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Earlier start could ease frustration: McGuinness

 

Left frustrated: Derek Sheils was unable to get a lap he wanted under his belt yesterday during
the qualifying sessions for the Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix on the Isle of Man
Left frustrated: Derek Sheils was unable to get a lap he wanted under his belt yesterday during the qualifying sessions for the Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix on the Isle of Man

By Roy Harris

After assessing conditions around the 37-and-three-quarter mile Mountain Circuit, a disconsolate Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson was last night forced to abandon the qualifying sessions for the Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix, with competitors itching to get some necessary laps in.

Seasoned rider John McGuinness said: "We just seem to be repeating ourselves every evening. I don't know about this weather, I've been sat on the beach in Peel most of the day sunning myself, but the minute the bikes start on comes the rain.

"We are all chomping at the bit to get going. Monday night, I got as far as Union Mills before it got red flagged.

"It's maybe okay for the likes of myself, but for the newcomers and Manx GP competitors they need all the track time they can get.

"Maybe we have to think and talk to whoever is in charge about having more afternoon practice sessions."

Prior to the abandonment, Derek Sheils, fourth fastest in Monday's Classic Superbike TT qualifying on the Greenall Kawasaki, said: "Fingers crossed we get going so I can get a lap in on the Greenall 500cc Honda".

It wasn't to be, but when asked if he had an app to check the weather, Sheils quipped: "No, I just wake up and look out the window!"

Maria Costello commented: "After the beautiful day we have had, now the rain and mist comes in. Hats off to Gary Thompson, he is making all the right calls.

"I could have done with the laps tonight as we had to fit a new engine after problems on Monday night."

The only practice and qualifying to go ahead so far have been on Monday evening after the weather intervened on Saturday and a lack of marshals prevented Sunday's session taking place.

Bruce Anstey lit up the gloom by putting an illness-enforced two-year absence behind him to set the fastest lap of 116.277mph in the Lightweight Classic TT practice, riding the Milenco by Padgetts 250cc Honda.

With a huge grin on his face, the Flying Kiwi said: "I loved that all the way round. The second lap, things clicked and it felt as if I'd never been away."

Dean Harrison was first man away and recorded the fastest time of the evening on his Classic Superbike TT Silicone Engineering 750cc Kawasaki at a speed of 123.420mph - almost five seconds faster than Horst Saiger.

Harrison said: "I had only planned to do one lap on the Superbike and an exhaust bracket fractured. I have not much experience on a 2-stroke, so I wanted to get a couple of laps in on the Laylaw 250cc Yamaha, but only got one and was second fastest, 20 seconds behind Bruce."

Shortly after a second session got underway, Mark Herbertson, father of Dominic, crashed at the Black Hut and was taken by Air-Med to Nobles Hospital with leg injuries, causing the red flags to be deployed. With lost time and fading light, the rest of the session for Senior, Junior and Newcomers was cancelled, hoping for better weather yesterday, but, again, it wasn't to be, and, like at the TT in June, time is not on the side of either the organisers or competitors, with the first two Classic TT races for Senior and Junior machines scheduled for Saturday.

Qualifying is pencilled in to continue this evening from 6.20pm, but a poor weather forecast could have a big say in whether it takes place or not.

Belfast Telegraph

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