Report from Geoff Cannell
Practising for the Manx Grand Prix really came alight last evening, when the lap record for the Senior Classic event was well and truly unofficially shattered.
Riding a 500cc twin-cylinder Italian Paton, thirty-one-year-old double TT winner Ryan Farquhar from Dungannon took 16 seconds off the official record held since 1997 by Bob Heath. His average speed was 108.093mph and last year’s Ultra Lightweight winner Alan Oversby (Norton) from Bolton-le-Sands was only a split second slower at 108.089mph.
The pair battled it out side-by-side for two laps and when they become joined by last year’s winner Chris Palmer (Matchless) in next Monday’s race, the prospects will be mouth-watering. Steve Linsdell rode a Paton to second place behind the Norton of Palmer last year and Northern Irishman Farquhar is keen to atone for a disappointing TT. Oversby has so far been out of luck in the class, retiring with mechanical trouble when leading on at least two occasions.
Elsewhere, all bar one of the best speeds from Monday evening’s session were beaten. The fastest lap of the night was by Adam Barclay, a 37-year-old carpenter from Tenby. Riding a 750cc Suzuki, he lapped at 115.734mph, marginally faster than Swedish competitor Mats Nilsson on a 600cc Honda at 115.648mph.
Only the times in the Newcomers’ Ultra Lightweight class were not beaten. Steve Linsdell’s son Ollie did 101.178mph on his 400cc Yamaha on Monday and kept the advantage through last night. In the 750cc newcomers, Andrew Brady (Suzuki) at 109.460mph took over from Noel Patterson.
Mike Hose from Wigan served notice that the Lightweight Classic might not be the usual Suzuki walkover when he headed the class at 92.015mph on his Ariel Arrow.
TT star Ian Lougher topped the speeds in the Junior Classic on his Honda twin, doing 101.005mph; Andrew Kirkwood was best in the Ultra Lightweight at 105.485mph; and Brian Spooner was fastest in the Lightweight at 111.288mph but later spilled at Quarter Bridge. He was unhurt, as was Neil Kent from Boston who crashed at Ballacraine.
In all, 312 machines were passed through scrutineering.
The third practice session takes place this evening, with the roads closing at six o’clock. First off at 6.15 will be riders in all classes except the Classic and Ultra Lightweight, who will have the second section starting at ten-past seven.