Pre-TT Classic Races


Racing around the Colas Billown Course was split over two days, four races on Saturday evening and six races on Sunday afternoon. The traditional Friday, Saturday and Monday programme had to be changed due to the changes to the TT schedule. The Pre-TT Classic had to fit around the new schedule; the S100 had lost the Post TT Races due to the Senior TT being held on the final Saturday of the TT fortnight.. 


The Isle of Man was once again bathed in glorious sunshine on Saturday evening. Unlike the TT, the traditional on-course commentary points have been maintained at the Colas Billown Course. Chris Kinley at the start / finish holding area, Rob Pritchard at Cross Four Ways and anchor man Tim Glover on the start line. Tim calls it the best commentary position in the world. . Chris has been doing his role for many years and took over the role from the late Geoff Cannell, likewise Tim Glover superseded the excellent Maurice Maudsley when he retired. The Cross Four Ways commentary position was held by 9 times TT winner Charlie Williams for many years until Manx Radio changed to an all Island based commentary team for the TT and Billown races. Roy Moore took over from Charlie before retiring in 2019.


The first race in the programme was the SP-R Singles Race, this very quickly became a two horse race between the 350cc Lea Gourlay Bultaco of Mike Hose and the 350cc Greeves Oulton of Will Loder. Will's father John was a winner at the Pre TT Classic in 2004 but sadly lost his life a year later when he crashed his 499cc Seeley at the 33rd Milestone during practice for the 2005 MGP.


The Bultaco won the day with Mike beating Will by 2.597 seconds at the finish. Barry Davidson, 250cc J + G Honda, won the 250cc class and was third overall. Second in the 250cc class was Andy Hunt, 250cc Ducati Monza and he finished just off the podium in fourth position.There wasn't a lot of wasted time by the S100 Club and the riders for race 2 were soon making their way round to the start / finish straight. The AD Hewitt Dental Practice 1100cc Race was a real cracker with battles all the way down the field . At the front it was the Flitwick Motorcycles 499cc Royal Enfield of Adam McLean against the Davies Motorsport 500cc Yamaha of Dominic Herbertson. The lead changed hands several times but at the end it was Dominic Herbertson who took the top honours by 0.797 seconds. Andy Hornby, 750cc Triumph RPS Triple just edged third place from Jaime Coward, 500cc Craven Manx Norton / Ted Woof /Craven Classic Racing, by 0.771 seconds. Herbertson created a new lap record on lap 7 of 96.877mph and a new race record of 95.174mph.


Next up was the Geoff Duke Junior Post Classic Superbike Race with 18 riders on the grid. It wasn't a procession but Pontypool's Rhys Hardisty, 250cc Yamaha / RHR Racing / Wilson & Wilding / Kaymac, was a clear winner by 4.406 seconds. The top four finishers all rode Yamaha machines, Chris Moore, 250cc Yamaha / Outhwaite Plant / Silverstar / iHeat, was second, Tom Snow, 250cc TZ Yamaha was third and Gareth Arnold on a 250cc Yamaha TZ SKE was fourth. Thirteen of the eighteen starters finished.


The final race of the evening was the 3 Wheeling Sidecar Race 1. Newcomers Keiran Clarke / Andrew Johnson, 1066 KCR Moorespeed BMW / Eddy's Moto, were the pole sitters and led for the first three laps until dropping out with mechanical problems on the final lap. This left the door open for Bob Dawson & Mathew Sims, 1070cc DCM BMW / Dawson Classic Motorcycles to take the honours from newcomers Jack Gristwood / Alice Smith, 1070cc BMW / KCR in second and Danny Quirk / Dylan Weston, 1272cc Bellas Vincent, in third. It was an emotional podium from the delighted crews.


It was a great evening's racing, the highlight being Dominic Herbertson's win in the AD Hewitt Dental Practice 1100cc Race. It was a far better way of spending a Saturday evening rather than sitting in front of the goggle box.!!


The Isle of Man was once again basking in glorious sunshine on Sunday afternoon for the final days racing at his year's Pre-TT Classic. Months of planning and the event is all over in a flash. The roads around the Colas Billown Course closed at 1pm and had to be open no later than 6 pm, thus allowing church goers time to attend their services. There were six races scheduled including the Consolation Race for riders who didn't qualify for the main races. 


