The sensation of Tuesday’s third practice was a crash by the fastest man ever in the Manx Grand Prix.
Twenty-seven-year-old Alan Jackson from Preston came off his 750cc Martin Bulock Racing Suzuki at the Black Dub near Glen Helen and the ankle injuries he received seem certain to eliminate him from the rest of the meeting.
He had topped the practice speeds at 114.292mph on the same bike the previous evening and was favourite to win having lapped at 122.208mph when leading last year. Mechanical trouble later in that race put him back to third, but it was commonly thought he could do it this time.
The drizzle which beset the session caused a number of other spills, and the rapidly reducing visibility on the Mountain eventually caused the organisers to display the red "stop" flag at Ramsey and force them to return under travelling marshal escort.
The faster Senior class lap came from 37-year-old hospital catering driver Stephen Oates on the Hallett Aviation Racing 750cc Suzuki. He and Keighley’s Craig Atkinson on Martin Bullock’s 750cc Suzuki started the main session together and after two laps were still side-by-side. Oates got the verdict by 1.2 seconds at average speeds of 109.28 and 109.18mph respectively.
Atkinson got his own back on the Junior 600s by leading at 111.144mph – which proved to be the fastest lap of the entire evening. Oates was nine seconds slower at 110.299mph.
The Lightweight class was again headed by Stuart Garton from Scunthorpe on the
R. and S. Performance Centre Honda. Reflecting the poorer conditions, his average was 107.311mph compared to 108.251 on Monday.
In the Newcomers’ the quickest lap was by Shane Connor from Co. Meath, Eire, who did 108.306mph on his 750cc Suzuki. That took over the class leadership from Mats Nilsson. No credible times were set by the 400cc newcomers as they also were victims of the red flag.
The Classics and Ultra-Lightweight also had no times registered as they were pulled up, as stated, although their laps will count towards general qualification.
Besides Jackson's spill at the Black Dub, in which it is thought he broke both ankles, Matthew Turner from Stoke-on-Trent crashed his 600cc Bikeparts-4-U Suzuki at the 26th Milestone (Joey’s) and suffered shoulder and knee injuries; Scott Wilson from Burton-in-Kendal (600 Bob Jackson Kawasaki) crashed at Brandish Corner and cut a finger; and Nigel Howard from Little Neston (600 Honda) fell off at the Gooseneck but was not injured.
The next practice is scheduled for Wednesday evening at 6.15pm.