BROWNE FASTEST IN CURTAILED SECOND QUALIFYING
After a cancellation on Monday night due to poor weather conditions, the second qualifying session of the Manx Grand Prix was able to take place this evening. It was an interrupted and shortened session and competitors were only able to complete one lap.
Mike Browne posted the quickest Lightweight lap of the week so far with a lap of 113.486mph on the Laylaw Racing Yamaha. That put him ahead of team-mate Ian Lougher and James Hind (Dennis Trollope Racing) whilst it was Francesco Curinga (ILR/Coverdale Paton) and Stefano Bonetti (Peter Beugger Racing Paton) who topped the Junior and Classic Senior leaderboards respectively with laps of 112.773mph and 104.800mph.
In the second qualifying session Dunlop headed out on a more familiar machine, his XR69
After a short 10-minute delay, it was the Classic Superbike and Senior session that got underway first, at 6.30pm, with Michael Dunlop (Team Classic Suzuki) and Jamie Coward (KTS Racing powered by Steadplan Kawasaki) leading the field away, Dunlop heading out on his XR69 Suzuki rather than the newer SRAD model as he looked to bank a qualifying time on the more familiar machine.
They were swiftly followed down Glencrutchery Road by Michael Rutter (Bathams Ales Suzuki), Phil Crowe (Team Classic Suzuki), Paul Jordan (Mistral Racing Kawasaki), the Greenall Racing Kawasaki trio of Brian McCormack, Nathan Harrison and Rob Hodson, Craig Neve (Alasdair Cowan Racing Kawasaki) and Michael Sweeney on the second Mistral machine.
Early starters in the Senior class included David McConnachy (Peter Dobson Racing Triumph), Sunday’s pace setter Stephen Smith (Alasdair Cowan Racing Kawasaki), Jamie Williams (NCE Racing Honda) and Victor Lopez (Xecretia Road Racing Honda).
Dunlop set the pace from Neve and McCormack through both Glen Helen and Ballaugh with Smith doing likewise in the Senior but as the first dozen riders had reached Ramsey Hairpin, the red flag was out due to an incident at Rhencullen involving Senior competitor Jim Barnett although he was reported as conscious with suspected hip and ankle injuries.
That proved to be the only action the Classic Superbike and Senior runners got but, after a lengthy delay to allow a sweeper on to the course, the second session was started at 7.40pm with the Junior, Lightweight and Classic Senior bikes sent out on to the TT Mountain Course.
Amongst the first away were Michael Russell (Izzard Racing Norton), John McGuinness MBE (Winfield Paton) and James Hillier (CSC Racing Yamaha) in the Classic Senior category, Andrea Majola and Ben Rea (Heattech Racing Kawasaki) on their Junior machines and the Lightweight Yamaha’s of Laylaw Racing pairing Lougher and Browne.
Lougher and Hind were keeping the pace in the single lap qualifying session.
Lougher and Hind set the early pace in the Lightweight with Majola doing likewise in the Junior ahead of fellow Paton rider and pre-race favourite Curinga, whilst Coward (Ted Woof/Craven Manx Norton) was the quickest to Glen Helen in the Classic Senior class, just ahead of Bonetti.
It was Lougher who led on the road and he was the first to complete the lap at 113.118mph, which was just two seconds quicker than Hind (112.932mph) but both were upstaged by Browne who was clearly enjoying his time on the little two-stroke with a lap of 113.486mph putting him four seconds up on Lougher.
Stuart Hall was the fourth and final rider to break the 110mph barrier in the Lightweight class after lapping at 110.231mph on his Yamaha with Dan Sayle (106.816) and Dominic Herbertson (101.565) completing the top six.
Francesco Curinga lead the way in tonight's Junior Class with the fastest lap of the session
Having got away first, Majola was the first Junior machine to flash across the line with a lap of 109.160mph but that was only good enough for fourth on the leaderboard with Curinga setting the fastest lap on the night at 112.773mph. That put him a healthy ten seconds up on second quickest Jamie Williams (111.841mph) with Dan Ingham (109.655mph) slotting into third ahead of Majola, Lopez Santos (109.000mph) and Rea (108.229mph).
Meanwhile, it was Bonetti who topped the Classic Senior leaderboard with a lap of 104.800mph which was 14s quicker than second placed Lee Johnston (103.677mph) on the Davies Motorsport Yamaha.
Class veteran Alan Oversby (103.038mph) placed third on the Martin Ireland Honda ahead of Russell (102.860mph), Rob Hodson (102.805mph) and Michael Sweeney (99.578mph). McGuinness, quickest in Sunday’s opening session, was back in eighth with a loose fuel tank keeping his speed down to 98.685mph.
Dunlop, Hillier, Rhys Hardisty, James Chawke and Dave Hewson were amongst the retirements and with mist beginning to descend upon the Snaefell Mountain, the session came to an early end after just one lap.