Isle of Man & Honda

Both the races on Man and the brand Honda belong to my personal favorites. Unnecessary to say that the last motorcycle stamp issue of that island had my special interest. To celebrate the 50 years of Honda participation in the TT-races a number of special collector items was developed.

Early Honda presence in Manx-TT
Early Honda presence in Manx-TT

This is how it happened 50 years ago

First of course the stamps:

Man - stamp sheets for 50 years Honda in Manx-TT

Sheet margin Man
Example of the sheet upper margin

On the 32p stamp Naomi Taniguchi, the first WC-rider for Honda in 1959. On the 33p stamp Mike ‘the bike’ Hailwood, 14 times TT winner. The stamp of 56p shows a relatively unknown rider, Alex George. It was him who won the Formula 1-TT and the Classic-TT in 1979 for Honda. Joey Dunlop, the most successful rider ever in the TT races (26 victories), is on the stamp of 62p. The stamp valued 90p shows us the legendary Steve Hislop. Eleven times Steve did concur the TT trophy. £ 1.77 is the fastest man on the Mountain Circuit at this moment, 14 times TT winner John Mc Guinness. This man already sharpened the record in 2007 up to a legendary 130.35 mph, and sharpened it again 2 times this year. Further on more about that. On the sheets in the upper margin are a winners wreath and the name of the rider shown on the stamp.
On the FDC in the illustration of course the Irishman Joey Dunlop, and in the cancel the Honda motorcycle logo.

FDC Man - 50 years Honda in Manx-TT

Of course there is also a presentation pack, but there is nothing special to tell about that, except that there is a nice picture on it from the first year of Honda participation.

As usual nowadays also a special collectors item has been made. This time it is a large size (like the size of an old-fashioned LP record) folder with the six sheet upper margins inside, the story of Honda in the TT-races and a specially made coin.

Man - folder with coin for 50 years Honda in Manx-TT

Of this folder only 500 pieces have been issued worldwide and all were sold out before the date of issue. By the way the coin is also available loosely, so without the folder.

McGuinness was very honored with this coin of which he was asked to strike the first one. And we don't know whether this was the reason, but in the race he set a new norm for speed.

Man - coin for 50 years Honda in Manx-TT Man - coin for 50 years Honda in Manx-TT

John McGuinness shows the coin struck by him
John McGuinness shows the coin struck by him

Then, on June 8th 2009 there was a special happening. Rossi, reigning WC in the MotoGP, and his country fellowman, and still record holder on victories in motorcycle racing, Giacomo Agostini drove a round together on the famous Mountain Circuit track. Rossi did this on a street version of the Yamaha R1 and of course Ago rode on an MV Agusta and with his own helmet brand AGV.
Of course the postal philatelic services of IOM made a beautiful remembrance item for this event. 500 A4 sized promo-prints of Rossi were used to attach a stamp of the 100 years TT races issue (2007), on which Ago was depicted, and cancelled with a special commemorative cancel. A group of road marshals would ride together with the two riders and carry the covers on the tour over the circuit. Saturday June 6th the event was scheduled, just before the Senior race. But….. rain made it impossible and the racing was postponed to Monday, but Rossi was only on Man for one day. Luckily Rossi expanded his visit to a long weekend and stayed also on Monday, and in this way the cancel was not spoiled. But now the date was not right. This was corrected by adding a second Agostini stamp which was cancelled using the always present Grandstand cancel with the correct date.

Promo sheet for round of Rossi and Agostini on the Manx TT-circuit
Front side of the promo card

Backside of Promo sheet for round of Rossi and Agostini on the Manx TT-circuit
Backside of the promo card

Stamp for round of Rossi and Agostini on the Manx TT-circuit
Stamp for round of Rossi and Agostini on the Manx TT-circuit
Rossi shows the promo sheet

This kind of issues is not listed in the regular lists but despite this it was sold out in a few hours. From a reliable source I heard that more than half of the prints did go to Italy. A scarce Tifosi collectors item. The Rossi/Ago ride can be seen in several clips on YouTube.

Earlier I already mentioned the record breaker McGuinness. Lap records on Man are not noted in time. Yes, of course times are used in the race results, but rider-records are noted in Miles per Hour. Lap records are remembered and registered in whole miles per hour. On Monday June 8th McGuinness smashed his own 2007 record to pieces during the Dainese Superbike TT, by going through the 130 Mph boundary with 130.442 Mph in the second round. He also rode a new race record, 6 rounds in one hour and 46 minutes. He could have achieved an even faster time, as he had to stop in the first round to zip up his boot.

IOM already saw the Pounds rolling and produced a special cover to honor this achievement. 130 covers were made, just as much as the miles record. They used the Honda FDC cover with the May 11th cancel, put a June 9th Grandstand cancel on it and a special sticker to commemorate this achievement.
But…. a few days later, Friday June 12th, mister McGuinness did it again. During the Pokerstars Senior TT John rode (in the second round) a cruising speed of 131.578 Mph, one whole mile faster. And again the Post did see money and made again covers in the 130 style, but now one more: 131 pieces. The Postal service has a policy that cancels may be used up to one month after the first date of use, so using the Honda cancel was a problem. June 12th is just one day more than a month after May 11th. That’s why the new covers were cancelled with two Grandstand cancels. The existence of these covers is not generally known, and thereby we could procure a number of them:

Envelops Man for record laps John McGuinness

And so we have again added a few nice items to our collection.

Hans de Kloet


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