The first race of the afternoon was the Greystones LLC Senior Classic Race and the drama started before the race began.  Dominic Herbertson's Davies Motorsports 500cc Yamaha blew its engine at Ballanorris and crashed on the approach to Ballabeg on the outlap from the holding area. Coincidentally Dominic's father, Mark, had crashed at Ballabeg on Saturday. Both were unhurt. Pole sitter Jamie Coward's 500cc Craven Manx Norton also didn't make it to the start line. This left the race open for Adam McLean, Flitwick Motorcycles 499cc Royal Enfield Bullet, to take his maiden victory at the Pre-TT Classic. Second was the 500cc Honda of Alan Oversby and third was the magnificent looking and sounding 500cc MV Agusta 3 Black Eagle Racing of Andy Hornby.

The magnificent Black Eagle Racing 500cc MV Agusta 3 of Andy Hornby

The sixth race on the programme was the Quine & Cubbon Printers 250Classic & 125 Post Classic Race.  Twenty bikes lined up on the grid, five of which were only 125's. Cleethorpes' Jeff Smith was the first of the two 125's to finish, he brought his 125cc Honda RS home in 5th place. Keith Shannon, 250cc Suzuki TR Keith Shannon Racing, won the race and claimed his fifth Pre-TT Classic Victory.


Dominic Herbertson made amends for his spill earlier by winning Vintage MCC (IOM Section) 350 Classic Race on his Davies Motosport 350cc Honda. The story of this race was the battle for second between Adam McLean's 335cc Royal Enfield GP6 / Flitwick motorcycles and Barry Davison's 350ccTeam Gimbert Honda. The former took the runner up spot by 0.421 seconds. Fourth, riding in his last ever road race, was ex TT rider Russell Mountford on his 350cc Ruthless Racing tBC Honda. A good end to a sterling career.

Vintage MCC (IOM Section) - 3500cc Junior Race winner
Dominic Herberston, Davies Motorsport 350cc Honda, at Cross Four Ways


To ensure everyone gets at least one race the S100 Club run a 350 / 500cc consolation race. Terence Sansom was a clear winner by 4.938 seconds on his Paul & Dawn Matravers 500cc Honda 500/4 from the Bob Jackson 315cc Suzuki of Richard Ford. The final solo race of the day, the UGGLY - Post Classic Senior Superbike Race was a cracker and to the delight of the locals brought a Manx victory. It was a battle royale between Manxman Joe Yeardsley and Halifax's Jamie Coward. The Mistral  Racing's 750cc Kawasaki of Joe Yeardsley beat the 750cc KTS Kawasaki Racing powered by Steadman of Jamie Coward by  0.599 seconds. Paul Jordan took third place on his &50cc Mistral Kawasaki. Twenty two of the twenty six starters finished the race. Joe Yeardsley broke both the race and lap records, his fastest lap being 106.535mph on lap 6 of the 7 lap race.


The final race of the day and of the 2023 Pre-TT Classic was the 3 Wheeling Sidecar Race 2. the result was called at the end of the first lap when #11 Danny Quirk and Dylan Weston crashed exiting Stadium bends on the second lap . The race was red flagged and the result called from the end of the first lap. Danny Quirk broke a collar bone and Dylan Weston suffered leg fractures and was flown to Liverpool for further treatment.


Newcomers Kieran Clarke & Andrew Johnson, 1066cc KCR Moorespeed BMW / Eddy's Moto took their maiden victory from Bob Dawson & Mathew Sims, 1070ccDCM BMW / Dawson Classic Motorcycles in second and Jack Gristwood & Alice Smith, 1070cc BMW / KCR.in third. It was a disappointing end to a great three days racing.

Sidecar Race 2 winners Keiran Clarke & Andrew Johnson,
1066cc KCR Moorespeed BMW, at Iron Gate.

Sidecar debutants Jack Gristwood and Alice Smith, 1070cc BMW / KCR,
who finished 2nd and 3rd in the two sidecar races.


Mike Hammonds