Manxman Nathan Harrison snatched a wonderful victory from the jaws of defeat with a superb final lap effort in the Mylchreests Junior MGP. He appeared to have lost his chance of victory when his over exuberance in leaving pit lane cost him a 30s penalty for exceeding the speed limit of 60kph. He realised what he done immediately and had it confirmed by a signal board out on the circuit.
The race was reduced to 3 laps because of the hours wasted waiting for the mist and drizzle affecting parts of the course to clear. When it did clear conditions were excellent; the only problem being some dampness in the Ginger Hall and Kerrowmoar area; (when will the overhanging trees be lopped and the undergrowth be cleared?). The greenness of the track in this section has been mentioned in interviews by several riders; it can be like soap when damp.
Steven Procter had the number 1 plate and was first to plunge down Bray Hill; no doubt hoping for another podium finish. Pre-meeting race favourite Steven Parsons was next away on his Kawasaki. Double Lightweight winner Andrew Farrell was next; then it was the turn of 19 years old sensation James Hind; moved up to number 4 due to his unofficial record breaking in practice. The unfortunate Royce Rowe was a non-starter; so next away was local hope Harrison, moved up to 6 due to his practice pace. We all hoped that the race would be as hot as the weather in Ramsey; we were not to be disappointed.
Hind reached Glen Helen on lap record pace; he led Harrison by 2.5s; Farrell was third 3s down on Harrison. Stephen Smith was fourth; 2.5s down on Farrell and 0.5s ahead of Parsons. Hind seems to like the run to Ballaugh; he had added 4.5 to his lead when he reached the village. Parsons was 3.9s down on Harrison; Farrell was fourth 0.9s down on Parsons; fifth was Smith 0.1s down on Farrell; Brad Vicars was sixth, 2s further behind. Procter and Parsons were together on the road as they reached Ramsey and provided a fine sight for the crowd gathered to watch the drama unfold. Hind was next; he was flying and had taken the 10s starting interval and more out of Farrell; an experienced rider who is mightily impressed by the youngster. Harrison was next and he scraped the fairing as he swept through the right hand entrance to the town square. The action provided a fine spectacle in the afternoon sunshine.
Hind was continuing to edge away from Harrison; his lead was 8.5s at Ramsey and 10s at the Bungalow. A stunning first lap at 121.773mph; smashing the lap record; gave him a lead of 11.359s as he charged away towards Bray hill for the second time. Harrison lapped at 120.556mph to be 8.56s ahead of Smith (119.647mph). Farrell (119.575mph), Parsons (119.126mph) and Andrew Fisher (118.493mph) completed the leader board.
Then for Hind it was a case of déjà vu; having set an unofficial lap record in yesterday’s practice he was forced to park his machine due to mechanical issues that required an engine change. Today the record was official, but he suffered the same fate; having to retire at Greeba Bridge. This meant that Harrison was the race leader at Glen Helen, he was 8.3s ahead of Smith; with Farrell third, 4s down on Smith. Parsons, Brad vicars and Fisher completed the leader board. At Ballaugh, Smith had clawed 0.9s back from Harrison; they had doubled their gap over Farrell; who had Parsons breathing down his neck. The lead was 6.5s at Ramsey; but Harrison was quickest up the mountain; his lead was 7.2s at the Bungalow.
Harrison’s lap at 120.818mph gave him a 7.87s lead as he entered the pits to top up the tank. Smith was marginally faster at 120.892mph and was now 17.9s ahead of Farrell (119.064mph). Parsons, Vicars and Fisher completed the leader board. Newcomers Race winner Pierre-Yves Bian was impressive; holding 13th place having lapped at 116.241mph. Harrison’s pit crew was masterly in its execution, having him back in motion 10s faster than his main rival. Then came the 30s penalty for being 4kph over the pit lane speed limit. This seemed disastrous initially; but coldly analyzed he lost 30s; had 7.8s in hand when came in; gained 10s from the rapid stop; leaving a net deficit of 12.2s as he hammered out of the pits. Victory was a tall order but no longer seemed impossible.
At Glen Helen, the task seemed much more possible; Smith led by 4.7s from Harrison, who had Farrell just 1.5s behind him. As he swept through Ramsey for the final time, Harrison had cut his deficit to Smith to just 2.7s and had opened his advantage over Farrell to 6s. Harrison proved the master of the mountain; he led by 0.3s at the Bungalow; then blitzed the descent to grab the winner’s laurels by 3.886s. His last lap was the best and would have been over 120mph but for the penalty. Farrell took third just 4.7s down on Smith; both were delighted to be on the podium. Smith had no signal boards so rode blind; unaware that he had been leading at one stage. For Farrell, this podium would seem to be his last; the leathers are apparently going to be hung up. Parson finished fourth; Fisher fifth; Procter sixth and Vicars seventh. Just 2.584s covered fifth to seventh. Newcomer Pierre-Yves Bian finished in an excellent 12th at an average of 113.779mph; a super effort.
Mylchreests Junior Manx Grand Prix
- Nathan Harrison Quayside Honda 118.729mph
- Stephen Smith Slipps Suzuki 118.595mph
- Andrew Farrell JFR Steadplan Kawasaki 118.432mph
- Stephen Parsons People’s Bike Kawasaki 118.005mph
- Andrew Fisher Fisher Yamaha 117.735mph
- Steven Procter Stagefreight Yamaha 117.730mph