After Wednesday’s Junior when Craig Atkinson beat Derek Brien by one-hundredth of a second, the crowds were looking forward to a repeat, except that the more knowledgeable knew that Atkinson had switched to a more powerful machine, a 750cc Suzuki, while Brien again relied on his trusty 600cc Kawasaki.
At the end of lap one Atkinson led Brien by 11.85seconds at an average speed of 117.43mph with the latter doing wonders to repel three 750cc Suzukis – in the hands of Stephen Oates, Philip McGurk and Adam Barclay, with Scott Wilson in sixth berth on a 600cc Kawasaki. Maurice Hogg, James McCullagh, Glyn Jones and Andrew Neill made up the top ten.
As the leaders pulled in for fuel replenishment at the end of the second lap, Atkinson led rien by 16.98seconds, their race average speeds 117.610 and 116.751mph respectively. Oates stayed third at 115.960, with Barclay up to fourth, McGurk dropping back and soon retiring at the Pits. Fifth therefore became McCullagh and sixth Newcomers’ winner Shane Connor. Hogg (7th), Neill (8th), Wilson (9th), McGurk (10th before quitting).
Atkinson was intent on doing the Junior-Senior double (the first for 10 years) and had a composed refuelling stop, his pit in the middle of the row, too far ahead for him to keep an eye on Brien, whose pit counter was behind him at the top end.
One lap to go and Atkinson looked set fair for the Senior win, averaging 115.914mph. He was 15.40seconds to the good as the time-check was taken at the Grandstand. Oates was secure in third, with Connor doing wonders to move to fourth at 113.028mph. Fifth was Barclay and sixth Neill. McCullagh (7th), Hogg (8th), Wilson (9th) and Glyn Jones 10th.
Atkinson duly whizzed round the final circuit keeping an eye on Brien, but all-the-while knowing he was behind him on time and on the road – always a good position to be in.
Oates was going well and OK for third, but the second threesome was less established.
The winning margin was 29.75seconds at 116.269mph. Brien was a fine second at 115.534mph and Oates third at 114.414mph. Fourth was Connor, fifth Barclay and sixth Neill. Seventh Hogg, eighth McCullagh, ninth Jones and 10th Wilson.