Strong Race line up confirmed for 2010 Manx Grand Prix
Post Classic Field increases as event popularity grows
International field confirmed for Modern Race Programme
Entries have closed for the 2010 Manx Grand Prix and the mountwatering line-up has confirmed the event as the world’s premier Classic Road Race. Practices are scheduled from Saturday 21st August with race week from Monday 30th August to Friday 3rd September.
A strong entry has been assembled across all classes, notably for the Senior, Junior and Lightweight Classic races with a host of former winners returning. The decision in 2009 to include races for Post Classic machines has been vindicated with a significant rise in both quality and quantity in 2010.
The Senior Post Classic class has, arguably, the strongest entry of any race at this year's MGP with five Suzuki XR69 997cc machines, three of which will be in the hands of TT winners Ryan Farquhar and Michael Dunlop and fans favourite Guy Martin. Farquhar took the inaugural race last year in difficult conditions and will line-up as one of the pre-race favourites whilst Martin is expected to challenge if he has recovered from his TT injuries.
Meanwhile, Dunlop's participation is perhaps the most eagerly anticipated and, given his performances at TT2010 he could well come out on top in a race that should see the first 110mph+ laps achieved. Mark Buckley and Maria Costello line up on the other XR69s whilst other notable riders include Olie Linsdell on an FZ750 Yamaha, TT Rider Liaison Officer John Barton (749cc GSXR Suzuki), Davy Morgan (1045cc Kawasaki), Glyn Jones (1000cc VF Honda) and Mick Godfrey (1000cc GSXR Suzuki).
Meanwhile, in the Junior Post Classic class, last year's victor Brian Mateer returns on his 249cc TZ Yamaha to try and make it a double although it won't be easy for the Northern Irishman with Roy Richardson likely to challenge closely on a similar machine. Others mounted on 250cc Yamahas are Manx GP regular Phil McGurk, Barry Davidson, Stuart Garton, Ewan Hamilton and Roger Hurst. Peter Symes lines up on the solitary RS250cc Honda in the race. Popular Manx resident Chris Palmer will also be expected to feature at the front of the field.
There's similar strength in depth in the Senior Classic where Farquhar will again line up as favourite on the 500cc Paton that he took to lap and race records in 2009. The two men likely to push him hardest will be similarly mounted Linsdell and Alan Oversby who goes on the exotic 500cc MV Agusta. These three have the ability to make it a thrilling race at the head of the field.
The fourth man likely to be pushing for the win will be Roy Richardson on the Martin Bullock Racing Aermacchi Ala D'Oro. Wattie Brown (498cc Manx Norton), Steve Linsdell (499cc Seeley Enfield), Paul Coward (492cc Nourish Weslake) and Mark Parrett (500cc G50 Matchless) will lead the British machine charge.
Tony Russell, former 125cc British Championship regular Fernando Mendes, Mark Herbertson, Ken Davis, Keith Dixon and Bob Owen also go in this one with overseas entries coming from Jan Koning (Holland), Osmo Partti (Finland) and David Webber (Germany). Meanwhile, seven riders will line up in the 750cc class with the race win likely to be between David Madsen-Mygdal, Chris McGahan and Davy Morgan.
Farquhar (Drixton Honda) and Oversby (MV Agusta) should also be pushing each other hard in Wednesday’s Junior Classic but they'll also have to contend with, amongst others, Chris Palmer (AJS), Richardson (Aermacchi), Morgan (Honda) and Madsen-Mygdal (Honda). Other riders to watch include Mendes, Garton, Davis, Dixon, Nigel Moore and Doug Snow. In the concurrently run Lightweight class, Ewan Hamilton, Barry Davidson, David Smith, Peter Symes, Roger Hurst, Tom Jackson and Peter Wakefield should be the main contenders.
As well as the prestigious Classic races, the Manx Grand Prix also features modern machines and strong fields have been assembled, particularly for the Senior and Junior races where 81 and 94 entries respectively have been received. It's a similar line up in each but a significant number of 750s will also feature in the Senior.
With last year's victors Michael Russell and Stephen McIlvenna having moved on the TT, this year's races are wide open but there's a host of leading names likely to be fighting it out at the head of the field in both races. Outright lap record holder Alan Jackson jnr is back for another attempt on the WA Corless Honda whilst another riding tackling the Mountain Course after returning from injury is Ryan McCay, the PRF Racing rider having crashed out of last year's Senior while leading.
Southern Ireland riders David Lumsden and Michael Sweeney are getting quicker and quicker around the 37.73-mile course so can be expected to be at the forefront of the action once more whilst the consistent Phil McGurk, Jules Croft, Wayne Kirwan, Andrew Brady and Ivan Lintin should not be ruled out. With Ryan Kneen and Sean Murphy having opted out of the event, local hopes rest with Simon Fulton and Andy Cowin, the duo both 600cc Yamaha mounted. Stephen McKnight, Glyn Jones, Peter Symes and Mike Minns are also expected to be challenging hard come race day. Double TT2010 Sidecar passenger Dan Sayle is a notable entry in the Junior and Lightweight Races and will be going for his third consecutive win while Chris McGahan is also a local contender for honours in the Senior, Junior and Post Classic Races.
The MGP still plays host to two-strokes and although there are only 15 machines entered for the Lightweight 250cc, the quality is good with the highest profile entry Ballymoney rider William Dunlop. He is the clear favourite for the race but fellow countrymen Davy Morgan and Nigel Moore will also be in contention as will last year's runner-up Neil Kent and 250cc regulars Roy Richardson, Phil Harvey, Tom Snow and Stuart Garton.
Run in conjunction with the 250s, the Ultra Lightweight race should see a fascinating contest between the 400cc and 650cc machines although the smaller capacity machines have held sway in recent years. However, many of the main contenders have gone for either a Suzuki SV650 or Kawasaki ER6 this year including Jackson, Sweeney, Kirwan, Lintin, McGurk, Cowin, Minns, Rab Davie and former TT star David Bell. The best of the 400cc runners should be Johnson and Joe Phillips whilst a handful of 125cc machines are also entered.
Last, but by no means least, the Newcomers races will again take place with a number of riders tackling the most famous road race circuit in the world for the first time. Picking the favourites is no easy task as Mountain Course form is an unknown quantity but 22-year old Douglas rider Tim Venables is expected to be a front runner in the 'A' class having previously impressed at the Southern 100. Another local, Andy Fenton, also rode well at Billown so is worth watching whilst the event has also attracted international entries from Tommaso Totti, the 2009 Runner up in the Italian under 21 600 Championship and Kamil Holan who won the Czech Republic Superbike Cup. Other International newcomers from France, Austria, Norway, Germany and Denmark are also confirmed to take part.