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MGP Practice report No. 1

Author: Department of Tourism and Leisure
Posted on: Saturday, Aug 20 2005

A variety of problems beset the organisers of the 2005 Manx Grand Prix even before a wheel had turned in anger.

With perfect conditions inviting the large contingent of newcomers, they were forced to suffer a delay of more than an hour before setting off in groups under control of Travelling Marshals.

Firstly, there was a hold-up because a trailer of grain had been spilt near Ballacrye, then just as the signal to start was about to be given came news that a fire in a field near Douglas Road Corner at Kirk Michael required the presence of a fire engine on the TT Course.

Finally, with virtually the entire entry of well over 300 competitors grouped in three areas around the starting area in Douglas, a further obstacle came when a house fire at Ballagarey had to be reached by way of the closed roads.

It was all unavoidable, but frustrating to the Manx MCC with such a fine night going begging. As time ticked away, they re-scheduled the classes to allow the non-newcomers to get at least a lap in.

Eventually the session got away with 70 minutes lost, but the sight of over 70 newcomers belting away from the Grandstand thrilled the large crowd. They were lead by Chief Travelling Marshal Dick Cassidy, with the first two riders Dennis Booth (600 Suzuki) from Ballymena and local Stu Bainborough (750 Kawasaki).

Among the newcomers were some on Classic bikes, including the first female to compete on a BSA Gold Star, 27-year-old Lincoln sales engineer Kay Streets.

With the problems facing the organisers, it was a good job a new scheme of separating the classes had been introduced. The newcomers were marshalled onto the main road; Classic and Ultra-Lightweight in the main Paddock; and Senior, Junior and Lightweight in Pit Lane.

It meant the switch-over of classes (allowing the bigger bikes out as second group instead of third) was accomplished much easier. As it was, the Senior, Junior and Lightweight gang had to wait ten minutes until the newcomers reached Kirk Michael, in case they were caught up.

First off at 7.45pm were two hot men for the Junior class – Kenny McCrae from Tynan and Alan Jackson from Southport. Everyone was told they would get a ride –but there would only be time for a solitary lap.

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