Stephen Smith won the Mylchreests Group Senior Manx Grand Prix on Monday afternoon with the Alasdair Cowan Racing rider setting a new lap record of 121.796mph as he came home 38.6 seconds ahead of Daniel Ingham (Russell Brook/Brook Built Yamaha) with Jamie Williams (NCE Racing Honda) taking third.
Overnight rain and morning hill fog meant a two-hour delay to proceedings, and there were still several damp patches around the course when racing finally got underway at 1.30pm, but it was Williams who led through Glen Helen on the opening lap by 2.3 seconds.
David McConnachy (Peter Dobson Racing Triumph) slotted into second ahead of Kawasaki-mounted Smith, who was slow off the start line, Ingham, Chris Cook (Kawasaki) and Victor Lopez (Xecretia Road Racing Yamaha) with just two seconds covering the five riders.
It was all change at Ballaugh though with Smith, quickest in qualifying, now getting into his stride and he’d taken over the lead from Williams albeit by just 0.3 seconds. McConnachy had dropped back to third with Ingham and Cook remaining in fourth and fifth as only four seconds covered the leading five riders.
Smith extended his lead to 2.8 seconds as he rounded Ramsey Hairpin for the first time and, as he pressed on over the Mountain that jumped up to a 13.7s after completing his opening lap at 120.973mph. Williams was still in second and his advantage over McConnachy was a slender 2.2 seconds with Ingham only 3.5 seconds adrift. Cook, in turn, was only a further 2.9s behind with Lopez still running in sixth.
Through Glen Helen, Smith had extended his lead over Williams to 18.2 seconds with another four seconds added by Ballaugh and the iconic landmark halfway round the lap saw a shuffling of the leaderboard behind with Cook overhauling both McConnachy and Ingham to take over third.
Smith was extending his advantage through all the sectors and after lapping at 121.796mph – a new lap record – his lead was up to a commanding 37.6 seconds as he pitted for fuel at the end of lap two. Williams was still in second but the gap to new third place man Ingham was down to 5.7 seconds.
Williams only had a half second advantage over Cook with the two both lapping at more than 119mph whilst McConnachy was also well in touch, the Triumph rider only a further 1.4 seconds in arrears, meanwhile Lopez still sat in sixth.
Smith’s lead had come down slightly to 34s as he took Glen Helen on lap three, but Cook had lost time at the pits as he slipped back to sixth although there was still only a mere 13 seconds covering third to sixth.
The order remained the same by the time they reached Ramsey and as they started the fourth and final lap, Smith’s lead over Williams reached 41.2 seconds with Ingham in third, four seconds back. McConnachy still occupied fourth from Lopez and Cook whilst further back newcomer Amalric Blanc was going well in tenth.
Smith had everything under control and was able to ride to his signals for the remainder of the lap and to a clear win of 38.6 seconds but it was Ingham who took second after overhauling Williams at Ballaugh on the final lap.
It was a dramatically tight end to the race though with a tiny margin of only 0.068 seconds separating them at the chequered flag and behind the Manxman, it was McConnachy and Lopez Santos who finished in fourth and fifth, both riders recording their first ever lap over 120mph on their final lap of the Mountain Course.
Cook eventually took sixth and had the consolation of setting a new personal best lap of 119.491mph with Tom Robinson, newcomer Amalric Blanc – who lapped at 117.399mph on his final lap – Andrew Fisher and Jack Fowler completing the top ten.