became an anxious last lap. Exiting Ramsey Hairpin for the 6th and final
time, the Suzuki stuck fast in 3rd gear. Jefferies had 12 miles left to race
over what is one of the fastest sections of the TT course. In what must of felt
like an eternity, Jefferies coaxed his bike home safely. His mastery of the TT
course and his pure speed during those first laps gifted Jefferies enough time
to take victory - the final margin was still a healthy 36 seconds. Jefferies
bossed around the big Suzuki in spectacular style. His dominance continued
throughout TT week, taking victories in the Production 1000 and the Senior,
becoming the only rider to score a hat-trick of hat-tricks and setting a new
outright lap record speed of over 127mph. The likable Yorkshireman had proved
himself to be one of the all time TT greats.