Friday, April 19, 2024

Top 5 This Week

A new star rises at record breaking Pre-TT Classic.

The final day of racing at the Pre-TT Classic meeting brought some great racing and saw the emergence of a new star. The weather was kind; with bright sunshine, tempered by a light breeze. There was a good crowd at the final corner; Castletown Corner; to watch the action unfold.

First race was the Greystones LLC Senior Classic. There was more drama before the race began that during it. On the warm-up lap Dominic Herbertson had an engine blow up at Ballabeg; this brought him off and deposited oil on the track. It was back to the paddock whilst the clear up took place. Then after the second warm up lap Jamie Coward was forced to pull off the line with a broken clutch cable. This robbed us of a repeat of the tight battle seen in the previous day’s 1100cc race. Adam McLean (Royal Enfield) was quickest to react to the lights and led into Ballakeighan; it was a lead that he was never to lose. At Castletown Corner on the opening lap, he had a couple of seconds lead from Mike Hose (Yamaha); with third being contested by Alan Oversby (Honda) and Andy Hornby (MV Agusta). Lap 2 saw McLean well clear of Oversby; whilst he had pulled clear of the battle for third in which Hornby had taken a slender advantage.

With a clear lead, McLean eased his pace and rode to his boards coming home to win by 11.6s at 93.884mph. Oversby rode a lonely race to second place; whilst the battle for third that saw many positional changes was eventually settled in favour of Andy Hornby by just 0.54s. Russ Mountford took 5th; with Will Loder completing the top 6.

The next race was the Quine & Cubbon 250cc Classic and 125cc Post Classic Race. Keith Shannon (Suzuki) was quickest away from the lights, and he was never headed. In a repeat of the previous race, he set his best time on lap 2; then eased his pace to ensure that he finished. Second onto the bridge at Castletown Corner on the opening lap was Richard Ford (Suzuki); but that was to be the only time that we saw him. In third, and leading the 125cc class was promising newcomer Owen Monaghan (Honda); sadly, he too was to be forced out with machine problems. Behind them was a battle that lasted for the race distance; it was between Andy Hunt (Ducati), Barry Davidson (Honda) and Billy Cummins (Suzuki). They changed positions many times; but finished in this order. Behind them came the eventual 125cc class winner, Jeff Smith.

Third race of the afternoon was the VMCC Junior Classic. The first lap charge into Castletown Corner was headed by Alan Oversby (Honda), from Russ Mountford (Honda); riding his final race before retiring from the sport; Dominic Herbertson (Honda) and Adam McLean (Royal Enfield). Barry Davidson (Honda) and Andy Hornby (MV Agusta) completed the top 6. It was not to be Oversby’s day, he suffered machine problems and limped home to retire at the end of lap 2. Herbertson was out to make up for his earlier disappointment and was the leader by a couple of metres from Mountford; Davidson. McLean with 20m adrift with Hornby 50m further back. Herbertson was gradually easing away from the chasers; Davidson had passed Mountford who was being closed by McLean. Hornby was in fifth; but he was soon to retire the MV.

Herbertson controlled the race and duly came home to win by 4.4s from McLean who had taken second from Davidson on the penultimate lap; McLean’s best lap of 89.688mph was simply amazing for a 350cc single. Davison took another podium finish; with Russ Mountford settling for fourth in his last race. What a rider he has been over the years; we wish him a long, healthy and happy retirement. The top 6 was completed by Will Loder; who made up for a slow start with some fast laps on his Greeves; with sixth taken by newcomer Harley Rushton on his Honda.

Next event was the Consolation race for the riders who missed out on the main races. Terence Sansom controlled the race and duly won 4.85s from Richard ford, with rod Graham third.

The eagerly awaited UGGLY Senior Superbike race was next, and it provided great racing with the lap and race records being beaten. The first lap saw Paul Jordan in the lead as the riders accelerated hard away towards the start and finish line; he was just a couple of metres ahead of Joe Yeardsley; with lap record holder Jamie Coward a similar distance behind. Rhys Hardisty was fourth on his lovely RG Suzuki; one of the few non-Kawasaki machines in the race. Marc Colvin and Aaron Hughes completed the top 6. Hughes was to retire on lap 3; allowing Mike Hose to take 6th; Hose was recovering from a slow start.

On lap 2, the leader was Coward; he led by 10m from Yeardsley and Jordan who were side by side going down the bypass. On lap 3 the leader was Coward; but Yeardsley was right on his tail and learning as they went along. The pace had gone up and Jordan was unable to match it; he dropped back as he race progressed but was safe in third; lapping 2 mph faster than the chasing trio of Colvin, Hardisty and Hose. On lap 4, Yeardsley led as they powered out of the tight bend and charged away to start lap 5. Coward was in the slipstream and duly retook the lead. The pace increased as they fought for the laurels. The lap record was broken on lap 5 and again on lap 6; Yeardsley setting the new mark at 106.535mph; with Coward raising his best to 106.412mph.

Coward was still the leader as they began the final lap; however, Yeardsley was not going to concede and managed to be the first to come into our view from Stadium Bend. He had a 10m gap and that was enough to allow him to ensure that Coward could not try a demon dive on the brakes into Castletown Corner. He gained good drive out the corner and despite the best efforts of Coward he took victory by 0.6s; much to the delight of the locals in the crowd. His performance was stellar given that his first ever road race was in this race last year. He gave praise to Coward at the end saying that he had learned a lot from Jamie. Jordan completed his race 27s down on Coward. Mike Hose, Andy Sailor and Marc Colvin completed the top 6; the three were covered by just 4.3s.

The second 3 Wheeling Sidecar Race was the final one on the programme. Lap record holders Kieran Clarke / Andrew Johnson made a better start than in race 1 and led the field through Ballakeighan on lap 1. They were 10m ahead of Bob Dawson / Matthew Sims, with Jack Gristwood / Alice Smith holding third as they went through Castletown Corner. The order was the same on lap 2; but just after they left us the red flag ended proceedings and the result was declared at the end of lap 1.

Danny Quirk / Dylan Weston crashed on the exit to Stadium. Quirk has broken a collarbone; but has been released from hospital. Weston has suffered leg fractures and has been flown to the UK for specialist treatment. We wish him a full and speedy recovery.

This superbly run and very friendly meeting provided an excellent curtain raiser for the TT Festival.

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