The countdown is now on for the popular Manx Grand Prix races taking place on the world-famous Snaefell Mountain Course. Practising starts on the evening of Saturday August 19th and continues each evening until the following Saturday.
There are nine separate classes catering for machines ranging from 125cc to 750cc, with Classics covering 250cc, 350cc and 500cc categories.
Continuing with a review of some of the personalities involved:
Outright lap record holder Alan Jackson (26) from Preston is hoping this year will bring him the race victory he has striven so hard for. In last year’s Senior he was engaged in a tremendous battle with Seamus Greene and Ian Pattinson until gearbox troubles slowed him. to third. Prior to that he had lapped in 18 minutes 31.45 seconds, an average speed of 122.208mph.
With Greene and Pattinson having graduated to the TT, Jackson must start favourite for the Senior and Junior events, where he rides a 750cc Suzuki and a 600cc Honda respectively, the latter sponsored by W.A. Corless Joinery.
Alan's elder brother Andy, also from Preston, goes very well too and returns to the MGP with 600cc Hondas sponsored by Caterall Motors. His best place so far is fifth in the 2002 Senior.
And there’s a third A. Jackson just to confuse spectators. This one, though, is universally known as Bud Jackson and is the redoubtable host of the Oddfellows Arms public house in Kendal in Cumbria. He has four MGP wins to his credit, three of which came on Suzuki T20s in the Lightweight Classic which he contests on similar machinery again this year, along with a ride in the Senior Classic aboard a 500cc Drixton Honda Twin.
A brave ambition is expressed by Martin Jones from Narberth. He hopes to become the fastest solo machine amputee rider around the TT Course. The 33-year-old mechanic has Hondas in the Ultra Lightweight and Junior races.
Evergreen Steve Linsdell from Bedfordshire returns with the fabulous Italian Paton 500cc twin for the Senior Classic. Last year he was leading but mechanical problems intervened. Both Steve and his bike certainly have the requisite pedigree. Steve was runner-up in the 2004 400cc TT, while the Paton gained considerable world championship success in the hands of Billie Nelson, Angelo Bergamonti and Fred Stevens. A smaller type was ridden by the late great Mike Hailwood on the Clypse Course.
How about this for racing credentials? Six TT wins, eight North West 200 wins, 12 Ulster Grand Prix. Ian Lougher, from Dromara, Co. Down, would love to add a Manx Grand Prix victory and makes his comeback to the meeting with 350 and 500cc Honda twins sponsored by John Davies. In his very first MGP in 1983 Ian finished third to Robert Dunlop and Steve Hislop in the Junior Newcomers’ race, the three later going on to notch up no fewer than 22 TT wins between them.