Belfast Telegraph

Wilkinson joins list of greats with triumph at Manx GP

By Paul Lindsay

Peter Wilkinson added his name to an illustrious list yesterday after clinching victory in the Manx Grand Prix Newcomers A race.

The Manxman followed in the footsteps of the likes of Robert Dunlop, Michael Dunlop, Carl Fogarty, Phillip McCallen and Ryan Farquhar to stand on top of the podium.

John McGuinness, the 23-time Isle of Man TT winner, swapped his leathers for a microphone during yesterday's event, replacing Manx Radio TT stalwart Roy Moore at Ramsey Hairpin, as Roy was watching son Peter take part in the Newcomers B race.

Although the day's schedule was delayed due to rain, the Newcomers A, B and C races got away at the scheduled time of 2.00pm.

Northern Ireland's Neil Kernohan led on corrected time at the first checkpoint. However, the Ballymena rider's joy was short-lived after he was forced to retire just 13 miles into the three-lap race. Barry Lee Evans moved into the lead from Wilkinson with the Republic of Ireland's Damian Horan in third.

With a number of riders, including Wilkinson and Horan, opting to come in at the end of the first lap for refuelling, Evans extended his lead to 35 seconds with Frenchman Nicholas Pauet moving into the top three.

Evans came into the pits at the end of the second lap and with the Welshman taking over a minute, Wilkinson was announced as the new race leader - some 12 seconds ahead of Evans with Darren Cooper a further 12 seconds back in third. All three stayed in those positions until the chequered flag.

Gary Vines was victorious in the Newcomers B (Supertwin), while Elwyn Fryer was first home in the Newcomers C (Lightweight).

Today's Junior Manx Grand Prix will get under way at 10.15am with Malachi Mitchell-Thomas a slight race favourite after a 117.860mph fastest qualifying lap.

Meanwhile, Valentino Rossi does not believe his victory in Sunday's British Grand Prix gives him a significant psychological advantage over title rival Jorge Lorenzo.

Rossi regained the lead in the championship chase at Silverstone with Lorenzo down in fourth, falling 12 points behind, and the Italian believes the points on the board are far more important than any mental edge.

"It's not important, Jorge is very strong," he said.

"It's important to have the points but in terms of psychological advantage, it is not a lot unfortunately.

"For sure it's important to remain on top because I've been first from the first race and Jorge arrived at Barcelona one point behind, then arrived equal at Brno, but never in front."

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