The difference between the record lap speed of the TT and the Manx Grand Prix remains at around seven miles-an-hour, with John McGuinness (Yamaha) at 127.326mph this year and Davy Morgan (Suzuki) at 120.68mph last year the present respective holders. It is, of course, important to remember that the TT record is by a 1000cc machine, whereas the Manx Grand Prix top limit is 750cc.
Other MGP lap records going into this year's meeting are:
600cc Junior Tom Clucas 120.28mph last year
250cc Lightweight Richard Quayle 114.80mph 1999
125/400cc Ultra Lightweight Keith Taylor 109.68mph 2003
750cc Newcomers Ian Hutchinson 116.66mph 2003
250cc Newcomers Martin Finnegan 111.19mph 2000
125/400cc Newcomers Stuart Sturrock 107.86mph 2003
500cc Classic Bob Heath 106.74mph 1997
350cc Classic Jason Griffiths 102.33mph 2003
250cc Classic Roy Richardson 102.33mph 2003.
A smoother trip up the Mountain Mile is promised to riders in this year's Manx. Department of Transport workers have recently completed the re-surfacing of the stretch above Guthries most of the way to the Mountain Box.
The traditional Thursday afternoon practice session has been dropped for this year's Manx. In its place comes an evening session. The reason is to try to get more course marshals, now that Thursday afternoon half-day shop closing is no longer the vogue. However, attempts to run the TT Thursday practice in the afternoon and the evening this year were thwarted by the weather!
A clash between the Ulster Grand Prix and the start of Manx Grand Prix practice has been averted this year. The Dundrod meeting takes place on Saturday August 13th, with MGP Practice a week later on Saturday August 20th.
Hopes are high that the transponder timing of the Manx Grand Prix will run a lot more reliably at this year's Manx than hitherto. A complete de-bugging during last winter saw the timing of the TT almost fault-free. Interim leaderboards at Ballaugh Bridge and the Bungalow supplement those at the commentary positions at Glen Helen and Ramsey Hairpin.
Talented 125cc rider Tony Cawte from Crosby, Isle of Man, is to ride John Turner's Honda twins in the Classic this year. He tried out the 500 at the Southern 100, but only as a familiarisation exercise. Tony will also ride a pretty rapid 125cc Honda run by OTE and Team Domicilium. He is the fastest MGP 125cc rider to date.
The TT stars are really attacking the Classic Manx this year, with Richard Britton and Chris Palmer taking on the regulars in the 500cc class. Last year Derek Whalley won on a Seeley Matchless, but this year will concentrate on the 350 only. Jason Griffiths' new responsibilities to Yamaha mean he is unable to ride this time, but is still the Junior Classic lap record holder from his win on John Turner's Honda in 2003.
Guest of Honour at this year's Manx will be Geoff Tanner, who won the Senior and Junior races 50 years ago in 1955. It was the start of a treble double, with Jimmy Buchan winning both races in 1956 and Alan Holmes in 1957.