Billy Redmayne wins thrilling Junior Manx Grand Prix

Billy Redmayne on the Martin Bullock Motorsport Honda CBR600RR at Union Mills during the Mylchreests Group Junior Manx Grand Prix race.
Billy Redmayne on the Martin Bullock Motorsport Honda CBR600RR at Union Mills during the Mylchreests Group Junior Manx Grand Prix race.

The Isle of Man’s Billy Redmayne and Horwich rider Malachi Mitchell-Thomas continued their Isle of Man Mountain Course rivalry from last year’s Manx Grand Prix Newcomers race in today’s Mylchreest Motors Junior Race at the IMGold Manx Grand Prix.

Redmayne again triumphed, as he did last year, but only by a winning margin of 1.8 seconds after a close battle with Silicone Engineering Racing’s Mitchell Thomas.  His win came despite his accident in Monday’s practice, which saw him taken by airmed to Nobles Hospital.

After the race Redmayne shared his relief at being able to compete and dedicated his victory to last year’s Junior MGP race winner Andy Lawson, who lost his life at the recent Ulster Grand Prix, commenting:

“I didn’t think I’d be here after Monday’s practice so I’ve got to say a huge thanks to my physio for getting me fit.  I’d like to dedicate this win as a tribute to Andy Lawson.”

After a frustrating delay due to rain and mist on the Isle of Man, the Mylchreest Motors Junior Manx Grand Prix finally got underway at 1pm.  The delay saw Clerk of the Course Phil Taubman reduce the race to three laps.

Competitors were warned of damp patches on the course, notably just before St Ninians with roads described as wet between Ramsey Hairpin and the Gooseneck.  Wigan’s Rob Hodson on the PR Racing Suzuki fired away first down Glencrutchery road.

Malachi Mitchell Thomas, the fastest qualifier, who posted an unofficial lap record in last night’s practice, was first to Glen Helen. However, he only had a lead of 0.1 seconds from Billy Redmayne on the Martin Bullock Manxsport Honda with Rob Hodson back in third.

Malachi Mitchell-Thomas on the Daytona Silicone Engineering Racing 600 ZXR Kawassaki at Union Mills during the Mylchreests Group Junior Manx Grand Prix race.
Malachi Mitchell-Thomas on the Daytona Silicone Engineering Racing 600 ZXR Kawassaki at Union Mills during the Mylchreests Group Junior Manx Grand Prix race.

New Zealander Michael Moulai, who finished runner-up in last year’s Senior Manx Grand Prix, was an early retirement when he slid off at Braddan. He was taken to Nobles Hospital for a precautionary check up.  Ian Armstrong was another to go out on lap one when he came off at Glen Tramman. The Yorkshire rider was taken by airmed to Nobles Hospital for treatment on possible fractures.

Back at the front, and Redmayne moved into the lead by the second timing point, Ballaugh Bridge, but by less than a second from Mitchell Thomas with Hodson consolidating third place a further 2 seconds back.

The leading three riders were all into the pits at the end of the first lap with Redmayne’s opening lap of 118.255/ 19:08.607 giving him a narrow lead over Hodson (117.439/ 19:16.505) with Mitchell Thomas in third having lost time over the Mountain section after Ramsey Hairpin.

Rob Hodson on the PRF Racing Suzuki GSXR-R600 at Union Mills during the Mylchreests Group Junior Manx Grand Prix race.
Rob Hodson on the PRF Racing Suzuki GSXR-R600 at Union Mills during the Mylchreests Group Junior Manx Grand Prix race.

Hodson and Mitchell Thomas gained a slight advantage over Redmayne with pit stops timed at 36.180 and 37.284 to Redmayne’s 41.081 and it was Mitchell Thomas who again moved into the front at Glen Helen on the second lap from Richard Wilson who had run straight through at the Grandstand with Redmayne ahead of Hodson but only three seconds separated the top four.

However Mitchell-Thomas lost over sixteen seconds on the second lap after stopping temporarily at the Creg Ny Baa, with his bike overheating, which ultimately cost him the race.   

