A trip to the Grandstand in the
morning to sign on in the press office and a walk round the paddock.
They have changed the exit to the car park in Nobles Park so that
you are not competing with the traffic entering the park. A hole has
been cut into the wall of St Ninian's Church grounds and the traffic
exits through here and then down onto St Ninians Road, which still
has a temporary one way system in place. A definite improvement on
There are plenty of people milling around the Grandstand and paddock
areas. The scrutineering bays are open and the bikes are queuing to
be checked. The Hailwood Centre is open for business for hot drinks,
sandwiches and snacks. If you are visiting the Grandstand and need
refreshments then go to the Hailwood Centre, their profits go
directly into supporting Manx Grand Prix Newcomers and some TT
riders. The coffee is good and it is cheaper than the commercial
As predicted by the Met Office the weather improved throughout the
morning and the sun came out, a strong breeze blowing the clouds
away. The roads closed on time at one o'clock, the Mountain road
shutting an hour earlier. Marshals new and old acquainted
themselves, some having not seen eachother since last years TT. They
sweep and clear the debris off the road to make it safe for race.
Practicing was due to start at 1:30 pm but Gary Thompson, Clerk of
the Course, delayed the start by 50 minutes to allow the the damp
patches under the trees to dry and to reposition some marshals so
that every marshalling point was correctly manned.
The newcomers speed controlled lap was first to go, five solos
followed 5 minutes later by the sidecars. The supersport and
lightweight classes followed a few minutes later. Conditions were
improving all of the time but the wind over the Mountain was an
issue at all the traditional spots. Lee Johnston,, Ashcourt Racing
Yamaha, and Ian Hutchinson, Honda, led the field away.
Dean Harrison set the fastest speed of the afternoon (126.09 mph)
and when interviewed said: “I hit traffic early in the session, but
it as the session went on and we got some rubber on the track. And
going into windy corner I was leant right over in a straight line!
However, 126 on the first night is good going.”:
Photographs courtesy of Harvey
Fastset man of the afternoon, the irrepressible Dean Harrison
Michael Dunlop, Connor Cummins, Jamie Coward and James Hillier also
put in strong performances. Jamie Coward topped the lightweight
leaderboard with a lap of 119.96 mph, he was followed by Michael
Dunlop, Paul Jordan and Derek McGee. Jamie commented: “The Kawasaki
definitely showed what it’s capable of but there’s still a few
things that we can improve on. It’s a fair achievement on the first
Maria Costello enjoyed her first closed road sidecar lap as a
newcomer before clocking 109.40mph on her Paton in the Solo
Photographs courtesy of Harvey Brewster.
Maria Costello and Susan Jenness Trophy winner Julie Canipa
Sadly New Zealander
Daniel Mettam came off his bike at the Black Hut in the Supersport
session and was taken by airmed to Nobles Hospital, but his
condition was not reported to be serious. The Mountain Road will be
closed on Monday Morning between Ramsey Hairpin and the Bungalow to
repair the road at the Black Hut.
The session finished at 4 :45 pm with many riders completing 4 or 5
laps, it was a shame that the sidecars weren't given a run out for
the last hour as conditions improved throughout the afternoon.
Photographs courtesy of
Danial Mettam before his Black Hut Spill