Isle of Man TT history maker Ian Hutchinson will reunite with the Padgett’s Honda team he took a record-breaking five wins in 2010 this year, having battled back from adversity time and time again.
Hutchinson made TT history in 2010 when the then-three-time race winner went on a previously-unseen winning streak to take victory in both superbike, both supersport and the superstock race for veteran team boss Clive Padgett’s privateer team.
Since then though Hutchinson hasn’t had an easy time despite successful TT trips in 2015, 2016 and 2017 meaning he’s been able to up his total number of races won to 16.
He crashed during a British championship race at Silverstone only weeks after his exceptional 2010 TT and was struck by another bike, badly shattering his left leg in the process and starting a long path back to full fitness that saw him have to step back multiple times.
He was forced to ride a modified machine with the gear change on the right, not the left. Such was the severity of the damage, he was essentially taken out of competition for the next four years as he underwent repeated surgeries to try and not just repair but at times save his leg.
Bouncing back with eight wins in the following three years at the TT, that too came to an end when he crashed during the Senior TT in 2017, breaking his left femur and once again being forced into an extensive rehabilitation process.
Returning to action in 2018, he suffered poor TTs in both that year and the following one, with a string of technical problems meaning he rarely saw the chequered flag.
The 44-year-old was then hit with another setback in his plans to return to winning ways in 2020, when that year’s TT (and the following year’s) was cancelled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
After a lacklustre return to the Mountain Circuit in 2022, he was struck with yet more medical complications ahead of the 2023 event, when he suffered a stroke while cycling in Spain. Saved only by the quick intervention of close friend and British Superbike front runner Jason O’Halloran, it meant that he was again forced to miss a TT due to medical reasons.
However, he's now fully recovered and cleared once again to race, he says that he’s relishing the chance to reunite with the Padgett’s team and see what’s possible in 2024.
“I’m really pleased to be back with Clive and the team,” he said. “I think that the way that I work and the team works just fits right. Clive puts together a bike you know you can get on and ride fast straightaway.
“With injuries, COVID and missing last year, I don’t feel as though I’ve had a good run at the TT since 2017 and so it’s ideal to be with the team that can let me get the laps which is what I need.
“We’ve already been out testing in Spain and we’re back out again to Portugal and Spain in the next few weeks, plus we’ve plenty more track time in the run up to TT so I’m really looking forward to what 2024 can bring.”
“We’re absolutely delighted to have Ian back into the Padgett’s racing family,” team boss Clive Padgett added.
“We’ve a long, enjoyable and highly successful relationship that goes back many, many years and it’s an honour to be back working together again across all the classes.”
“He’s had one hell of a journey since that incredible year in 2010, but there is no denying the man’s determination and I don’t think you can ever rule him out of getting a top finish.
“I truly believe in him but regardless of the results, I think having him back with the team is just a fantastic story for the sport and for the TT.”
It remains to be seen who will line up alongside Hutchinson on the second Padgett’s Honda, with Manx native Conor Cummins initially expected to remain with the team for yet another season but some rumours suggest that he’s currently exploring other options for 2024.