There was no tailing-off of interest as the week’s main practising came to a conclusion. Full fields patronised both portions of the session, with some extremely quick lappery enjoyed by sizeable crowds all around the course.
Alan Jackson put the cat very firmly among the pigeons by doing 118.977mph on his 600cc machine having taken 20 seconds out of Kenneth McCrae and allegedly “rolling it off” towards the end of the lap!
It was the fastest lap of the week up to that point – but the 750cc class was yet to come and he and McCrae were first off the line . . .
Team Bullock squad members Ian Pattinson and Seamus Greene were spotted exchanging notes on tyre choice, with the latter also electing to have further front fork tweaking. His machine was also randomly checked for fuel type.
American Dave Roper said he was little the worse for his spill at Windy Corner the previous evening, reflecting that he disappeared backwards into the gravel trap. “The road was wetter than it looked,” he remarked, ruefully wondering if the dent in the fuel tank of the Team Obsolete Arter Matchless would reduce its capacity too much to do the four laps of the Senior Classic non-stop.
Johnny Barton managed to make it back from competing in the first day of the Manx Two Day Trial in time to go out on his Senior Classic Honda. It was largely helped by a “selective” approach to which parts of the trials course he did after his friend’s machine gave bother at Dawlish Ard and gallantly waited while repairs were effected.
As the bunch stood by for the second part of the MGP practice session, another twist in the week-long saga of delays manifested itself. After illegal traffic, spilt grain, house and stubble field fires came – a bull on the loose near Bayr Garrow.
The wayward animal was not actually on the course, but was thought to be getting too close for comfort in a nearby field. Paddock wags suggested it was not the first time Practice Controller Les Doherty had talked bull!
After the loss of 15 minutes, Jackson and McCrae roared away, with Jackson pulling strongly clear towards Bray Hill. But it was McCrae who completed the lap first at 117.168mph, followed by Pattinson 118.053mph and Jackson well back at 113.129mph. Jackson’s earlier 600cc speed looked like ending up the fastest of the week. Amazing.