Belfast Telegraph

Soar claims victory after fatal crash

By Paul Lindsay

The Senior Manx Grand Prix was overshadowed by the death yesterday of 50-year-old competitor Gary Firth, from Barnsley, following a three-rider incident at the 11th Milestone.

James Buckett and Hefyn Owen, the other riders involved, were described as ‘okay’ and were taken back to the Grandstand by the course car.

Alan Thomas, who was involved in a separate incident at Alpine Cottage, was taken to Nobles Hospital where he was reported to have multiple fractures, but is in a stable condition.

The race was immediately red flagged and Clerk of Course Phil Taubman later declared a result from the end of lap two, with all having completed half distance in the scheduled four-lap race.

Despite being in third place at the time of the red flag, Loughborough’s Andy Soar was eventually awarded the victory, joining some of the most illustrious names in motorcycling history, including Harold Daniell, Geoff Duke, Phil Read and Ryan Farquhar, by standing on the top step of yesterday’s 77th Senior MGP podium.

Soar led coming into the pits with an all-important second lap of 117.152mph, but behind him the closing pair of Michael Moulai (117.910mph) and Rob Hodson (118.142mph) — who had been swapping places on the second lap — were only 5.8 and 7 seconds respectively behind the race leader, with Mitchell-Thomas (116.652pmh) holding fourth.

Hodson had moved into the lead at Ballaugh, just under a second ahead of Moulai, with Soar dropping to third some 3.3 seconds behind Moulai. But then the news came through that the race had been red flagged and abandoned. Irishman Andy Farrell with two podiums already under his belt from this year’s Manx Grand Prix was awarded sixth place on the Martin Bullock-backed Kawasaki. Newcomer Shane Egan was ninth and Neil Lyons 15th.

Jeremy McWilliams’ return to Grand Prix racing at the British round at Silverstone, is turning out to be a tough task.

In yesterday’s second free practice session the former 250GP winner was bottom of the pile in the Moto2 class, some 8.2 seconds down on provisional pole man Esteve Rabat on the Marc VDS Racing Kalex chassis. Michael Laverty was 20th in FP2 in the MotoGP class, some 4.2 seconds down on reigning world champion Marc Marquez in the provisional pole slot.

Meanwhile, runaway MotoGP championship leader Marc Marquez returned to his usual position at the top of the timesheet following second practice for tomorrow’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

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