Harrison and Hind Double MGP Winners

The decision to run Friday's races on Thursday looked a good one, with Thursday being dry but blustery. The roads closed at 11:30 am and then there was the usual check around each sector to confirm marshal cover. All was good to go and for the first time this week both races set off as scheduled.

The first race at 12:00 noon was the Manx Grand Prix Supporters Club Lightweight and Ultra Lightweight race, a repeat of yesterday and again reduced to 3 laps. It was a pity that the two races were run so close together, however given the forecast there was little option.

Italian Francesco Curinga (PatonS1-R) was first away of the 32 Lightweight riders on the grid, he was followed 10 seconds later by Dave Butler (Suzuki SV650 / Dave Butler Racing) and then by yesterday's winner, James Hind (TZ250 Yamaha). Fourth away was Gary Vines (TZ250 Yamaha) who was hoping to go further than in Race 1, having retired at Quarterbridge on the first lap. He did get his wish but only got as far as Union Mills in race 2, a bitter disappointment. At the end of the first lap Hind was leading followed by Curinga, Butler, Andrea Majola (Paton S!-R), Michael Rees (ER-6 Kawasaki / GT Superbikes / M1 Consruction) and Brad Vicars (ER-6 Kawasaki / VRS Racing). The order stayed the same for the remainder of the race. Hind broke the 116 mph barrier on his second lap but didn't break his own lap record. The ride of the race was from Swiss newcomer Andrea Majola in finishing fourth The podium was a repeat of Race 1 with James Hind winning his second race of the meeting to add to his third place in the Classic Lightweight TT. There were 24 finishers and 17 replicas were awarded.

Tom Snow took the Ultra Lightweight honours on his Falcon Electrical Honda NSF Moto 3 machine. Radley Hughes (ZXR Kawasaki / Royal Air Force) was second and yesterday's winner Lancelot Unissart (VFR Honda / Pullen Racing / French Assault) was third. All 15 finishers received replicas.

The final race of the 2019 MGP meeting was the Senior Manx Grand Prix, held over 4 laps. The question was whether the overnight work on James Hind machine had cured the oil leak or whether Nathan Harrison would make it a Junior / Senior double. Both riders were moved up from their original starting positions, Hind starting at number 4 and Harrison at number 6, Steve Proctor led the field away starting at number 1.

The Hind / Harrison battle barely got going before it was over, Hind retiring at Ballaugh on the first lap. At the end of the lap Stephen Parsons (ZX-6R Kawasaki / The Peoples Bike) led the way by 3.576 seconds from Harrison (Chris Preston Honda / www.DTHC.co.uk) with Brad Vicars (VRS Racing Honda) in third. At half distance, Parsons was still leading with Darryl Tweed (Honda/ Darryl Tweed Racing) now in third. Another superb pit stop by Harrison's crew put Nathan into the lead on the third lap, one he maintained until the end of the race. A Junior / Senior double for the Manxman, Chris Preston was over the moon. Before this week the late Billy Redmayne had given Chris his best result in winning a 600 Championship at Jurby. Stephen Parsons came home second with Brad Vicars third. The Mike Hailwood Foundation won the team award with Harrison, Parsons and Vicars, an average age of just under 23 years old. The future of road racing is assured with quality young riders such as these and James Hind coming through.

The decision to bring the races forward was vindicated as the predicted rain arrived over night. As ever the comings and goings of the last fortnight will be reviewed once the dust settles and recommendations will be made. My biggest concern is the lack of marshals at the beginning and at the end of the practices / races. It cannot be right that sessions are lost due to marshalling cover and this needs to be addressed.

It was interesting to notice how the radio coverage changed once the Classic TT was over. The format used at the TT was in place for the Classic TT with the same panel of speakers on each show. It lacks spontaneity, the Chris Kinley chat show reappeared once the Classic TT was over and this brought more variety. The TT format needs to be reviewed before next June, there has to be a place for a morning chat show (Chris Kinley) and an afternoon show (Jo Pack) to entertain and involve the listeners. The TT franchise for the radio includes a clause that means the event organisers control the advertising that is featured. The radio station cannot sell its own advertising that may or may not be in conflict / competition with the main sponsor. This lack of revenue reduces the stations ability to operate outside broadcasts such as the chat shows from the Grandstand.


Nathan Harrison (Chris Preston Honda / Quayside Tyres) on his way to a Senior MGP victory

Second place man Stephen Parsons on the loudest machine in the race!

Brad Vicars heading for the final rostrum place.

A delighted Nathan Harrison, Junior and Senior MGP winner

Brad Vicars (seated), Stephen Parsons, Dave Ronan (Hailwood Foundation) and Nathan Harrison, winners of the Senior MGP Team Award for the Hailwood Foundation.

As ever racing on the Mountain Course had its ups and downs, for the victors congratulations, for those injured I wish a speedy and full recovery and to the family and friends of Chris Swallow my deepest condolences.

Mike Hammonds