Hallelujah the Rain and Mist Relent

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 Harvey Brewster

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.

Mike Hammonds