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Racing at the Classic TT was delayed for 30 minutes to allow mist to clear on the mountain section. Once it had conditions were just about perfect, with dry roads, little breeze and a pleasant temperature. The Okells’ 350cc and 250cc races were run concurrently and gave some good racing to the crowds gathered all around the circuit. Pre-race favourite for the honours in the 350cc Race was Castletown’s Chris Palmer.
Palmer was on the case immediately and had the lead by 4.1s on corrected time at Glen Helen. The first man to sweep into the view of the huge crowd at the Gooseneck was Olie Linsdell on the Winfield Honda and he took the corner in fine style. Chris Swallow was next on the Aermacchi; he had already taken the 10s starting interval out of slow starting Cameron Donald on the Ripley Land AJS. Alan Oversby was neat and fast as he powered away to climb up to Guthrie’s. Then it was Aermacchi mounted Roy Richardson and Chris Palmer on the Ripley Land Honda; both taking wider lines than the earlier runners. Daniel Cooper was impressive on the Molnar Norton; knee firmly planted on the road as he hung off the machine. The watch suggested that Palmer led by 4.75s from Richardson, with Oversby 14.2s down on Richardson. Linsdell, Swallow and Honda mounted Nigel Moore completed the early leader board.
In the battle of the screaming two strokes Ewan Hamilton grabbed the initiative, he led by 11.6s from Jonathan Cutts at Glen Helen. He was well clear on the road at the Gooseneck; Jonathon Cutts held second 15.2s down, with Peter Wakefield third, Tom Jackson and Peter Symes were tied in fourth; Dave Edwards held sixth.
A lap at 101.168mph gave Palmer a lead of 4.79s as he urged the Honda along Glencrutchery Road. Oversby, Linsdell, Swallow and Moore completed the top six; with 35seconds covering all of them. In the 250cc class Hamilton lapped at 95.911mph to lead by 20.3s from Cutts, with Wakefield third 15.96s back.
Richardson’s challenge ended when he had to park the Aermacchi at Glen Duff. At the Gooseneck, Linsdell still led on the road; behind him Swallow and Donald were doing some formation flying. Oversby was next, then it was race leader Palmer; still using a wider line than most others. The lead for Palmer was 41.3s over Swallow with Donald 10s adrift in fourth. Oversby, Linsdell and Cooper completed the top six. Behind him Jamie Hamilton had his Honda flying after a slow start. The end of the lap saw the end of the race for both Oversby and Linsdell; mechanical woes forcing their early baths. Palmer’s lap at 101.469mph left him with a lead of over 40s from Swallow, who led Donald by 10.1s. Cooper, Moore and Snow completed the top six, with Hamilton seventh after a lap at 101.388mph.
In the 250cc race Ewan Hamilton continued to lead from Cutts at the Gooseneck; the lead being 16.25s. Behind them Tom Jackson had upped his pace to take third from Wakefield by 3.15s; whilst Symes had been forced out. At the end of the lap Hamilton led by 21.7s as he came in to refuel. Cutts did not go in for fuel but sailed past and into the lead of the race.
Palmer continued to lead on the third lap; by 44.4s at Glen Helen and by 50s at the Gooseneck. Behind him Swallow and Donald continued to circulate together. Hamilton had caught up with and passed Cooper on the road; but then lost the front end going into the slow right hander at Parliament Square, almost bringing Cooper off with him. Nothing more than pride was injured for Jamie, but his race was run. In the 250cc class Cutts was the leader by 61.2s at Glen Helen; but by the Gooseneck, Hamilton had reduced it to 55.1s.
At the end of the third lap Palmer led by 51.7s and Cutts by 45s. At Glen Helen the leads were 61.1s for Palmer over Donald; Swallow’s machine having expired at Gorse Lea and 32.7s for Cutts. Hamilton had reduced Cutts’ lead to 20.8s at Ballaugh but the chase proved too much; his machine cried enough at Parliament Square, handing second place to Wakefield. Over the mountain there were no more dramas in the 350cc race but in the 250cc race a spate of retirements handed third place to a surprised Geoff Bates. Donald duly took second in the 350cc race; one that he said was the most enjoyable that he had ever been involved in on the Mountain Course. Having closed to within 3s of Donald, Cooper eased his pace on the final lap to ensure a finish. The prizes for the best privateers went to Alex Sinclair (350cc) and Geoff Bates.
Okells’ 350cc Classic TT
1. Chris Palmer Ripley Land Honda 101.048mph
2. Cameron Donald Ripley Land AJS 99.781mph
3. Daniel Cooper Molnar Manx Norton 99.609mph
4. Nigel Moore Mitchell Honda 98.746mph
5. Doug Snow Snow Ducati 98.598mph
6. Dave Madsen-Mygdal Gimbert Honda 96.911mph
Okells’ 250cc Classic TT
1. Jonathan Cutts Suzuki 93.139mph
2. Peter Wakefield Carbutt’s Suzuki 91.572mph
3. Geoff Bates Bates Honda 83.888mph