The Manx Grand Prix race schedule began with the Newcomers A and B Races. It was a cold and gloomy evening but things soon warmed up. The riders started in practice; rather than plate number order meaning that number 4, Darryl Tweed was first away. The race had hardly started before it was halted by the dreaded red flags. Nicolo Capelli; the fourth man away; had crashed heavily at the Jubilee Oak; first of the two corners at Braddan Bridge. The bike had burst into flames making the red flag inevitable. The rider suffered major fractures and was taken to the nearby Noble’s Hospital for treatment. We wish him a full and rapid recovery.
The riders who had passed the site of the incident before the red flag came out travelled around the course under yellow flags and back to the start line. The behaviour of some was quite simply lunatic. The Clerk of the Course had warned them all after the first practice that wild riding would mean disqualification. However, he chose not to enforce this warning and issued another very public one to the miscreants. Those who witnessed their behaviour were all of the opinion that the original threat should have been carried out.
The race re-started some 50 minutes after the first attempt. Race favourite Tweed proved to a be a target for second man away Brad Vicars who had cut their starting difference by more than half by the time that they reached Glen Helen. Vicars led by5s from Andrew Fisher with Stephen Parsons in third 1s down on Parson; with Tweed a further second behind. Tweed picked up his pace and by Ballaugh he had taken second place; but had been caught on the road by Vicars. The two entered Ramsey together; Vicars 10s ahead on corrected time. Fisher held third 10.7s behind Tweed as they left to tackle the darkening mountain section.
They were on record pace and Vicars crossed the line with a lead of 7.7s over Tweed. His lap of 118.786mph beat the class record set by Tim Venables in 2010. Tweed was also inside the old record; he had an advantage over Fisher of 16.7s. At Glen Helen the two leaders were circulating together; the official time difference being 9.4s. Fisher was 17.6s further back and under pressure from Parsons who was just 1s behind. Tweed led by 20m as they came into Ramsey for the second time; Vicars doing what he to do and staying close, knowing that he had 10s in hand.
Coming in for the pit stop Vicars led by 7.6s from Vicars whose lap was marginally faster at 117.885mph. A very slick pit stop more than doubled the lead for Vicars. He had an advantage of 17.3s at Glen Helen on the final lap; game over barring mishap. Tweed was similarly secure in his position; Parsons was 21s behind him. There was to be no drama and Vicars crossed the line to win by 9.94s. Parsons finished in the final podium position; 27.3s down on Tweed.
MGP Newcomers A Race
- Brad Vicars Merlin Sidecars Honda 116.464mph
- Darryl Tweed M&D Triumph 116.168mph
- Stephen Parsons peoples Bike Kawasaki 115.270mph
In the concurrently run B race for Supertwins it was the pre-race favourite Dave Quine who set the early pace; by Glen Helen he had a lead of 8s over Derek Wilson; with Ben Rosendaal just 0.1s further behind. The lead was 15s at Ballaugh; but for Quine the race was soon over; machine failure stopped him at Sulby Bridge. At Ramsey; Wilson led by 5s from Rosendaal; with Lee Bass third 9s adrift of Rosendaal. At the end of the lap the lead was 10.2s; with Bass 15.2 s behind Rosendaal.
These positions remained the same throughout the second lap, Wilson ending it 13.2s ahead as they came in for their mandatory pit stop. What had seemed plain sailing; suddenly was not. Wilson exceeded the pit lane speed limit and was given a 30s penalty by the Gods in the tower. Rosendaal led 9.795s at Glen Helen; but Wilson was on a flier and by Ballaugh he had edged in front. He continued to pile on the coals and came home to take his victory by 8.2s.
MGP Newcomers B Race
- Derek Wilson Kawasaki 101.703mph
- Ben Rosendaal Moto Design Suzuki 101.495mph
- Lee Bass Elas Suzuki 100.062mph