The Isle of Man’s Peter Wilkinson followed illustrious names including Ian Hutchinson, Robert Dunlop, Michael Dunlop, Carl Fogarty, Phillip McCallen and Ryan Farquhar for a popular win in the IMGold Manx Grand Prix Newcomers A Race, the opening race of the Manx Grand Prix, on the Isle of Man. Gary Vines took the chequered flag in the Newcomers B (SuperTwin) class while Elwyn Fryer was first home in the Newcomers C (Lightweight) Race.The newcomers circulated under the watchful eye of 23 time TT newcomer John McGuinness, who swapped his leathers for a microphone and replaced Manx Radio TT stalwart Roy Moore at Ramsey Hairpin as Roy’s son Peter was taking part in the Newcomer B race and Roy was on the grid to see him off down Bray Hill.
Although the day’s schedule was delayed due to rain around the course, and had been postponed from Monday to allow more practice time for the MGP Newcomers, the Newcomers A, B and C races actually got away at the scheduled time of 2pm with the practice session postponed until after the race. However, the race was reduced from four to three laps to ensure that enough time was allocated to practices ahead of tomorrow’s Junior and SuperTwin/Lightweight races.Competitors were advised of damp patches in places around the circuit, which would be indicated by waved flags, but the roads had dried significantly from the rain earlier in the day.French rider Frederic Besnard had the honour of being first away from the start line at 2pm in the Newcomers A Race. Besnard was narrowly first on the road to Glen Helen but Northern Ireland’s Neil Kernohan lead on corrected time by a second from Welsh rider Barry Lee Evans with the Isle of Man’s Peter Wilkinson, who had qualified fastest, a further two seconds back in third at the first checkpoint.However, with Kernohan reported to have stopped at Ballaskyr Bridge on the approach to Barregarrow, Barry Lee Evans moved into the lead from Wilkinson with the Republic of Ireland’s Damian Horan back in third.Barry Lee Evans’ opening lap of 113.162/ 20:00.301 gave him a 26 second lead from Wilkinson (110.722/ 20.26.750) with Darren Cooper (110.150/ 20:33.157) moving into third.With a number of riders including Wilkinson and fourth placed man Damian Horan opting to come in at the end of the first lap for refuelling, Evans extended his lead over Cooper to thirty five seconds with French rider Nicholas Pauet moving into the top three but by the Grandstand on the second lap Peter Wilkinson (110.409/ 20:30.224) had moved back into the top three, although the Manx Man was almost 56 seconds behind race leader Evans who clocked another 113mph plus lap (113.221) with Cooper (112.176) eleven seconds behind the race leader.Evans and Cooper both came into the pits at the end of the second lap and with the Welshman taking over a minute in the pits all eyes were on the first timing point at Glen Helen on the third lap when a clearer picture would emerge.It revealed that Peter Wilkinson was the new race leader, 12 seconds ahead of Evans with Cooper a further 12 seconds back in third and that remained the race order at the chequered flag with Wilkinson (111.552/ 1:00.52.874) winning by seven seconds from Evans (111.316/ 1:01.00.617) with Cooper 110.675/ 1:01.21.795) taking the final podium place.In the concurrent Newcomers B Race Colchester’s Gary Vines, Yamaha mounted, opened up a 17 second gap from second placed James Chawke (21:34.769/ 104.905) with Sean Connolly, from the Republic of Ireland, in third place after his opening lap of 103.752/ 21:49.166. West Kirby based racer Sam Cross (103.728/ 21:49.463) was fourth with Australian Royce Rowe (102.150/ 22:09.696) completing the top five.Chawke was reported to have had an accident at the Gooseneck and although he wasn’t injured, his race was over. Sam Cross moved through the field into second place with a second lap of 104.913/ 21:34.671), fifty seconds behind Vines with Royce Rowe up into third. Vines (104.563/ 1:04.57.033) duly completed his race win from Cross (103.320/ 1:05.43.917) but Connolly 103.240/ 1:05.46.971) came back to take the final podium place.In the Newcomer C Race Elwyn Fryer from Gosport dominated the race with an opening lap of 100.862/ 22:26.668 which gave him a commanding lead of over twenty seconds from Japanese rider Masayuki Yamanaka with the Isle of Man’s Robert Smith back in third with 98.422/ 23.00.054. That remained the order at the chequered flag with Fryer winning in a time of 101.051/ 1:07.12.446 from Yamanaka (99.881/ 1:07.59.711) with Smith 99.097/ 1:08.31.953) in third place.
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.