Final practice for the Isle of
Man TT Races was seriously affected by an incident in the Black Dub section of
the course when three riders crashed resulting in a roadside hedge catching
fire. The session, held in glorious conditions, had only been underway for a
matter of minutes when the red flag was brought out at the Grandstand after
Michael Weynand crashed heavily also bringing down Victor Gilmore and Jim
Hodson, fortunately without serious injury to the three riders.
Belgian rider, who had been in scintillating form during the week, suffered
heavy bruising to his ankles and feet whilst Gilmore suffered shoulder
injuries. Hodson was unscathed.
With the fire brigade called out to
deal with the fire and a road sweeper summoned to sweep the track, the session
was halted for almost an hour and when it did resume solo riders were only able
to complete one lap, seriously affecting the plans of some who would have been
hoping to use the session to make some final, pre-race adjustments.
Riders in the numbers 1-30 bracket were able to complete their lap at a
reasonable speed but one man who didn’t was Guy Martin who only got as far
as the Hawthorn before coasting to a halt. With the session re-starting, the
first pairing away were Martin Finnegan and Michael Rutter but it was Ian
Hutchinson who set the pace with a fine lap of 127.049mph, followed by Bruce
Anstey at 126.017mph and Ryan Farquhar at 124.317mph. Martin Finnegan
(124.206), Adrian Archibald (124.201) and Michael Rutter (124.114) completed
the top six.
Practice pace setter John McGuinness opted to take his
Supersport machine out and the move paid dividends as he posted the best 600cc
lap of the night at 122.423mph. He was followed by Shaun Harris, who recorded
his first 120mph lap of the week at 120.560mph, and Conor Cummins who posted a
In the Superstock Hutchinson again set the pace being
one of the riders to record two lap speeds, and he recorded a speed of
125.570mph. Finnegan, who must be a serious contender for honours on his MV
Agusta, was again high on the leaderboard at 124.325mph closely followed by
Archibald at 123.963mph. James McBride, who has been posting some impressive
times throughout the week, lapped at 121.904mph ahead of Paul Hunt (121.158)
and Nigel Beattie (121.094). Meanwhile, Gary Johnson almost joined his fellow
Lincolnshire newcomer Steve Plater in lapping at more than 120mph with an
excellent speed of 119.810mph.
The sidecars managed to get in two laps
in their shortened session but Dave Molyneux and Rick Long finally showed
something like their usual form and a lap of 112.778mph not only placed them
top of the nights session but will also have restored some confidence going in
to tomorrow’s race. John Holden and Andrew Winkle continued their fine
form with a lap of 111.235mph, their best ever lap, whilst Steve Norbury and
Scott Parnell also got themselves back into contention with a lap of 110.191.
Allan Schofield and Peter Founds have been in the top five all week and the
Lancashire driver recorded his first ever 110mph lap with a speed of
110.167mph. Greg Lambert and Gary Partridge, another pairing to suffer
reliability issues this week, put in a fine performance with a lap of
The scene is now set for the opening day of racing with the
6-lap Bennetts TT Superbike race getting underway at 12pm, followed by the
3-lap Bavaria Sidecar race at 3pm.