Fastest in the opening practice was Ballymoney’s Adrian Archibald riding a TAS Suzuki GSXR. He lapped two seconds outside 19 minutes in the Junior 600cc class, an average speed of 118.94mph. Just 4.2 seconds slower came team-mate Bruce Anstey from New Zealand at 118.50mph.
Quickest was Isle of Man champion Paul Hunt on the Cringle Construction 1000cc Suzuki. He lapped in 19 minutes 31.9 seconds, an average speed of 115.90mph. Second was Ian Armstrong from Sowerby Bridge, on a 1000cc Yamaha in 19 minutes 46.5 seconds, 114.48mph. Third was Carl Rennie from Burscough (1000 Suzuki) in 19 minutes 51.7 seconds, 113.98mph.
Fastest was Philip Stewart from Rothienorman (Yamaha) in 21 minutes 49.9 seconds, an average speed of 103.69mph. That was 3.1 seconds faster than Alan Bennie from Strathmiglo on a similar machine, lapping in 21 minutes 53 seconds, 103.45mph. Third was Adrian Crossan from Hungerford (Kawasaki) in 21 minutes 57.1 seconds, 103.13mph.
Ultra Lightweight 125cc:
Former winner Robert Dunlop from Ballymoney set the fastest time of 21 minutes 07.6 seconds, an average speed of 107.15mph, with last year’s victor Chris Palmer from Castletown 8.1 seconds slower at 106.47mph. Matt Jackson from Blackpool was third in 22 minutes 17.4 seconds, 101.56mph. All three were on Hondas.
Ryan Farquhar from Dungannon headed the field on the Harker Kawasaki. He lapped in 19 minutes 42.8 seconds, an average speed of 114.84mph. Just less than four seconds behind came Mark Parrett from Midhurst (Yamaha) at 114.46mph, with Dean Silvester from Stanstead (Yamaha) third at 113.26mph.
As mentioned, Adrian Archibald and Bruce Anstey were the top two, with John McGuinness (Yamaha) third in 19 minutes 49.1 seconds, 114.23mph.
Anstey and Archibald reversed their 600cc Junior order, the Kiwi the faster in this class in 19 minutes 33.9 seconds, an average speed of 115.71mph. Archibald did 19-41.9, 114.92, a difference of eight seconds. Local rider Tommy Clucas was third in 19 minutes 44.5 seconds, 114.67mph.
Eight-times winner Dave Molyneux topped the charts on his futuristic Honda Special with new passenger Daniel Sayle in the chair. They lapped in 20 minutes 18.2 seconds, an average speed of 111.50mph. Former winners Roy Hanks and Dave Wells from Erdington (Yamaha) were second in
21 minutes 09.3 seconds, 107.01mph, and third 2003 overall winners Nick Crowe and Darran Hope from Regaby (Honda) in 21 minutes 16.2 seconds, 106.43mph.