It was strange to be practising on Thursday evening instead of the previously traditional afternoon session, but there was a very large turnout, even though riders were warned of intermittent showers all around the TT Course.
First out were the Classics, Lightweight and Ultra Lightweight, although a few elite from other classes were allowed to go ahead of them. Included in these was Ian Pattinson who was set to go when he pulled off the line to adjust the gear lever of his 750 Suzuki. He was allowed back into the line up and rapidly knocked off a single lap prior to switching to his 600.
Chris Palmer was out naked and unashamed, or rather his Manx Norton was, as he put in two laps on a bike completely unfaired while the other Walmsley machine was apparently being saved for future battle. Chrisís father-in-law Southern 100 stalwart George Peach has defected and will miss the Senior Classic. He and Peter Oates have gone to a minor race meeting called the Czech Republic Moto Grand Prix at Brno.
John Barton was late out while he waited for his 350 Honda to be sorted out on the dynamometer in the paddock. Carburation trouble was thought to be at the back of a mid-range misfire, and it seemed sorted when he finally launched down Glencrutchery Road.
Alan Jackson topped the leaderboard in the Senior and Junior classes after Wednesday, with only three seconds difference for the extra 250ccs. The bigger bike did 117.318mph and the 600 model 117.264mph. The general view is that Pattinson and company may be sandbagging just a touch.
The threatened closing in of the weather didnít really materialise, though towards the end it was clouding over quite quickly. But both classes had been able to get in two laps apiece and most competitors have now qualified.
It was all in contrast with the end of the preceding nightís session, when a cloudburst caused race organisers to stop about 50 bikes in Ramsey. They were then escorted back over the Mountain by a team of Travelling Marshals, but the riders were soaked through and the bikes covered in road dirt.
The fastest lap of the week was set by Kenneth McCrae (750 Suzuki) in 19 minutes 06.25 seconds, an average of 118.497, with Pattinson doing 19 minutes 06.98 seconds 118.421 on his 600! Itís all beginning to hot up.