Friday 23rd August 2019

There is a light at the end of the Tunnel

The weather on Thursday afternoon didn't improve as originally forecast however the roads were closed on time at 6 pm. Gary Thompson eventually decided that the Junior / Senior Classic bikes and the Lightweight / Ultra-Lightweight MGP machines could have a one lap untimed practice which commenced at 7:35 pm. The road was wet all the way round the course except of a little part in the Kirk Michael area, very similar conditions to Tuesday night without the visibility issues. The lap counted towards qualifying if not the time. David Stiff, a newcomer from Pickering was glad to get out, Colin Croft escorting him round on his controlled lap. His engine had bown up on Saturday night at Union Mills and it has been a long and frustrating wait to get out. Did he enjoy his lap? frankly no, the conditions were foul but he was relieved to complete a lap, now for qualification.

Gary announced that the reserve practice session on Friday afternoon would be taken to give the riders extra qualifying time. This decision meant that some of Classic TT events had to be rearranged, including the Charlie Williams chat shows and the Purple Helmets in the pit lane.

The opening event was the showing of 'No Limit' on the Big Screen at 9:30 am on Friday morning, a George Formby and TT classic film. The Greenlight TV crew complete with Steve Parrish and Steve Plater were there to record the event.

'No Limit' first thing in the morning!!

True to form the Friday afternoon practice session was delayed due to mist on the mountain but did eventually commence at ten past two, an hour and twenty minutes late. Michael Dunlop, who is still recovering from his injuries, had his first outing of the week having only arrived on the Island on Wednesday. He took his Team Classic Suzuki round is 119..89 mph, fastest of the session was Dean Harrison's Silicone Engineering Kawasaki Superbike Classic TT at 124.56 mph. Dean's luck was to run out in the Classic TT Lightweight practice when his shoulder hit the bank at Ballig causing him to stop at Laurel Bank. He was kept in hospital overnight with internal shoulder injuries. Bruce Anstey continued his remarkable comeback by topping the Lightweight leaderboard with a lap of 116.99 mph. Anstey bettered his lap in the evening session to 117.291 mph, second in that session was the hugely impressive nineteen year old James Hind, Yamaha, who lapped at 113.542 mph. Derek Shiels, Greenhall Racing Kawasaki, topped the Superbikes at 124. 33 mph.

Before Fridays two sessions only 94 timed practice laps had been completed for the Classic TT in just two classes, the Lightweight and the Superbikes. On Friday a total of 402 laps were completed across all four classes. The information for the MGP is difficult to calculate as the 'fastest laps' were published and not 'all laps' for some of the classes.

The programme for Saturday has been amended so that that there are practice sessions at the start and at the end of the day. The forecast is good for the weekend and into Monday, so fingers crossed.


Michael Sweeney's 350 Honda being readied for Friday's practice

Newcomer David Stiff before lapping at 86.588 on Friday evening.

Classic Bikes lined up in the pit lane prior to practice

Mike Hammonds