All Systems are
Go....or maybe not!!
The opening practices for the Festival of Motorcycling (MGP /
Classic TT) are due to commence today at 5:20 pm on Saturday; the
roads will close at 5 pm.
The first practice session should have started with the speed
controlled lap for all newcomers, there are 31 in the MGP and 5 in
the Classic TT. The timed session was due to follow at 5:35pm with
Senior / Junior MGP machines along with the Lightweight and
Superbike Classic machines. The Lightweight and Ultra Lightweight
MGP machines along with the Senior and Junior Classic TT bikes would
then start their practice at 6:35 pm. The evening was due to end
with another untimed lap for the newcomers.
That was the plan, sadly it didn't happen. The weather was fine but
breezy and the track conditions were dry with a few damp patches
under the trees in the usual places. The issue was the lack of
marshals, sector after sector reported that they were under allowed
manning levels in certain areas. Appeals went out, over the tetra
radio, for Deputy Sector Marshals with excess to minimum manning to
release these marshals to support the other areas. As you can
imagine this took a considerable time, Marshal Course cars were used
to transport the marshals to where they were needed.
Marshals now in place, a rain front coming in from the west had
arrived and soaked the course from Ballacraine through to Ramsey,
causing another delay. The entertainment at Quarterbridge, up until
7:30 pm, had been three Travelling Marshals, one Marshals Course car
and one Course Inspection car.
All of the nights timed sessions had beed scrapped, however, the
untimed newcomers timed controlled lap did get away at 7:35 pm much
to the relief of all concerned. At least the hardy spectators who
stayed saw a little bit of action.
The proposed Sunday afternoon practice was called off on Sunday
morning due to a lack marshals!! There needs to be a thorough
investigation regarding marshal cover and how delays / postponements
can be avoided. The involvement of external agencies such as the
Civil Defence, Adventure Scouts etc to support in times of shortages
could or should be investigated. The disappointment to the
officials, riders / teams, marshals and spectators was clear to see
on Saturday evening. The creditability of the event is put into
Practice will continue daily throughout this coming week, marshal
cover and weather permitting.
Interesting there is no one way system across the Mountain, the road
will remain two way for the duration of the event. On the bright
those spectating and stuck on top will not have an hours delay
waiting for the cones to be put out before the road opens. The Roads
Open car will do a continuous lap.
The tradition of winning a MGP race and then not being able to
defend the title no longer applies. 2018 winners Andy Farrell
(Lightweight MGP), Darryl Tweed (Ultra-Lightweight) are competing as
are Alistair Haworth and Nigel Moore, both being previous winners.
The Classic TT entry is littered wit TT stars, however Peter Hickman
and Ian Hutchinson haven't entered. It was great to see Bruce Anstey
looking fit and well in the paddock and raring to get back onto the
Mountain Course. Bruce is riding the Milenco by Padgett's
Motorcycles 250 Honda in the Lightweight Classic; he is the current
lap record holder of this class. What price a Bruce win?
Michael Dunlop is entered in the Superbike Classic TT, the big
question is will he be fit enough to tackle 4 laps of the Mountain
Course? He broke his pelvis when he high sided exiting Castletown
Corner during the S100, when nursing a shoulder injury sustained in
a car rally crash a week or to earlier. Subsequently he has won the
superbike races at his home circuit in Armoy, even though he was on
crutches and needed assistance to get on and off his bikes; shades
of Mick Grant years ago at the TT. Following his success at Armoy he
pulled out of the Superbike races at the Ulster Grand Prix. Michael
is a determined and complex character and not everyone's cup of tea.
One thing is for sure and that is that any race meeting with Michael
in the line up is the better for it. A fit Michael Dunlop will be a
rider to watch and I, for one, hope that he can push for a much
needed confidence boosting victory.
The Classic TT Races will be celebrating the achievements of TT
Legend Steve Hislop during the festival. A host of past and present
stars will be in the Classic TT parade lap including Giacomo
Agostini, Carl Fogarty, Chris Walker, Ian Simpson, Brian Morrison,
John McGuinness, Michael Rutter, Steve Plater and Steve Parrish.
The Festival of Jurby, hosted by the Vintage Motorcycle Club, is
being held on Sunday 25th August will have Giacomo Agostini and Carl
Fogarty heading the Legends line up.
Sammy Miller is bringing over a 250cc ex-factory Mondial and 250
Rennsport NSU. If you are visiting Hampshire and particularly the
New Forest, the Sammy Miller Museum in New Milton is a must to
visit. There is something for everyone connected with motorcycles to
be interested in.
Dick Shepherd will have his 1965 Daytona 200 wining 500cc Triumph
twin and a current brand new Moto 2 Triumph. Des Connor will have
his MV and Dennis Bunning will be riding his 250cc Honda-6. It
should be a great day out.
Dominic Herbertson and Jaime Coward
sharing a joke
looking fit and well, chatting to Connor Cummins.
Newcomer Terence Sansom completing
his speed controlled lap on his Junior Classic TT 350 Honda
French newcomer William Piquet,
125 RS Honda, clearly delighted with his first ever closed roads lap
around the Mountain Course