Conor in Hospital and the Birchalls Unofficially Rewrite the Record Books

The traditional Thursday afternoon practice session has now been moved to Friday afternoon and Friday's evening session moved to Thursday evening. Prior to the two year Covid hiatus the Thursday afternoon session was used as a dress rehearsal for the Manx Radio on Course commentary team. In the two stroke era it was used to check the jetting when the atmospherics were more akin to race conditions.

To the die hard TT supporter the on course commentary points are greatly missed. However, with today's speeds, is there enough time to go to Glen Helen and then to Ramsey Hairpin to commentate on a meaningful number of riders and create a leaderboard? Some say of course there is, others say the opposite. For first time visitors they will never know what the on course commentary was like and will enjoy the new set up.

Social media has been awash with criticism for all the commentators apart from Chris Kinley. I think the criticism of ex racers Jenny Tinmouth and Mike Booth is unnecessary and uncalled for. They are not professional commentators but are expressing a riders eye view of what a rider is doing and how he or she might be feeling. They also have to answer some very banal and inane questions from Ashley House, there is nothing like throwing a curveball!!

The criticism aimed at Ashley House and to a lesser extent Chris Boyde has some credence. It is the former's first time commentating at the TT and that may account for some of his errors in identifying places and riders. They are both guilty of concentrating on sector times and lap records for the top few and not reporting on the field.

The news regarding Conor Cummins isn't good. He has been admitted to hospital with a viral infection and will not return to the Paddock until Monday at the earliest. This is a real blow for him, the Padgett's by Milenco Team and for all the fans, Manx or otherwise, who will not see him race in Sunday's Superbike Race.

Pre-TT Classic sidecar racer Danny Quirk has thanked the marshals and medics who helped him and passenger Dylan Weston after their spill after Stadium Bend at the Pre TT Classic. Danny broke a collarbone and Dylan was airlifted to Liverpool with a dislocated hip and shoulder as well as suffering two broken ankles. It was a sad end to a brilliant three days at the Colas Billown Course.

Thursday evening qualifying was again held in glorious conditions. The Supertwins had a night off so it was an extended session for the Superbike, Superstock and Supersport machines. The quickest of the night was Peter Hickman, BMW M1000RR K66 Monster Energy by FHO Racing, in the Superbike class. In total 96 laps were completed during the session at a distance of 3,622.08 miles.

Peter Hickman BMW M1000RR K66 Monster Energy by FHO Racing BMW

Michael Dunlop topped the Superstock times with a lap of 132.728mph on his MD Racing Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SC82. He also set the fastest Supersport time with a lap of 127.557mph on his MD Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 BN6. Coincidentally 96 Supersport laps were completed during the session covering 3,622.08 miles.

Newcomer Mathieu Lagrive, Yamaha YZF-R1M 2KS Optimark Road Racing Team, set his fast lap of the week at 119.167mph mph before coming off at Laurel Bank. The Frenchman was airlifted to hospital with suspected fractures. Lagrive was an experienced road racer who had won the International Road Racing Championship Supersport Class in 2018 and 2019.

Paul Jordan had an interesting evening, he broke down at Casey's which is the corner before the Black Hut / Stonebreakers Hut. He managed to negotiate himself back to the Bungalow only to miss the tram travelling to Laxey. He waited for the next one but didn't make it back to the Grandstand in time to go out again.

Earlier in the week Stephen Parsons broke down in the north of the Island and had a torrid time getting back to the start having got lost on the back roads. His movements were tracked by the GPS system on his bike showing him going to Jurby and Ballaugh before getting to Ramsey to take the coast back to Douglas.

The highlight of the night came in the Sidecar Qualifying which set off at ten past eight. Being last away they have to contend with the setting sun which can, at times, be full in their faces and blinding. First away were the Birchalls, Honda LCR Wyckham Blackwell - Birchall Racing, and they weren't hanging around. They unofficially broke the sidecar lap record in a time of 18 minutes 57.450 seconds, an average speed of 119.414mph. This eclipsed their official lap record of 119.250mph. With track conditions improving daily the first 120mph sidecar lap must now be a possibility in race week. A total of 35 laps were completed covering a race distance of 1,320.55 miles.

Irish sidecar pairing Terry O'Reilly and Liam Gordon came to grief at the 27th Milestone with the passenger complaining of back pains. The bike went down the mountainside and had to be winchedback up at the end of the qualifying session.

Earlier in the afternoon the Mike Hailwood Foundation gave out their rewards to a number of riders. These included 2022 Senior MGP winner Stephen Smith, Italian Francesco Curinga, Manx newcomer Ryan Cringle, French rider Pierre-Yves Bian and Manx rider Paul Cassidy. The chairs were not to be out done and their recipients were TT stalwart Greg Lambert & Andrew Haynes, Michael Russell & Vicky Cooke and Mike Jackson & Jake Roberts. The Mike Hailwood Foundation is highly involved in bringing MGP newcomers to the Island to view the Mountain Course and receive expert tuition from Foundation director / travelling marshal Jim Hunter as well as TT Rider Liaison Officers Richard 'Milky' Quayle and John Barton.

Mike Hailwood Award recipient Stephen Smith Honda CBR1000RR-R Fireblade SP SC82 DP Coldplaning / TC- Racing

Mike Hailwood recipients Mike Jackson and Jake Roberts Suzuki DMR A.V Craine & Sons Ltd

TT stalwart, sidecar racer and instructor Greg Lambert


Mike Hammonds