Championship day at the Southern 100; as has already been reported; was cut tragically short by the horrid accident that resulted in another fine young man paying the ultimate price for chasing his dream. The number of accidents on the day raises concerns over the frenetic pace of the programme and the short race distance perhaps causing riders to push too hard too soon. The ongoing investigation will ascertain what caused the accident but it will be for the committee to take a long hard look at the race programme and decide what changes need to be made.
The racing continued the theme of domination by Dean Harrison on the 600cc and 1000cc machines. The morning was overcast with cloud hugging the tops of the hills; but the track itself had good visibility and it was perfectly dry. The first race was s & S Motors 600cc A Race. The McAdoo team mates were first to react to the lights and led in to Ballakeighan. The field was still quite tightly packed as the riders braked hard for Cross Four ways on lap 1. The narrow leader was James Cowton; with Mikey Evans right behind. 10m back came a chasing pack spread across the road and jockeying for position noticeable amongst them were Adam McLean, Joey Thompson, Davey Todd, Stephen Parson and Dean Harrison. Harrison said later that he was conservative whilst the tyres warmed and to allow him to assess grip on the part of the track affected by the previous night’s oil spill. The top 6 at the end of the lap were Cowton, Evans, McLean, Thompson, Harrison and Todd; less than 3s covering them. The order was the same at Cross four Ways on lap 2; behind them Jamie Coward was making significant progress after a slow start. The best entertainment was provided by Todd who backed his machine into the corner in fine style; a speedway career may await him.
Cowton’s lead was 1.4s at the end of the lap; with Harrison now settled in; raising his pace and up to 4th place. Past us on lap 3 Cowton led from McLean, with Harrison passing Evans on the brakes. Coward was up to 5th and intent on making further progress. There was no change at the end of the lap; with the lead up to 2.5s. On lap 4 at Cross Four Ways Cowton led by 2.2s from McLean who had Harrison a couple of metres behind and looking for an opportunity to pass. Cowton continued to lead throughout lap 5 but Harrison was lapping at over 110mph and closing the gap. On lap 6 he was mere inches astern of Cowton as they heeled through the tight right hand bend. Harrison managed to make the pass as the screamed along the straight through Great Meadow. Once ahead he was not going to allow victory to evade him and set the fastest lap of the race at 110.735mph to take victory by 1.5s. Adam McLean continued to impress taking third despite not feeling 100%. Coward, Evans and Thompson completed the leader board. Todd was once again the best newcomer in 8th place; having a best lap at 107.286mph.
S & S Motors 600cc Race
- Dean Harrison Silicone Kawasaki 108.097mph
- James Cowton McAdoo Kawasaki 107.933mph
- Adam McLean McAdoo Kawasaki 107.541mph
- Jamie Coward Prez Yamaha 107.497mph
- Mikey Evans Wilcock Honda 106.891891mph
- Joey Thompson ILR Kawasaki 106.889mph
Next on the re-jigged schedule was the 600cc B Race. Dave Quine was quickest away but made a mistake at Ballakeighan; so gifting the lead to Tim Poole. Poole should have been in the A Race; but being unaware of the schedule change missed the start. Once ahead he pulled well away from the remainder of the field. Ben Wylie another experienced and classy rider soon moved up to second and held that to the end. Dave Quine made up for his early mistake by riding a fine race to take third from leading newcomer Steven Hadow.
Pole Position Travel 600cc B Race
- Tim Poole Kawasaki 102.262mph
- Ben Wylie Yamaha 101.074mph
- Dave Quine Honda 100.621mph
The next race saw the first appearance of the day for the 1000cc machines, in the Island Aggregates Senior Race. In this race there was no conservative start from Dean Harrison; he was out of the traps first and led into Ballakeighan. He led by 10m from Ivan Lintin as they braked hard to take the right hand bend for the first time. Mikey Evans was 3rd, James Cowton 4th, Davey Todd 5th; with Rob Hodson 0.75s back in the final leader board place. Positions were unchanged at the end of the lap; with Harrison 1s ahead of Lintin as they crossed the line. No positional changes were noted at Cross Four Ways, but Hodson had closed to within 10m of Todd. By the end of the lap Harrison was 2.46s ahead of Lintin and it barring misfortune seemed to have the race in the bag.
