Overcast conditions, damp patches, mist and an earlier diesel spill from Braddan Bridge to Kirk Michael all contributed to a severely reduced practice on the Isle of Man today at the Manx Grand Prix.
The two proposed practice sessions were run together with modern bikes at the front, starting from the pit lane exit, and the classic machines following from the pit lane entrance.
The session began almost an hour late, shortly before 7.15pm, with Dan Sayle, who yesterday set an unofficial lap record in the lightweight class, on his 600cc Junior machine and Peter Symes on his Senior bike.
Sayle’s opening lap of 104.467 was the fastest for most of the evening before Paul Smyth went round in 106.316. Michael Moulai was the fastest Senior competitor of the evening with 104.459.
In total 91 riders went out for the session and times were considerably down on the previous evenings, with many of the competitors electing not to go out for the practice.
Mark Buckley on the Suzuki XR69 in the Senior Post Classic Class went close to posting a 100mph lap with 99.871 while Michael Dunlop, with an extremely conservative lap by his standards, recorded 99.343mph Chris Palmer went round in 98.372 for the fastest Junior Classic time of the evening.
The Manx Grand Prix Races start on Monday 30th August and organisers have admitted that the fast times in the Post Classic Class have forced a reappraisal of the schedule.
Michael Dunlop has shattered the Post Classic lap record, albeit unofficially, with a time of 119.590mph (18:55.78) around the 37 æ mile mountain course, achieving a lap time only 25 seconds outside the outright Manx Grand Prix Lap Record, and on a machine that was built seven years before he was born.
Clerk of the Course Phil Taubman confirmed that: “The Manx Motorcycle Club has changed the race schedule on Monday to ensure that riders of comparable standard and times are running together.
"The Post Classic Senior Class will now follow the Newcomer A Group with the Newcomer B Group going ahead of the Post Classic Junior competitors.”
Olie Linsdell, who posted 114.931 on the 746cc Yamaha in Wednesday’s practice was the second fastest qualifier for the Post Classic Senior class with Mark Buckley third fastest on the 997cc Suzuki with a time that he set in Friday’s session.
In the Post Classic Junior Class Chris Palmer, with his unofficial record from Friday’s practice on the ’91 Yamaha TZV Twin 250cc, tops the qualifying leaderboard with 111.075mph from Roy Richardson on the Yamaha TZ 249cc at 109.136 that he set in Tuesday’s practice.
The positions are reversed in the Junior Classic with Roy Richardson on top on his 349cc Aermacchi, set on Thursday, and Chris Palmer the second fastest qualifier on the 350cc AJS from Wednesday’s practice. Tom Jackson narrowly heads the Lightweight Classic qualifiers from David Smith.
Monday’s Races start at 10.15am with the Newcomers and Post Classic (Senior and Junior) Races with the Junior and Lightweight Classic starting at 1.15pm and a practice session and Vintage Motorcycle Club Parade following after the races.
The two riders who were injured in Friday night’s practice were both confirmed with fractures.
Finland’s Osmo Partti was reported as comfortable in Nobles hospital with an arm fracture following following an accident at Cruickshanks while Andy Lawson was discharged from hospital on Saturday morning with a broken finger. There were no incidents reported in this evenings session.