-- Classic TT Underway
The Isle of Man TT Mountain Course reverberated to the ear-splitting sound of
Classic bikes as qualifying began in the inaugural Classic TT Races presented by
The eclectic mixture of machines on the course featured some of the finest names
in Motorcycling history including Aermacchi's, AJS's, BSA's, Patons, Benellis,
Velocettes, Matchless, Vincent, Enfields, and a smattering of Moto Guzzis, the
sound of which was memorably described by Manx Radio TT commentator Roy Moore as
'the Italian National Anthem', alongside Classic machines from the Japanese
manufacturers, while a number of Nortons and a few Triumphs ensured that the
high profile British manufacturers earlier machines were also represented.
Oil on the track at Greeba Bridge and Barregarrow delayed the start of the
Classic session, and ultimately resulted in the Classic riders only getting a
single practice lap, although some of the riders went out earlier in the MGP
session. The Classic only practice eventually got underway shortly before 8pm
with riders warned that there would be lack of adhesion flags displayed at the
A number of the leading TT riders took to the track for their first experience
of Classic Racing on the Mountain Course in the untimed session including Bruce
Anstey on the McIntosh Norton, Cameron Donald on the Matchless, Ian Lougher on
the Royal Enfield, Conor Cummins on Tony Dunnells Manx Norton, Steve Mercer and
Dan Cooper representing the Yamaha Classic Race Team while experienced Classic
Racer Olie Linsdell was also prominent on the Giovanni Cabassi Paton.
Gary Johnson went out on a 1250 'Harris' and also got out on his Lincs Lifting
MV Agusta, while Nick Jefferies, the '93 Formula One TT race winner, also
returned to the Mountain Course for the first time since 2002, riding a Honda.
Twenty-time TT race winner John McGuinness, who arrived on the Island earlier in
the day having competed in the World Endurance round in Germany at the weekend,
rode the Team Winfield Paton in a much-anticipated appearance, with McGuinness
getting into the spirit of the event by wearing retro leathers and a historic
Shoei helmet, complete with Lancashire red rose.
Although the session was untimed, riders took advantage of the session to get in
practice ahead of tomorrow's first timed session with no one pushing it more
than Michael Dunlop, on the Team Classic Suzuki XR69, first back to the
Grandstand. Dunlop also got an earlier lap in on the Manx Norton he'll ride in
the 500cc race.
Each of the six classic races have ten nominated seeded riders who will occupy
the first ten start places with the qualifying sessions determining the
remaining start positions in each race.
An international field of newcomers, who earlier had their speed-controlled lap
at the beginning of the session, went out for their first proper lap. They
included Herman Verboven from Belgium, Finland's Jussi Luoma, Hans De Witt from
Holland, Ronald Van Looey (Belgium), Kenny Hinck from Germany and a group of
Australian newcomers including Cycle Torque Magazine journalist Christopher
Picket, Alan Johnson, Mick Heason, Russell Fairburn and Noel Heenan who was
riding an ex Jack Findlay Yamaha.
UK based newcomers getting their first lap of the TT Mountain Course included
England's Keith Clarke, Richard Ford, Christopher Dixon, Adrian Morris, Roger
Birkinhead, Steve Dobie, Rob Padgett, Richard Wilson and Adrian Morris.
Tomorrow's session sees the Classic machines away at 18.20 in the first timed
session for all classes. The race schedule sees the much-anticipated Bennetts
500cc race on Saturday 24th August with the combined Okells 350/250 race and the
Motorsport Merchandise Formula 1, 2 and Formula Classic Races both on Monday.