This proved to be the case because Lintin later said that he was content to finish second to Dean whose machine appeared to be faster and who had much more big bike experience around the circuit. Behind then Cowton had not settled for 4th and had closed to within 5m of Evans. On the next lap Cowton duly made the pass as they came into the corner. Two laps later Evans was under pressure from Hodson and Todd and he ultimately succumbed to the pressure from Hodson, losing 4th by just 0.159s at the flag. This was another fine race with the riders putting on a great display of skill and bravery.
Island Aggregates Senior Race
- Dean Harrison Silicone Kawasaki 112.623mph
- Ivan Lintin Dafabet Kawasaki 111.226mph
- James Cowton McAdoo Kawasaki 110.662mph
- Rob Hodson BMW 109.930mph
- Mikey Evans Wilcock BMW 109.912mph
- Davey Todd Burrows Suzuki 108.276mph
Next it was the turn of the Sidecars to take to the circuit. The machines could be heard approaching Cross Four Ways when the dreaded red flag appeared. All of the machines parked up and it was immediately obvious that the machine of pole sitters John Holden and Lee Cain was missing. Soon news came through that they had crashed at Ballawhetstone; thankfully without injury, other than gravel rash. Soon they went past on their machine that was minus the wheel fairing and had some other battle scars. The other machines then made their way back for the restart. After another warm up lap it was time for the race; reduced to 4 laps; to blast away.
Unsurprisingly the race was dominated by Tim Reeves / Mark Wilkes; they were quickest away and pulled steadily away from the rest of the field. At Cross Four Ways they were already 1.6s ahead the group fighting for second place. This was headed by Conrad Harrison/Andy Winkle; then it was Alan founds/Jake Lowther; Lewis Blackstock/Patrick Rosney and Peter Founds/Jeavon Walmsley. Darren Hope/Lenny Bumfrey were in the lonely 6th place that they would hold to the finish. At the end of the lap the lead was 2.9s; with Harrison 0.7s ahead of Alan Founds. The lead had increased further at cross four Ways where Harrison was under severe pressure from Alan Founds; as was Blackstock from Peter Founds. The pressure paid off and the brothers were able to secure and fourth places on their debuts at the event. The fastest female crew in TT history; Estelle Leblond and Melanie Farnier; made their debut and rode superbly to secure 9th and set a best lap speed of 95.819mph.
Ace Hire 7 Sales Sidecar Race
- Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes LCR Honda 98.026mph
- Alan Founds/Jake Lowther LCR Yamaha 96.718mph
- Conrad Harrison/Andy Winkle Bellas Honda 96.113mph
- Peter Founds/Jevan Walmsley DDM Suzuki 96.082mph
- Lewis Blackstock/Patrick Rosney Honda 95.615mph
- Darren Hope/Lenny Bumfrey Suzuki 95.165mph
After the lunch break and a switch of location to Church Bends it was time for the first of the afternoon races to kick into life. The taster was the 600cc C Race. This race was red flagged on lap 2 after Brian Fuidge had a heavy crash at Church that left the road covered in small pieces of debris and a skip quality machine lying across the road in pieces. Brian was taken by helicopter to Nobles Hospital; thankfully his injuries are not as serious as first feared; he has a broken jaw that requires specialist attention in the UK. I hope that all goes well and that he makes a full recovery.
Next on the schedule was the second race for the Supertwin and 250cc machines. James Cowton grabbed the hole shot but had to run wide at Ballakeighan, allowing Ivan Lintin to move ahead. Lintin took full advantage and led by 3.2s from the trio of Joey Thompson, Cowton and Adam McLean at Church on the opening lap. Rob Hodson and Jonathan Perry completed the early leader board.
Lintin led by 4.2s as he flicked right and then left between the stone walls of the churchyard. Behind him the three amigos were still formation flying. Lintin then the misfortune that befell him in the TT as the machine cried enough. This left Thompson in the lead at the end of the lap and moved local man Dave Moffitt into 6th place. Thompson led through Church for the next two laps but by the end of the 4th lap Cowton and McLean had edged past him.
