An emotional Jamie Coward achieved a lifetime’s ambition when he took victory on the Mountain Course. Jamie had achieved 6 podium finishes; including 3 second place finishes; at the Classic TT, and second place at the TT; prior to today’s Classic Junior Race.
After a delay of 3.5 hours; spent waiting for low lying mist to clear from the western areas of the course; the race sprang into life in just about perfect conditions. It was lap record holder and winner of the race in 2014, Lee Johnston, who was fastest to Glen Helen on the opening lap; he led by 4.9s from Jamie Coward. Last year’s winner, Dominic Herbertson was third just 0.5s down on Coward. Michael Rutter, Hefyn Owen and Alan Oversby completed the leader board. Johnston edged further ahead at Ballaugh and as he left Ramsey to begin the mountain climb, he led by 6s from Coward; with Herbertson 8s further in arrears. Rutter, leader on the road was 4th; Derek Sheils 5th and Oversby 6th.
Johnson was fastest on the sector to the Bungalow; where he led by 8.82s; Coward was now 12s ahead of Herbertson. As they crossed the line to begin lap 2 Johnston’s lap at 103.383mph gave him a 9.06s advantage over Coward. Herbertson was 10.6s further behind; but edging away from Rutter, Sheils and Owen.
At Glen Helen on lap 2, Johnston led by 9.8s; but at Ballaugh there was a change of momentum; Coward had reduced his deficit to 6.7s. Oversby did not make it to Ballaugh; he parked up at Sarah’s Cottage. Coward led on the road as the riders left Ramsey for the second time; with Rutter not far behind and trying to take a tow. The lead on corrected time for Johnston was 6s as they accelerated out of Parliament Square and on towards May Hill. Herbertson; Rutter, Sheils and Owen continued to occupy the leader boards places.
Less than one minute later the race was to end in disappointment for Johnston, when he was forced to retire from the fray at the Gooseneck. At the Bungalow, Coward had a commanding lead of 28s over Herbertson; Rutter held the final podium place 14.5s down on Herbertson. Sheils, Owen and Daniel Sayle completed the leader board.
After setting the fastest lap of the race at 104.053mph, Coward charged off towards Bray Hill for the final time with a lead of 27.7s. Herbertson was 14.7s ahead of Rutter. At Glen Helen on lap 3 Coward and Rutter were still quite close together. On the clock, Coward led by 34s; with Rutter having taken 5.5s out of Herbertson’s advantage. Rutter was sticking close to Coward and benefitting from the tow, by Ballaugh he had hauled another 4s back. At Ramsey he had cut another 2.7s out of Herbertson’s advantage. At the Bungalow Coward was 40s in the lead; but it was from Rutter, for whom Coward’s tow had given him a 1.5s advantage over Herbertson.
Herbertson aware of his position responded and was just 0.9s behind Rutter at Cronk ny Mona. Coward had no problems and to popular acclaim, secured his maiden win by 37.919s. With the aid of the fastest final lap of 103.941mph, Rutter took second place by just 0.35s from Herbertson; who was more than happy to be on the podium. Sheils, Owen and Sayle held station to complete the final leader board. First single cylinder machine to finish was the Ripley land AJS of Paul Jordan in 10th place.
Locate.im Junior Classic TT
- Jamie Coward Craven Honda 103.435mph
- Michael Rutter Ripley Land Honda 102.449mph
- Dominic Herbertson Davies Honda 102.440mph
- Derek Sheils Greenall Honda 100.541mph
- Hefyn Owen Owen Honda 100.318mph
- Daniel Sayle Chapman Honda 100.198mph