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The spectators were greeted with the dreaded news that the Junior 250/600cc race had been delayed due to an ambulance on the course at Ramsey. The good news was that the delay was only 5 minutes, and this was not too detrimental on the riders' state of mind. Any one of three riders was in with a shout of the victory, this being one of the most open races of the week, and this Junior race always throws up one or two surprises.

This year was no exception, and when it was confirmed that Keith Townsend was going to pit at the end of the first lap and attempt to do 3 laps on a single tank of fuel, many of the experienced observers were sceptical. As it turned out, however, this was a brilliant tactic and ultimately gave the 38 year-old Hertfordshire man his maiden MGP victory after trying for so long.

Alistair Howarth, the practice leader, led the field away with Brian Kneale on his 250 Honda. Townsend followed 20 seconds later with Philip Murden, with another of the favourites, Dungannon's Ryan Farquhar, starting a further 30 seconds further back. At Glen Helen on lap 1 it was indeed the flying Farquhar who led the cavalry, leading by 4 seconds form Townsend, who in turn was just 1 second ahead of Howarth. Pete Turnbull was a good fourth on his 250 Honda, with Ian Pattinson fifth and Newcomer's winner Seamus Greene a brilliant sixth.

It was all change at Ramsey however, as Farquhar's engine blew up on the incredibly fast run through Glentramman, and Townsend now led by six seconds from Howarth. Turnbull was now up to third, some 7 seconds down on Howarth, the 250 doing exceptionally well to keep in sight of the big 600's. It was the end of lap 1 when Townsend decided to play "Surprise, Surprise" by coming in for fuel. The rest of the leaders went flying through, but Townsend was safe in the knowledge that as long as their was enough petrol in the tank he would get 2 flying laps, whereas everyone else would only get 1.

By Glen Helen on lap 2, Townsend's pit-stop had had an effect on the leaderboard, with new first place man Howarth leading by some 18 seconds from Townsend, who in turn was 9 seconds up on Mark Parrett. Pete Turnbull was down to fourth spot, but the 250 was showing no signs of lagging. Indeed at Ramsey Hairpin on the same lap, Turnbull was incredibly up into second position, albeit 30 seconds down on Howarth, but just 2 seconds ahead of Townsend. Parrett was now fourth, with Seamus Greene up to fifth, just a second ahead of Steve Rathbone. Townsend got the bit between his teeth going over the Mountain and as he come through to complete his second lap he enjoyed a lead of 10 seconds over Howarth, whilst the latter man had to pit for fuel. Pete Turnbull remained in third place, 26 seconds down on Howarth, followed by Mark Parrett and Seamus Greene.

Townsend now had new impetus and by Ramsey on the third lap he had extended his lead over Howarth to 20 seconds. Howarth was enjoying an increased advantage over Pete Turnbull of 44 seconds, Turnbull in turn was 22 seconds ahead of Philip Gilder in fourth. Fifth was Ian Pattinson, some 9 seconds further back, with Steve Rathbone in sixth spot. Townsend was really motoring, there was no question about that, and as he passed the Granstand to start his second of 2 flying laps, it was confirmed that he had broken the class lap record with a lap of 19m 19.8s which equates to 117.11mph. Cracking stuff.

Out to Glen Helen for the final time, and Howarth had managed to peg Townsend somewhat, the gap between the two remaining at 23 seconds. Pete Turnbull remained third, falling back to 52 seconds behind Howarth. Would Townsend's gamble pay off, or would the Doubting Thomas's be proved right, seeing Townend fall at the final hurdle once more ?

It turned out that the "gamble" was not really a gamble at all, but a brilliant piece of cunning which had managed to out-fox everyone. Townsend thundered through to take a well-deserved victory by over 20 seconds from Alistair Howarth, who has finished second in an MGP race for the third time on the trot. Just for good measure, Townsend also broke the race record, averaging 115.19mph for the 150.92 miles. Pete Turnbull capped a brilliant ride by finishing third, the first 250 home, with Philip Gilder fourth Seamus Greene an excellent fifth and Ian Pattinson sixth. Incidentally, Newcomer's 250 winner on Monday, Lusk's Martin Finnegan, also had a brilliant ride to finish 9th on his debut 600 race on the Mountain Circuit.

A brilliant end to a brilliant day's racing here on the Isle of Man.

1Keith Townsend600 Honda1:18:36.3115.19
2Alisar Howarth600 Honda1:18:54.0114.76
3Pete Turnbull249 ZGT Honda1:20:07.9113.00
4Philip Guilder600 Honda1:20:13.1112.88
5Seamus Greene600 Honda1:20:13.1112.88
6Ian Pattinson600 Honda1:21:00.6111.77
FASTEST LAPKeith Townsend600 Honda19:19.8117.11
CLUB TEAM AWARDCrewe & South Cheshire MCCAndy JacksonAlan JacksonSteve Jones

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