Saturday was a complete washout, no
practicing, no racing. The Sunday road closing order is restricted
for religious reasons i.e. allowing people to go to church. Daily,
Gary Thompson (Clerk of the Course) has published practice schedules
only to have screw them up and put them in the bin. Sunday was no
different, early morning rain cleared as forecasted but the mist
lingered over the hills and mountain.
In order to maximise as much track time as possible the roads were
closed at 12:45 pm with the bikes due off at 1:30 pm. There were
three half hour delays and the sidecars eventually got away at 2:55
pm, and another schedule was written. This time, much to everyone's
relief, it was followed to the letter.
The crowd swelled for the start of practice, it is remarkable how
patient and understanding TT fans are. First off were the sidecars
who were given 45 minutes to achieve a qualifying time. John Holden
and Lee Cain ( Honda/Silicone Engineering/ Barnes Racing) topped the
leaderboard lapping at 114.99 mph just 0.019 of a second slower than
their Tuesday's fastest time. Conditions over the mountain not being
good with the riders having to contest strong winds. On Sunday
John's wife, Fiona Baker - Holden, presented the Simon Andrews Fund
with a cheque for £6,100.34p. Fiona having received support from the
fund in her rehabilitation from last years with Dad Tony. The money
being raised at a fundraising event that included Conrad Harrison
and Andy Winkle amongst other riders. The Birchall brothers set the
second fastest time 0.438 seconds slower at 114.93 mph. Tim Reeves
with Mark Wilkes in the chair failed to complete a lap, breaking
down on the course.
John Holden / Lee Cain, courtesy of
The solos were given seventy minutes for the Superbike, Superstock
and Supersport machines to set a qualifying standard. 247 laps were
completed across the classes with consistently impressive Connor
Cummins (Honda/Milenco by Padgett's Motorcycles) topping the
Superbikes at 128.92mph from Dean Harrison (Kawasaki/Silicone
Engineering) and David Johnson (Honda/Honda Racing).
Peter Hickman (BMW/Smiths Racing BMW)
set the fastest time in the Superstocks lapping at 128.50 mph from
Connor Cummins and Gary Johnson ((Kawasaki/RAF Regular & Reserves/
Lee Hardy Racing). Lee Johnston (Yamaha/ Ashcourt Racing) topped the
Supersport class at 122.93 mph from Gary Johnson and James Hillier
(Kawasaki/Quattro Plant Wicked Coatings Kawasaki). ! Who Despite all
the weather issues a productive session was had by nearly all of the
competitors, one of those who wasn't able to take advantage of the
track time was Michael Dunlop. He broke down at the Mountain Box on
his first circuit and had no chance of getting back to the pits in
time to take out another machine.
Lee Johnston, courtesy of Harvey Brewster
The hugely disappointing TT Zero race, it just does not attract
enough entries. They completed the afternoon's practice with a one
lap practice. Only two bikes managed to complete the lap with
Michael Rutter (Mugen/ Bathams Mugen) fastest at 1170163 mph
followed by Ian Lougher (Idaten X RE/Team Mirai with IRL / Mark
Coverdale) at 95.360 mph. John McGuinness (Mugen/Bathams Mugen)
didn't get back from the solo practice in time to take out his Mugen.
There is no accounting for some people's stupidity, a spectator in
the Laurel Bank area had an altercation with the marshals and pulled
an axe out of his rucksack and threatened them!! No doubt he regrets
his actions by now.
Bushies was heaving on Sunday with the evening fare of The Ballaghs,
a Manx folk rock band, followed by the Buncha Jankers on the main
stage. One guy played his air guitar for 3 hours continuously and
didn't break a string!!
Racing commences on Monday starting with a four lap RST Superbike
race followed by the Sidecars ( 3 laps), a two lap lightweight
practice and a one lap TT Zero practice. The roads will then open,
to allow people to get home from work, from 4:30 pm until 6 pm, they
will then close again for the Monster Supersport race.
It's been a difficult time for all concerned but hopefully by the
end of Monday we will be nearly back on schedule.