After two blank days caused by a combination of mist and rain, practising for the 2005 Isle of Man TT Races continued in sunny, if blustery, conditions on Friday night.
It was the last practice session before racing proper gets underway on Saturday.
One of the first riders to leave the start, and the first retirement of the night, was Martin Finnegan who only made it as far as Quarterbridge – about a mile from the start – on his Superstock. However, Martin quickly made his way back to the Grandstand, switched to his Superbike and recorded a lap of 120.910 miles an hour which he later improved to 123.362.
New Zealander Bruce Anstey did it the other way round. He lapped at 122.705 on his Superbike, went through on a flying lap but stopped at Ballaugh Bridge on his second circuit. He then got a lift back to the start, arriving just in time to go out again on his Superstock machine, lapping at 122.611.
Highlight of the night was a remarkable first lap by Dave Molyneux and Daniel Sayle who recorded the first sub-20 minutes sidecar lap from a standing start. Their time of 19 minutes 41.79 seconds represents a speed of 114.934 miles an hour.
Although this doesn’t count as an official record, as it was completed in a practice session, Molyneux and Sayle served notice on their rivals that they are going to take some beating in tomorrow’s race. Up to that point, due to a combination of circumstances, the duo had not completed a timed lap. But they certainly made up
for lost time!! If their opening lap was not fast enough they then went even quicker on their second circuit – 19 minutes 31.78 seconds (115.916.)
Nick Crowe and Darren Hope weren’t exactly hanging about either, recording laps of 110.496 and 112.585 miles an hour.
The honour of having the night’s fastest speed overall went to Adrian Archibald who recorded 124.848 on his Superbike Suzuki. He was followed by Richard Britton (124.708) and John McGuinness (124.341.)
Fastest Supersport was Ryan Farquhar’s Kawasaki at 121.924. Next in line were
John McGuinness (119.734) and Richard Brittton (119.714.) Ian Lougher was fastest in the Superstocks. He took his Honda round at 123.084, just ahead of Paul Hunt (122.687) and Bruce Anstey (122.611.)
Dublin rider Ken Doherty came off his Superbike at Greeba Castle and was taken to hospital suffering from leg and shoulder injuries. The sidecar crew of Joe Newton and Stephen Galligan were off at the 27th Milestone and they too went to hospital with neck and chest injuries, respectively.
In all there were 226 machines on the course during the practice session. The total was made up of 74 Supersports, 66 Superbikes, 64 Sidecars, 18 Superstocks, and four Senior outfits.
One competitor in for a busy weekend is German newcomer Markus Barth. After
taking part in practising this week Markus left the Island on Thursday to compete in Italy and flies back on Sunday night ready for the following day when he rides Suzukis in both the TT Superstock and Supersport Junior TT.
A special visitor to the races on Monday will be the chief executive of VisitBritain. Tom Wright will watch some of the action from the TT Superstock and Supersport Junior TT before meeting Isle of Man Tourism Minister David Cretney and
Department of Tourism and Leisure chief executive Carol Glover.
They will sign a Memorandum of Understanding which sets out the framework to enable the organisations to work in harmony to promote the British Isles – including the Isle of Man – to overseas visitors. Mr.Wright will be accompanied by VisitBritain’s head of partnerships and planning, Chris Foy.