Tuesday 23 January 2018

Happy hunting ground for local riders at the Manx Grand Prix

Jack Corry - Corry Corner

The Manx Grand Prix over the famous TT Mountain course was held last week, and once more it was a happy hunting ground for local riders. This year saw one of the largest ever Irish contingent of riders take part, and apart from the local riders, success came to the 'Rebel County' when veteran rider Derek Wilson claimed the Newcomers "B" race.

Derek Sheils got the chance to ride in the Classic Superbike race for the English Greenhall Racing Team, and he finished in seventh place in the GP2 class at an average speed of 119.435mph, and a coveted silver replica as well.

TT legend Eddie Laycock returned to the Island with his former sponsor and team owner Gerry Lawlor under the banner of LayLaw racing, and they had two bikes in the Lightweight Classic TT.

Former 250 TT lap record holder Ian Lougher came home behind winner Bruce Anstey in second place, and it was Anstey who set the Island alight, smashing the 250 lap record when pushing it to 120.475mph.

Lougher was over one minute back in second. Once more it was Skerries rider Micko Sweeney who rode the second bike for the team in the F2GP class, and he was the first home in 12th overall, and picked a silver replica to add to his collection.

Micko will make a rare appearance at the East Coast Racing Festival this weekend on a 125 Honda for the Joey's bar team in the final road race of the season.

The Newcomers "B" race saw Derek Wilson lead from the start, but when he came in to fuel he was handed a speeding ticket for exceeding the pit lane limit of 60km per hour, and yet it didn't deter the wily Cork rider. He rode the wheels off the 650 Kawasaki to take the win, and to see the smile on his face spoke many words.

Andy Farrell has crashed in his past two Manx races, crashing at both, and despite a lot of bad luck in practice the Skerries rider took the Ollies Place-sponsored 650 Kawasaki to an excellent second place after four tough laps.

Farrell led for almost the first two laps, before being overhauled by Darren Cooper, who went on to take the win from Farrell by 28 seconds. Another Skerries rider, David Lumsden, retired on the final lap.

Farrell had a lucky escape in the 600 junior race when a rider crashed heavily in front of him at the Union Mills section of the course, and in the process took down an electric pole, just missing the Skerries rider. The red flag came out, and the injured rider was taken to hospital with leg injuries.

David Lumsden had better luck in the junior race, finishing in a fine eighth place and taking home a replica. Farrell finished in 43rd place with a replica, despite machine problems.

David Lumsden produced some of his old form in the Senior race, the final race of the programme, when he took the Martin Bullock 600 Honda to a brilliant fourth place and a final lap of over 120mph, which saw him join the 'Tommy Club'. This is a club in memory of the late Tommy Clucas, and to join this elusive club you have to lap the Manx Grand Prix at over 120mph, and 'The Hammer' did that on his final lap of the race.

Andy Farrell retired at the end of lap one, stating that his head was not in it and he was making mistakes, which was a wise decision.

Fingal Independent

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