With Wilson pitting at the end of the second lap, and Mitchell Thomas’s issues, Redmayne’s second lap 115.367/ 19:37.354 put him back in front with a commanding 12 second lead over Hodson 115.052/ 19:40.576 with Mitchell Thomas back in third almost fifteen seconds behind the race leader.

Mitchell Thomas’s last lap charge saw him pass Hodson and close the gap to only 1.8 seconds from Redmayne at the chequered flag as he ate into Redmayne’s lead but ultimately the Manx rider held on for the victory.

Mitchell Thomas had the consolation of breaking Tommy Clucas’s 2004 Junior lap record and he also became only the seventh 120mph member of ‘The Tommy Club’, set up in memory of the Manx rider, joining Tommy himself and Alan Jackson, Ian Pattinson, Davy Morgan, Seamus Greene and the last person to record a 120mph lap in an MGP race, Simon Fulton.

(L-R) Malachi Mitchell-Thomas, Billy Redmayne and Rob Hodson, the Mylchreests Group Junior Manx Grand Prix race podium.
(L-R) Malachi Mitchell-Thomas, Billy Redmayne and Rob Hodson, the Mylchreests Group Junior Manx Grand Prix race podium.

Darren Cooper received the Alan Hampton Trophy as the highest placed newcomer, finishing in 23rd with a time of 110.716/ 1:01:20.448.

Craig Neve was reported as OK following an accident at Sarah’s Cottage after an airmed transfer to Nobles, while Jason Brewster was also taken by airmed and reported to have sustained fractures following his accident at the Gooseneck.

The day concluded with a practice session for Lightweight and SuperTwin machines rather than the scheduled race, which will now take place on Friday along with the Full Factory Winners Wear Senior Manx Grand Prix Race, the final race of the meeting.

Andrew Dudgeon’s 110.833 was the third fastest qualifying time of the week in the SuperTwin class while Mark Purslow topped the Lightweight board with 105.795, the fastest qualifying time of the week.  A number of riders also went out on their Senior machines with Rob Hodson, fresh from his Junior MGP podium, topping the board with 115.696 ahead of Friday’s Race.  Donald Gilbert was reported as coming off his machine at the Creg Ny Baa but was checked by medics and reported not to have sustained injuries.

Wins for Vines and Fryer in Newcomers B and C Races

The Isle of Man’s Peter Wilkinson followed illustrious names including Ian Hutchinson, Robert Dunlop, Michael Dunlop, Carl Fogarty, Phillip McCallen and Ryan Farquhar for a popular win in the IMGold Manx Grand Prix Newcomers A Race, the opening race of the Manx Grand Prix, on the Isle of Man.  Gary Vines took the chequered flag in the Newcomers B (SuperTwin) class while Elwyn Fryer was first home in the Newcomers C (Lightweight) Race.

Peter Wilkinson (Yamaha/Rusty Rack Racing) at the Creg ny Baa during the IMGold Manx Grand Prix Newcomers Race.
Peter Wilkinson (Yamaha/Rusty Rack Racing) at the Creg ny Baa during the IMGold Manx Grand Prix Newcomers Race.

The newcomers circulated under the watchful eye of 23 time TT newcomer John McGuinness, who swapped his leathers for a microphone and replaced Manx Radio TT stalwart Roy Moore at Ramsey Hairpin as Roy’s son Peter was taking part in the Newcomer B race and Roy was on the grid to see him off down Bray Hill.

Although the day’s schedule was delayed due to rain around the course, and had been postponed from Monday to allow more practice time for the MGP Newcomers, the Newcomers A, B and C races actually got away at the scheduled time of 2pm with the practice session postponed until after the race.  However, the race was reduced from four to three laps to ensure that enough time was allocated to practices ahead of tomorrow’s Junior and SuperTwin/Lightweight races.

Competitors were advised of damp patches in places around the circuit, which would be indicated by waved flags, but the roads had dried significantly from the rain earlier in the day.

