Entries continue to pour in for the Manx Grand Prix, practising for which starts on Saturday August 18th. To date, well over 400 have been received for the ten classes.
Not all of those who have applied will be able to be accommodated, but the intention is to try to give everyone qualified the opportunity to have at least one race.
Included among those who have already entered are three past TT winners – Ian Lougher, Ryan Farquhar and Chris Palmer, while the latter joins Bud Jackson, Roy Richardson, Derek Whalley, Mark Parrett, Dave Hughes and Ewan Hamilton as past winners at the MGP.
There are a number of foreign entries – from Germany, Italy, Holland, France and Austria, while there are already 32 competitors from the Isle of Man, led by 2005 Senior Classic winner Derek Whalley from Onchan.
There are also a number of female riders, including Maria Costello, who broke her leg in a practice crash last year having finished third in the Ultra Lightweight the year before – the first time a female competitor had got into the top three places at the MGP.
For the first time, a female competitor from Italy has applied to ride. Thirty-two-year-old waitress Simona Zaccardi from Rome has entered a 999cc Ducati in the Newcomers’ race. In 2004 she won the open class in the Italian Women’s Open Championship; in 2005 she won the Ducati Challenge in the Italian Supersport class; and last year she finished third in the European Women’s Championship.
Roy Richardson from Blackpool is one of two 2006 MGP winners entered so far, but entries remain open until Friday May 11th. Roy won the Junior Classic on a K4 350cc Honda last year, having triumphed in the Lightweight Classic in 2002 and 2003 and the main Junior race in 1997.
The other is Chris Palmer from Castletown, who won the Senior Classic on Fred Walmsley’s 500cc Norton. Before concentrating on the Manx Grand Prix, Chris will contest this year’s Centenary TT, but will not be able to repeat his 2003 and 2004 Ultra Lightweight successes as the class has since been discontinued.
Lougher and Farquhar will also ride in the TT, where both will be highly competitive. Forty-three-year-old Lougher, from Dromara, already has seven wins and 25 TT podium finishes behind him. Thirty-year-old Farquhar, from Dungannon, has two wins and six TT podium finishes to his credit. Both will contest the Junior Classic on Hondas. In the Senior Classic, Lougher again opts for a Honda but Farquhar will ride a Paton, as will Steve Linsdell, who finished runner-up to Palmer in last year’s race. Steve’s 19-year-old son Oliver will also make his MGP debut, as will Chris Swallow, 25-year-old son of nine-times past MGP winner Bill Swallow. Chris will ride a 350cc desmo Ducati!