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Conditions today were just about perfect for the third race of MGP 2000, the combined Junior/Lightweight Classic Race. Pre-race favourites after topping the practice leaderboards were Wattie Brown (97.59mph) and Ramsey resident Jason Griffiths (97.16mph). Griifiths sounded quietly confident in the pre-race interviews, happy with the preparation of his Quinn Kneale Advocates Honda and looking to improve in last year's 3rd place in the Lightweight Classic Race.

Unlike Monday, the race got away on time, and it was Frenchman Bruno Leroy (now pronounced Le-Rar, after much discussion between Geoff Cannell and Peter Kneale) who led the field away down Bray Hill. Favourites Brown and Griffiths started together 10 seconds later. By Glen Helen on lap 1, it was actually Chris McGahan who led, somewhat surprisingly, by 1 second from Leroy, who in turn was a further second ahead of joint third-placed men Brown and Griffiths. Derek Whalley and Tony Myers completed the top six. It was all change at Ramsey however, as Leroy had stopped at Alpine Cottage to re-fit the chain on his Dick Linton Aermacchi, consequently slipping down the pecking order. Griffiths had got the bit between his teeth and now led the race by 12 seconds from Brown, with McGahan in third spot.

Griffiths pulled out a further 5 seconds on the run over the mountain, so that by the end of the first lap he had a comfortable margin of 17 seconds over Wattie Brown, who in turn was 9 seconds ahead of McGahan. Mick Robinson was now up into fourth position, just 2 seconds down McGahan and only 1.5 seconds ahead of John Goodall, with John Loder completing the top six. Onto Glen Helen and Griffiths continued to pull away from Brown, leading him now by some 19 seconds, with Brown in turn now 9 seconds to the good over Chris McGahan.

Brown must have got the signs to let him know the score, for as the leaders crossed the line to start their third lap, he was now only 8 seconds down on Griffiths having pulled out 11 seconds on the Welshamn in the preceeding 28-odd miles. Eastbourne's Mick Robinson had pit in a charge too, and was up into third spot, ahead of John Goodall in fourth. McGahan had slipped into fifth position and John Loder was now up into sixth. Brown was continuing to eat into Griffiths' lead, which was down to just 6 seconds at Glen Helen on lap 3, with Chris McGahan back up to third after Mick Robinson retired at Ballacraine. Griffiths was obviously getting signs to tell him of the deterioration of his leadin margin, and this spurred him on to greater things: his lead was up to 10 seconds at Ramsey although Brown managed to take a second out of him over the Mountain climb.

So as they came down the Glencrutchery Road to start their final lap, it was still Griffiths who led the way, by some 9 seconds from Brown, who was a massive 52 seconds ahead of Chris McGahan. McGahan was in turn 12 seconds ahead of John Goodall, who was 24 seconds ahead of John Loder. Tim Johnson completed the top six, 18 seconds down on Loder. Onto Glen Helen for the final time, and Griffiths' lead was back up to 10 seconds, the top six remaining the same as when they passed the Grandstand. At Ramsey Hairpin, with just 13 miles to go Griffiths was almost home and dry, enjoying an increased advantage of 12 seconds over Brown, again the remainder of the top six the same as when they started the lap. Would Griffiths' 350 Honda last the pace and give the adopted Manxman his first classic win on the Mountain Circuit ?

We didn't have to wait long to find out; Griffiths' machine crossed the line first on the roads, and therefore first in the race, giving him the win from Wattie Brown in second place. Chris McGahan finished in third position, with the evergreen John Goodall fourth, making up for the disappointment of retiring in Monday's Senior Classic event.

John Loder finished in fifth spot, and Tim Johnson completed the top sixth. Griffiths was in buoyant mood after the race: "The bike ran superbly the whole way through. It's not as fast as Wattie's, but it did the job today and I'm well pleased." Brown complained, "My bike was misfiring on the bumpy sections, allowing Jason to pull away, but on the smoother sections I was catching him up. I'm disappointed, but I'll settle for second."

