Two of the biggest names in road racing are set to recommence battle around the iconic Isle of Man TT Mountain course on Saturday (26 August) as the four-lap Carole Nash Classic Senior Manx Grand Prix thunders into life.
The race, which sees riders line up on pre-1973 500cc Grand Prix machines always attracts a strong field of competitors and interesting classic machines and, far from being a glorified parade lap, the racing action is serious as the rare machines blow out the cobwebs and relive their glory years.
Among the favourites to take honours in this year’s event is 23-time Isle of Man TT winner John McGuinness (pictured), who is reunited with the Team Winfield Paton upon which he won the race in 2016, 2018 and 2019. The ‘Morecambe Missile’ was the first man to set a 130mph average lap of the TT course and has been fastest in practice – posting a 110mph lap on the gorgeous Italian twin. The three time winner is a real specialist in the class and, assuming the Paton remains reliable (always a factor to consider with these vintage machines), he’ll go into the weekend’s race as a hot favourite.
Second fastest in practice week so far has been Dean Harrison, the three time TT winner and the third fastest ever rider around the 37.73 mile course. The 34-year-old Bradford rider is competing on board an MV Agusta, a machine upon which he won the race in 2015. Harrison, with a 107.722mph average, is just two seconds quicker after three practice sessions than fan favourite Dominic Herbertson, who will lead the riders away on his Davies Motorsport prepared Yamaha.
Behind the top three there’s a whole host of talent which includes TT winners James Hillier and Michael Rutter, as well as a number of top runners from the contemporary TT races and some specialist classic motorbike racers.
Alongside the Classic Senior, the weekend’s Manx GP racing features a total of six racing classes covering the amateur Manx GP races and the classic outings. The Manx Senior and Junior races feature amateur racers competing on contemporary 600cc through to 1000cc machines, while 250cc Grand Prix racers and 400cc production machines get an outing in the Lightweight classes.
Bank Holiday Monday sees the event close with the four-lap RST Classic Superbike race. This should prove another treat for classic bike racing fans, with the top guns competing on 1980s and 1990s production based superbikes. Michael Dunlop, who moved on to 25 career TT wins with four victories in June’s Isle of Man TT Races, will be among the favourites as he pilots a Team Classic Suzuki GSX-R750 SRAD. Aussie David Johnson leads the Kawasaki runners in practice, posting a best lap of 124.433mph (compared to Dunlop’s 125.699) with long time Kawasaki man Dean Harrison making the move to ride a Ducati 916.
qualifying session was due to take place on Wednesday evening, however due to
deteriorating weather conditions the Clerk of The Course made the decision to
cancel. Thursday's contingency session will be utilised, meaning there are two
scheduled qualifying sessions today, with racing scheduled to commence tomorrow
(Friday 25 August) with the Sure Lightweight Manx Grand Prix.