Day 2 of the pre-TT Classic meeting brought dry roads, warm sunshine and very little by way of breeze; just about ideal for road racing. The afternoon gave us practice for each of the classes and some very quick times were put up; but they count for nothing; only what happens after the lights change counts in the record books. There was some excellent high speed action for the crowd of enthusiasts to enjoy. Mark Herbertson had a tumble at Ballabeg; fortunately, he bounced well and was taken back to the paddock with no lasting damage and is able to race as planned.
The usual curtain raiser of the Singles Race gave a talking point when Adam McLean; pole sitter for 350cc Class; was excluded because his machine was not fully rule compliant. The pattern was set from the lights for the 350 machines, Mike Hose and Will Loder were fastest away and pulled away from the chasers for the remainder of the Race. At Church Bends they were a couple of metres apart as they swept right and left between the churchyard walls. They exchanged the lead throughout most of the race; but at Church it was Hose who led on each lap as they battled for victory. Crucially, Hose was able to make a small break on lap 6 as they passed a rider from the 250cc class. The gap at Church Bends on that lap was measurable on the watch rather than an inch tape. Hose went on to take the laurels by 2.6s at a speed of 86.270mph. So intense was the race that Hose forgot which lap he was on; he went around again; a bonus for spectators. This victory was the 21st for Mike at the meeting; a key to the clubhouse should be his. The third step on the podium was taken by Adrian Skaife who is becoming a very accomplished rider around Billown.
The 250cc Class should have given a similar duel; but using the wrong breaking point into Ballakeighan on the opening lap caused Andy Hunt to overshoot; this left him last. He worked his way through the field but was never going to catch Barry Davidson who was third overall at 79.197mph. Hunt finished 24.26s in arrears; with Geoff Bates taking third in class on his Honda.
The 1100 Classic Race came next, and this saw Alan Oversby’s 2010 lap record well and truly beaten; it changed hands several times as the race progressed. Oversby’s race record was bettered by the first two. The first rider to Cross Four Ways on lap 1 was Dominic Herbertson (Yamaha); with Adam McLean (Royal Enfield) right behind him. They had opened a gap from Mike Hose, Alan Oversby, Andy Hornby, Jamie Coward and Russ Mountford. At the end of the lap, Herbertson led by just 0.11s from McLean; they were already 3.3s clear of their pursuers. At Church on lap 2, McLean led by 10 metres from Herbertson; Hornby, Hose, Oversby and Russ Mountford filled out the top 6.
Lap 3 saw Herbertson retake the lead at Cross Four Ways; but as they passed Church on lap 4 McLean was once again the leader. Behind them, Hornby and Hose were adding to the spectacle with their own private duel. Lap 5 saw Hose and Oversby retire from the fray and McLean in the lead at Church. He led at the end of the lap and throughout lap 6; a lap that saw the first 4 inside the old lap record. Herbertson was not to be denied; with a final lap at 96.877mph he managed to take a hard fought win by 0.8s from McLean who lapped at 96.769mph; the best ever by a 500cc single. The new race record now stands at 95.174mph; previously 93.867mph (from 2019). Behind them, Hornby just managed to keep third from a hard charging Jamie Coward. Russ Mountford took 5th (in his last ever race meeting); with Will Loder completing the top 6.
The next race, the Geoff Duke Post Classic Junior could not match that excitement. Rhys Hardisty was quickest away from the lights; chased by Chris Moore. Both nursing machines that had mechanical issues and so were not at the full pace. Hardisty, Moore and Tom Snow were the podium place holders through Church on the opening lap. Michal (Indy) Dokoupil was going well in 4th. The lead at the end of the lap was 2.6s; with Snow 1.5s down on Moore. These gaps widened as the race progressed. For Dokoupil the race ended with a high side going out of Cross Four Ways on the 4th lap. Behind the leading trio, Gareth Arnold made up for a slow start to work his way up 4th at the finish. Adrian Skaife and Connor wade completed the top 6. The lap and race records set by the late, and much missed, James Cowton remain intact.
The final race of the evening was the 3 Wheeling Sidecar Race 1. Having broken the lap record unofficially in practice Kieran Clarke (race winner as a passenger with Eddy Wright) and newcomer passenger Andrew Johnson were the red hot favourites to win. They were beaten away from the lights by Bob Dawson / Matthew Sims and it was they who led by 20m at Church Bends on the first lap of 4. They proved to be a tough pair to pass, and they led, by a reduced margin, at Church on lap 2. The two leaders had pulled well clear of the scrap for third that was headed by Mike Bellarby / Andy Smith by a couple of metres from newcomers Jack Gristwood / Alice Smith. As they crossed the line Clarke had managed to edge ahead and having done so really pulled the pin and blitzed the lap record; raising it by 4mph to 91.687mph. On the final lap they hit mechanical problems; raised their hands and pulled off the track leaving Dawson / Sims to take victory and claim the race record at 87.014mph. Gristwood / Smith were jubilant to have taken second in their first race on the circuit. Past winners Danny Quirk /Dylan Weston took the final podium placing. The spectators at Church enjoyed the three times that Albert Kroeplfl / Johannes Penatzer passed them; with sparks flying off the armour in rear of Penatzer’s race suit (leathers are so 1980s) as it scraped along the tarmac.