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
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
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