2019 proved to be Jamie Coward’s year in the Classic TT, finally laying claim to the top step of the podium, after amassing three runner-up positions in previous TT’s. Coward finally took the top step in the Junior Classic TT race ahead of Michael Rutter and Dominic Herbertson.
After the race the elated Lancastrian revealed in the winner’s enclosure that it was ‘a childhood dream to come to the Isle of Man and win’.
The Junior Classic TT Race, the third race of the 2019 Classic TT Races presented by Bennetts, finally got underway at 2pm after mist around the Mountain Course delayed the start of the race.
Paul Jordan on the Ripley Land Racing AJS was first away from the line but by Glen Helen Lee Johnston, who started 13th on the grid, was first on the clock, five seconds ahead of Coward on the Ted Woof Craven Honda with Dominic Herbertson a further half second behind Coward. Michael Rutter, a two-time Junior Classic TT Race winner on the Ripley Land Racing Honda, was fourth, 2.5 seconds off the final podium place with Hefyn Owen completing the top five.
Johnston, the outright lap record holder for the class, maintained a lead of six seconds over Coward at Ramsey with Herbertson established in third, eight seconds down on Coward but five ahead of Rutter, with Owen a further five seconds back holding fifth place.
Rutter was first on the road through the Grandstand with an opening lap of 100.82mph, but Johnston’s opening lap of 103.38mph gave him a nine-second lead at the front of the field from Coward (102.68mph) with Herbertson (101.86) third and Rutter fourth, with Derek Shiels (100.22), moving ahead of Owen (99.89) into the top five.
Coward had closed the gap to the race leader by six seconds at Glen Helen on the second lap however there was drama when news came through that race leader Johnston was confirmed as a retirement at the Gooseneck.
At the Grandstand at the end of the second lap, new race leader Coward (104.45mph) held a near 28-second leader over Herbertson (102.71mph) heading into the last lap with Rutter (102.64) moving into the final podium place and Sheils and Owen.
Coward extended his lead on the last lap and clinched his first Mountain Course race win with a final lap of 103.40mph but behind the leader, Rutter had dramatically closed the gap to be only 2.5 seconds behind Herbertson at Ramsey before moving into the runner-up slot by the Bungalow with a 1.5 seconds lead over Herbertson.
Rutter duly held on with a final lap of 103.94mph but only 0.35 seconds ahead of Herbertson (102.76mph) with Sheils (100.09mph) and Owen (100.92) in fourth and fifth respectively.
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