1Jason Griffiths350 Honda1:30:53.899.62
2Wattie Brown349 Aermacchi1:31:01.999.47
3Chris McGahan346 Honda1:32:00.698.41
4John Goodall349 AJS1:32:45.097.63
5John Loder350 Greeves1:33:04.597.28
6Tim Johnson349 Norton1:33:23.696.95
FASTEST LAPJason Griffiths350 Honda22:29.8100.62
CLUB TEAM AWARDS100Jason GriffithsDerek WhalleyJohn Loder


Running concurrently with the Junior Classic Race was the Lightweight Classic Race, which again was run in perfect conditions. Local star and pre-race favourite Barry Wood, along with Bud Jackson and Roy Richardson thrilled the crowds with a three-way battle for the lead which was only settled on the penultimate lap, in what was arguably the best race of the week so far. Bill Swallow's gamble on running a very big fuel load at the start, thus avoiding the need for a pit-stop failed to pay dividends, with the Huddersfield man finishing a distant fourth.

Karl Hayes and hot favourite Barry Wood led the field away, followed 10 seconds later by Ewan Hamilton and Stephen Smith, who was worried about a lack of pit-boards until Team 69 (Sulby Branch) came to the rescue. Bud Jackson and Bill Swallow started a further 10 seconds back, with Roy Richardson 20 seconds after that. And by Glen Helen on lap 1 it was Wood who had eked out a narrow advantage over Richardson, with Bud Jackson in third, Ewan Hamilton in fourth, Karl Hayes in fifth and Stephen Smith in sixth spot. Onto Ramsey Hairpin, and there was still nothing in it as Wood went through, still only 1 second ahead of Richardson, with Jackson still lying third. Richardson was absolutely flying though, and he traversed the Mountain slightly quicker than Wood.

As they crossed the line to complete their first lap, Richardson led Wood by just 0.1 seconds, who was ahead of Bud Jackson in third. Ewan Hamilton was fourth, Stephen Smith, aided by some demon signalling, was up into fifth and Karl Hayes completed the top six.

Onto Glen Helen on lap 2 and it was Richardson and Wood who were absolutely dead level in first position, with Bud Jackson in third and the remainder of the top six the same as some 9½ miles before at the Grandstand. Wood passed through Sulby absolutely flying and was definitely on the charge: at Ramsey Hairpin he led by 10 seconds, pulling out almost a second a mile over joint second-placed men Jackson and Richardson.

Karl Hayes was now up to fourth, with Bill Swallow fifth and Stephen Smith sixth. As the leaders came into the pits for their fuel stops Wood was looking in control, however anything can, and usually does, happen. Wood had a disastrous stop, first stalling in the stop-box, then seemingly taking an age to get going again, which left him back in second position as they left the pits behind new leader Bud Jackson. At Ramsey Hairpin for the penultimate time, Wood had once more turned up the heat on the chasing duo of Richardson and Jackson, and Wood now led by some 4 seconds from Roy Richardson, who in turn was just 1 second ahead of Bud Jackson, with Bill Swallow remaining in fourth spot.

Wood continued to carve out an advantage on the run over the Mountain and as the leaders flashed by the Grandstand to start their final lap, Wood had a healthy advantage of 10 seconds over Roy Richardson, who was still just 1 second ahead of Bud Jackson. Bill Swallow was some 18 seconds further back in fourth, with Karl Hayes in fifth, 79 seconds down on Swallow and Stephen Smith in sixth, 39 seconds further back.

On the run through Glen Helen for the final time, it was Wood with an increased margin of 12 seconds over Jackson, who remained just 3 seconds ahead of Richardson. Wood was all but home and dry, with the other two fighting for second position, and what could now stop the popular 36 year-old Manxman from taking victory in this event for the second year in row ?

Nothing was the answer and Wood punched the air with delight as he flew down the Glencrutchery Road to take the chequered flag. Bud Jackson finished a creditable second and Roy Richardson made up for last year's disappointment, when he ran out of petrol at Governor's, by finishing third. Said Jackson, "All credit to Barry, he's a hell of a nice lad and he thoroughly deserved the win. His bike is flying and I'm really pleased for him." Wood said "The bike was maybe a little bit over-geared, but other than that the bike ran perfect the whole way through. I'm off to the beer tent !" Cracking entertainment, cracking value, cracking race.

1Barry Wood247 Suzuki1:32:37.197.76
2Bud Jackson250 Suzuki1:32:50.397.53
3Roy Richardson250 Bullock Suzuki1:32:53.097.49
4Karl Hayes250 Suzuki1:35:08.295.17
5Stephen Smith249 Suzuki1:36:35.293.75
6Dave Thurlow250 Suzuki1:39:23.891.10
FASTEST LAPBarry Wood247 Suzuki22:54.198.84
CLUB TEAM AWARDS100Barry WoodKarl HayesRoy Richardson

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