Superb win for lap record breaker Michael Evans in Junior Manx Grand Prix.
We were back on schedule as the Junior Manx Grand fired into life on a morning of sunshine but cool northerly winds. The track was dry apart from small patches of dampness at the usual places such as Glen Helen, Ginger Hall to Kerrowmoar; Hairpin to Waterworks and Governor’s Dip. Tree limbing or removal appears to be anathema to our beloved Department of Infrastructure.
The race was shaping up nicely for the locals; Michael Evans led by 3s from Dean Osborne at Glen Helen with Royce Rowe third. Evans was 6.3s ahead at Ballaugh from Osborne; however a fault meant that Rowe’s transponder was no longer registering. Evans was simply flying; he increased his lead to 8.75s at Ramsey; 11.13s at the Bungalow. He duly blitzed the lap record set by the late Malachi Mitchell-Thomas with a speed of 121.066mph. Just as we were taking that in an all course red flag was announced; the race stopped and all that effort was to no avail; it would be airbrushed out of the official records.
The reason for the red flag was an incident at Union Mills involving Royce Rowe. He was taken to Nobles Hospital with major fractures; but thankfully his injuries were not life threatening. Hopefully he will be able to make a full recovery. His machine knocked over a pole carrying live electricity wires; it was lying across the track and there was fuel on the road; making a highly dangerous combination.
Rapid work by the Manx Utilities Authority meant that racing was able to resume at 12.10. The time lost meant that the race was over 3 rather than 4 laps. This meant that lap 2 would cause confusion as some riders chose to pit at the end of lap 1 and others at the end of lap 2. The restart allowed Tom Robinson and Fredric Besnard back into a race that they had retired and crashed out of respectively.
In ideal conditions Andrew Farrell led the contestants away for the second time. At Glen Helen, Michael Evans was again the leader; this time by 3s from Darren Cooper. Rhys Hardisty held third 2.5s back from Cooper with locals Jamie Williams, Joe Faragher and Dean Osborne holding fourth, fifth and sixth. At a sunny Waterworks Cooper was first on the road; closely followed by Barry Lee Evans and Farrell. Osborne was next and he took the two corners in fine style. Michael Evans used an identical wide sweeping line as he powered through with a lead of 5.2s from Cooper. He had increased this to 9.8s at the Bungalow.
A lap at 120.619mph gave Evans a lead of 5.6s as he slowed to come into the pits to top up the tank; it also gave him membership of the Tommy Club. Cooper also joined the Tommy Club by lapping at 120.018mph. Joe Faragher was holding third 5.7s behind Cooper; Williams, Osborne and Barry Lee Evans completed the leader board. With Cooper and Faragher opting not pit the true position would only become clear at Glen Helen on the final lap. At that point on lap 2 Cooper led by 5s from Faragher with Richard Charlton, another not to pit, in third 18s behind Faragher. First of those who did pit was Michael Evans in fourth; 11s down on Charlton. At Ballaugh the lead was 7s and at Waterworks it was 9.1s on our watch; with Michael Evans now third, 19.4s adrift of Faragher. Jamie Williams had a moment on the first of the two corners at Waterworks; kissing the kerb but able to regain control. Not so lucky was fellow local Brendan Fargher; he slid off at Windy Corner; thankfully without injury; but his race as over and his chance of a top six finish gone.
The end of the lap saw Cooper leading Faragher by 16.25s as they crossed the line and slowed for their own pit stops. Evans was third; Williams fourth; Charlton; also to pit was fifth and Barry Lee Evans sixth. Cooper’s stop was slow at 43s; he left pit lane with an estimated deficit of 16s to Evans. Charlton spoiled his race when he exceeded the pit lane limit and was handed a 30s penalty.
At Glen Helen the true position was revealed, Michael Evans led by 25s from Cooper. Williams was third 4s behind Cooper and 6s ahead of Barry Lee Evans. Osborne and Faragher were fifth and sixth; with just 5 seconds covering them and Evans.
At Waterworks the action was excellent. It was case of déjà vu for Williams; he came into Waterworks 1 in close company with Glenn Harrison and ran wide to kiss the kerb again and make the excellent race marshals a little twitchy. Our watch gave Michael Evans a lead of 25.2s over Cooper with just 13 miles to go to the chequered flag. Cooper was under threat from Williams; who was just 4.1s behind. Barry Lee Evans, Faragher and Osborne completed the leader board; with less than 1s between the latter two.
A final lap of 119.966mph gave Michael Evans a well deserved victory by 22s from Cooper. Jamie Williams took third 5.8s behind Cooper and 5.5s ahead of Barry Lee Evans. Dean Osborne snatched fifth; just 1.4s ahead of fellow Manxman Joe Faragher. On a good day for the locals Glenn Harrison was fastest rider of all on the final lap; he joined Michael Evans and Cooper in the illustrious Tommy Club with his lap of 120.129mph. Newcomers A winner Brad Vicars put in superb final lap at 119.466mph; narrowly missing out on becoming the first newcomer to join the Tommy Club.
There was a serious incident during the last lap of the race but as yet details are embargoed; all that we can do is to hope that the rider will be able to make a full recovery from his injuries.
Mylchreests Junior Manx Grand Prix
- Michael Evans Bullock Honda 119.064mph
- Darren Cooper Flue-Stox Kawasaki 118.303mph
- Jamie Williams Ocean Ford Honda 118.104mph
- Barry Lee Evans PRF Suzuki 117.916mph
- Dean Osborne Osborne Kawasaki 117.562mph
- Joe Faragher Mcn Honda 117.514mph