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Harrison takes top honours in Carole Nash Classic Senior Manx GP

dean_harrison_2023_classic_senior

Dean Harrison overcame a late bike swap to win Saturday’s three-lap Carole Nash Classic Senior Manx Grand Prix by 52.5 seconds on a Craven Manx Norton entered by Ted Woof, setting a new lap record in the process.

Three-time TT winner Harrison had been due to ride an MV Agusta at the centenary Manx event, however technical issues during practice saw him make a late switch to the single cylinder Brit bike for qualifying and the race.

Three-time winner John McGuinness and his Team Winfield Paton were fastest in qualifying, taking the Italian twin around with a 110.848mph average lap, nearly seven seconds quicker than Harrison’s best of 110.248mph – with Ireland’s Mike Browne third with a 109.265mph lap on another Manx Norton. 

With rain washing out Friday’s track activity and delaying Saturday’s running, the Carole Nash Classic Senior Manx Grand Prix was pushed back to a 2.15pm start and reduced by one lap, to three-laps of the iconic 37.72-mile Mountain course.

From the start it was TT legend McGuinness who led the way, the 51-year-old 23-time TT winner holding a two second advantage over Harrison at Glen Helen, with Browne another second back.

Browne, who scored his first TT podium in the first Carole Nash Lightweight TT earlier this year, had taken the lead by Ramsey and held a 4.6 second advantage over Harrison at the end of the first lap. McGuinness made his compulsory pitstop, losing over 20 seconds, while the older and less powerful Nortons did not have to stop.

Getting more and more familiar with his machine, Harrison turned up the wick to overhaul Browne and take the lead on the timing screens early on lap two, although the usual time trail format meant that the Irishman had started 50 seconds behind his rival. Harrison’s 111.395mph lap was the fastest ever set by a single-cylinder classic motorcycle around the TT course, and he maintained the pace with another near 111mph final lap to take the honours from McGuinness, who clocked a 110.144mph on his final flying lap as Browne dropped over 30 seconds on lap three but still managed to secure his podium finish. There was some consolation for Browne however, as he went on to win the Sure Manx Grand Prix Lightweight race later in the day, riding a two-stroke Yamaha TZ250 GP bike.

Behind the top three, there were plenty of top riders and a diverse range of classic motorcycles battling it out.

Shaun Anderson took fourth on another Paton, just over four seconds behind Browne at the end of the three laps, while Adam McLean, having his first race on the Mountain in five years, had a strong ride into fifth on his Royal Enfield, ahead of Michael Russell on another Manx Norton. Former TT winner James Hillier was seventh, and top Japanese bike on his Yamaha, with Rob Hodson (Honda CB500), Will Loder (Seeley G50) and 67-year-old David Madsen-Mygdal (Honda CB450) completing the top ten.

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