Cowton led through Church on lap 5 but McLean passed him and led as they crossed the line to begin the final lap. Cowton grabbed the lead going into Cross Four Ways and through Church. McLean gained good drive out of Church and was able make the decisive pass on the run into Stadium. Joey Thompson took the final step of the podium and had the satisfaction of setting a new class lap record at 104.970mph on the final lap.
Ocean Motor Village 250/650cc Race
- Adam McLean McAdoo Kawasaki 102.797mph
- James Cowton McAdoo Kawasaki 102.753mph
- Joey Thompson Paton 102.732mph
- Rob Hodson Kawasaki 100.829mph
- Jonathan Perry Kawasaki 100.467mph
- Dave Moffitt Suzuki 98.373mph
The next race was the second outing for the 125/400cc machines. In the first running Adrian Kershaw and Mick Goodings gave us the 6th closest finish in the 63 years of the S100; it was not so close this time; – they gave us the 7th closest finish ever. Kershaw was out of the traps like a rocket and had a lead of 3s from Goodings as they went through Church for the first time. Vic Allen and Paul Gartland were close behind; then there was a small gap to Rad Hughes and Dan Sayle on the leading 250. Gartland increased his lead to 3.4s at the end of the lap. The lead was 3.5s at Church where Sayle was 3rd, Gartland 4th, Allan down to 5th and Hughes 6th. Going into lap 3 the lead was steady at 3.5s. Behind them Sayle was being hassled by Gartland, Hughes was 5th and Allan 6th.
Goodings began to wind up the wick and gradually knock tenths off the lead. Gartland had eased past Sayle but that battle was to rage to the end. Going into lap 5 the lead was down to 1.25s and at Church it was down to 0.2s. They were together at the end of the lap; then Goodings used his superior top speed to lead going into Ballakeighan. He led at church by about 5m; but Kershaw stayed calm, gained a great drive out of the left hand exit and retook the lead going into Stadium. In a repeat of the previous race he just managed to reach the line before the superior top speed of Goodings could take effect. Behind them, Sayle brought the Moto 3 machine home in 3rd; he also set the fastest lap of the race at 96.071mph. Given the low number of entries this could well have been the final running of this class.
Steam Packet Company 125/400cc Race
- Adrian Kershaw 400 Kawasaki 93.978mph
- Mick Goodings 400 Kawasaki 93.975mph
- Dan Sayle 250 Honda Moto 3 93.753mph
- Rad Hughes 400 Kawasaki 91.895mph
- Paul Gartland 400 Honda 91.665mph
- Steven Moody 400 Honda 91.273mph
Next up was the Solo Championship over 9 laps; once upon a time it was 24 laps. The race started on script with pole sitter Dean Harrison getting the best start and leading into Ballakeighan. He led by 20m from Lintin at Church; with Todd 3rd, a similar distance further back. Hodson, Cowton and Evans completed the leader board; with Ryan Kneen and Sam West just metres behind. At the end of the lap Harrison led by 0.8s from Lintin; with Todd the same distance behind Lintin. The gaps at the front were larger at Church; the only real change being that Cowton had managed to pass Evans. At the end lap 2 the lead was 1.95s; with Lintin now 1.3s ahead of Todd.
On lap 3 Harrison was further ahead and had everything as he wanted it. The only change was that Evans had retaken Cowton and sat in 5th close behind Hodson. Lap 4 saw Evans elevate himself to 4th; with Cowton slipping to 6th. There was no change on lap5; but on lap 6 Cowton moved ahead of Hodson once more. Hodson did not reach us on lap 7; he gave it too much too soon on the exit from Cross Four Ways and was high sided from the beast; thankfully without injury. His misfortune elevated Ryan Kneen to the final leader board place.
Harrison had no problems and duly took another victory, by 8.9s from Lintin, who upped his personal best to 113.448mph. The hugely impressive Todd took third place; having posted a best speed of 112.571mph on the penultimate lap. Cowton edged out Evans by 0.8s in their battle for 4th; with Kneen securing a fine 6th on the number 14 machine.
