In the early summer of 1978 Tom Herron headed for the Isle of Man and arguably one of his most important meetings of the season, the annual world famous TT races.

The Ulsterman arrived on the island straight from setting the North-West 200 alight with a double race win and a brilliant display of speed racing where he recorded a lap of 127.63mph 
to make him and the North-West the fastest racer and race in the British Isles respectively. 

The TT that year of course was all about one rider........
Mike Hailwood's return to the race was understandably the big talking point and Tom himself said at the time that it was good for the 
races that Hailwood was back. 

Mike soon showed that he had lost none of the old magic as he put in some impressive laps to top the practice leader board, in fact so impessive was he that 
Tom himself said he would have bet 100 on Hailwood winning at least three of his four races!!

Speaking after Friday's early morning practice Tom commented.....
'I was riding my Formula One Honda hard through the corners the other night thinking I was going respectably, but 
Mike came past, almost sat up and took the corner beautifully.'

The Honda that Tom referred to was the Mocheck Honda which he took over after Tony Rutter had crashed out in practice on his 350 at the left-hander approaching the Gooseneck, unfortunately 
breaking his leg.

The opening Formula One World Championship race threw up a lot of favourites but was being seen as a possible tussle between Hailwood and Phil Read, however on the opening lap it 
soon became obvious that Tom, who was second in practice, was out to spoil the party. 

At Ballacraine, 'Irish' (Hailwood's nickname for Tom) led by five seconds and was giving a 
good account of himself on the Mocheck Honda fitted with Yoshimura cams, but a twitch from the rear of the bike at May Hill was a warning of things to come.  
At the end of the first lap it was Hailwood by 8.8 seconds from Tom, with leader on the road Phil Read over 11 seconds further back in third. 

But Herron wasn't finished just yet and he 
soon reduced the deficit to Hailwood to four seconds before dropping back a bit with his out-of-sorts Honda proving to be a bit of a handful. 

At Ballaugh Tom was still very much still in the hunt though, and at 
the end of the lap as Mike caught Read on the road, he was proving to be Hailwood's biggest challenger.

However it all came to a disappointing conclusion for Tom. 

Both rear dampers broke on his Honda and his brave effort was over at Quarry Bends to leave Hailwood comfortably in the 
lead where of course he was never headed on the Sports Motorcycles Desmo Ducati V-Twin to come home a deserving winner.

John Williams on a factory 890cc Honda was second with Ian Richards on a 984cc Kawasaki third.

June 2011

Tom at Quarter Bridge.
Photo Courtesy: Bill Snelling.
By Kind Permission

Main Photo
Tom sets off on the Mocheck Honda.
Photo Courtesy: Bill Snelling.
By Kind Permission