French rider Frederic Besnard had the honour of being first away from the start line at 2pm in the Newcomers A Race.  Besnard was narrowly first on the road to Glen Helen but Northern Ireland’s Neil Kernohan lead on corrected time by a second from Welsh rider Barry Lee Evans with the Isle of Man’s Peter Wilkinson, who had qualified fastest, a further two seconds back in third at the first checkpoint.

However, with Kernohan reported to have stopped at Ballaskyr Bridge on the approach to Barregarrow, Barry Lee Evans moved into the lead from Wilkinson with the Republic of Ireland’s Damian Horan back in third.

Barry Lee Evans’ opening lap of 113.162/ 20:00.301 gave him a 26 second lead from Wilkinson (110.722/ 20.26.750) with Darren Cooper (110.150/ 20:33.157) moving into third.

With a number of riders including Wilkinson and fourth placed man Damian Horan opting to come in at the end of the first lap for refuelling, Evans extended his lead over Cooper to thirty five seconds with French rider Nicholas Pauet moving into the top three but by the Grandstand on the second lap Peter Wilkinson (110.409/ 20:30.224) had moved back into the top three, although the Manx Man was almost 56 seconds behind race leader Evans who clocked another 113mph plus lap (113.221) with Cooper (112.176) eleven seconds behind the race leader.

Evans and Cooper both came into the pits at the end of the second lap and with the Welshman taking over a minute in the pits all eyes were on the first timing point at Glen Helen on the third lap when a clearer picture would emerge.

It revealed that Peter Wilkinson was the new race leader, 12 seconds ahead of Evans with Cooper a further 12 seconds back in third and that remained the race order at the chequered flag with Wilkinson (111.552/ 1:00.52.874) winning by seven seconds from Evans (111.316/ 1:01.00.617) with Cooper 110.675/ 1:01.21.795) taking the final podium place.

IMGold Manx Grand Prix Newcomers Race, Class A Podium.
IMGold Manx Grand Prix Newcomers Race, Class A Podium.

In the concurrent Newcomers B Race Colchester’s Gary Vines, Yamaha mounted, opened up a 17 second gap from second placed James Chawke (21:34.769/ 104.905) with Sean Connolly, from the Republic of Ireland, in third place after his opening lap of 103.752/ 21:49.166.  West Kirby based racer Sam Cross (103.728/ 21:49.463) was fourth with Australian Royce Rowe (102.150/ 22:09.696) completing the top five.

Gary Vines on the Yamaha TZ 250 at the Creg ny Baa during the IMGold Manx Grand Prix Newcomers Race.
Gary Vines on the Yamaha TZ 250 at the Creg ny Baa during the IMGold Manx Grand Prix Newcomers Race.

Chawke was reported to have had an accident at the Gooseneck and although he wasn’t injured, his race was over. Sam Cross moved through the field into second place with a second lap of 104.913/ 21:34.671), fifty seconds behind Vines with Royce Rowe up into third.  Vines (104.563/ 1:04.57.033) duly completed his race win from Cross (103.320/ 1:05.43.917) but Connolly 103.240/ 1:05.46.971) came back to take the final podium place.

In the Newcomer C Race Elwyn Fryer from Gosport dominated the race with an opening lap of 100.862/ 22:26.668 which gave him a commanding lead of over twenty seconds from Japanese rider Masayuki Yamanaka with the Isle of Man’s Robert Smith back in third with 98.422/ 23.00.054.  That remained the order at the chequered flag with Fryer winning in a time of 101.051/ 1:07.12.446 from Yamanaka (99.881/ 1:07.59.711) with Smith 99.097/ 1:08.31.953) in third place.

Elwyn Fryer on the South Coast Appliances/Honda at the Creg ny Baa during the IMGold Manx Grand Prix Newcomers Race.
Elwyn Fryer on the South Coast Appliances/Honda at the Creg ny Baa during the IMGold Manx Grand Prix Newcomers Race.