Hunts Motorcycles Solo Championship
- Dean Harrison Silicone Kawasaki 112.712mph
- Ivan Lintin Dafabet Kawasaki 111.898mph
- Davey Todd Burrows Suzuki 111.328mph
- James Cowton McAdoo Kawasaki 111.327mph
- Mikey Evans Wilcock BMW 111.261mph
- Ryan Kneen Charmer BMW 109.390mph
Next it was the turn of the Sidecars to have their championship race. Tim Reeves had bemoaned the absence of John Holden to give him a race in the first outing saying that he wanted a real race; his wish was granted Holden lined up the hastily repaired outfit that he had flipped in the morning’s aborted race. Initially it seemed that Reeves was going to have it all his own way; he was fastest away and1s in hand on Holden at Church as they (literally) brushed the stone wall on the inside of the left hand exit. Blackstock, Alan Founds, Peter Founds and Harrison were the leader board men. On lap 2 Reeves was 1.7s ahead of Holden. Blackstock was being pressured by Alan Founds; whilst Darren Hope had managed to relegate Harrison.
On the third lap Holden was visibly closer; the gap down 10 1.05s as the pace rose to over 100mph. Behind them, Peter Founds had passed both his brother and Blackstock; Hope was holding Harrison at bay in their private scrap. Lap saw Reeves and Holden just 5m apart as they flashed between the walls; both were on lap record pace; Holden just 0.08s faster as he took the mantle of lap record holder with his lap of 101.286mph. Behind them Alan Founds had passed Blackstock and had started a family battle for the final podium place. Harrison had retaken 6th and this gave us the finishing order. Estelle Leblond having raised her personal best to 95.901mph was forced to retire on this lap.
Going into the final corner Holden left his braking a tad too late and made contact with Reeves. The contact damaged the hastily fitted new fairing cover on the sidecar wheel. Holden was black flagged at Cross Four Ways for a check of the machine. The new piece had been dislodged; the machine was safe to race; accordingly Holden rejoined the fray down the field; but was credited the time spent at rest and this raised him back to his rightful second place.
The battle of the Founds was settled by 0.447s; both brothers having lapped at over 100mph in their first S100; superb riding. Blackstock was similarly impressive setting a best lap at 98.193mph; the Sidecars seem set to give us even more exciting racing next year.
Darryl Blake Construction Sidecar Championship
- Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes LCR Honda 99.411mph
- John Holden/Lee Cain LCR Honda 97.853mph
- Peter Founds/Jevan Walmsley DDM Suzuki 97.497mph
- Alan Founds/Jake Lowther LCR Honda 97.486mph
- Lewis Blackstock/Patrick Rosney LCR Honda 97.158mph
- Conrad Harrison/Andy Winkle Bellas Honda 96.781mph
The next race was the ill fated Hunts Motorcycles 600cc Challenge in which James Cowton; a fine and talented young man lost his life and Ivan Lintin; one of the nicest men in the paddock; suffered very serious injuries. The other two riders caught up in the accident; Mikey Evans and Jamie Coward; have been released from hospital. Our deepest sympathy goes to the family and friends of James and we hope that Ivan will be able to make a full recovery from his injuries.
Our sport is simply the best spectacle that there is; the skill and bravery of the riders is simply breathtaking. There are dark times and we have one of the darkest at present with the loss of James and William Dunlop in the space of 5 days. Added to this we lost two wonderful young men in Dan Kneen and Adam Lyon at the TT. At 5.30pm on Thursday raw emotion would have had me voting to stop road racing had there been a chance to do so. Of course that would have been wrong; the riders know the risks and accept them with a smile; for them the challenge; the high of riding the tracks and the chance of glory outweigh the possible price. At times I hate this sport; but it is a drug that I cannot get out of my system and come August I will be trackside with the trusty Nikons for the Classic TT and MGP.
As ever, the Southern 100 committee ran the event superbly and I offer to them my congratulations for a job well done. Hopefully we will all be able to gather again at Billown for the 2019 Pre-TT Classic meeting.