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Aug 19, 2013

Classic TT And Manx GP Get Underway On The Isle Of Man

Classic TT: A racer on a vintage motorcycle on the Isle of Man.

The Isle of Man TT Mountain Course reverberated to the ear-splitting sound of Classic bikes as qualifying began in the inaugural Classic TT Races presented by Bennetts.

The eclectic mixture of machines on the course featured some of the finest names in Motorcycling history including Aermacchi's, AJS's, BSA's, Patons, Benellis, Velocettes, Matchless, Vincent, Enfields, and a smattering of Moto Guzzis, the sound of which was memorably described by Manx Radio TT commentator Roy Moore as 'the Italian National Anthem', alongside Classic machines from the Japanese manufacturers, while a number of Nortons and a few Triumphs ensured that the high profile British manufacturers earlier machines were also represented.

Oil on the track at Greeba Bridge and Barregarrow delayed the start of the Classic session, and ultimately resulted in the Classic riders only getting a single practice lap, although some of the riders went out earlier in the MGP session. The Classic only practice eventually got underway shortly before 8pm with riders warned that there would be lack of adhesion flags displayed at the oil spills.

A number of the leading TT riders took to the track for their first experience of Classic Racing on the Mountain Course in the untimed session including Bruce Anstey on the McIntosh Norton, Cameron Donald on the Matchless, Ian Lougher on the Royal Enfield, Conor Cummins on Tony Dunnells Manx Norton, Steve Mercer and Dan Cooper representing the Yamaha Classic Race Team while experienced Classic Racer Olie Linsdell was also prominent on the Giovanni Cabassi Paton.

Gary Johnson went out on a 1250 'Harris' and also got out on his Lincs Lifting MV Agusta, while Nick Jefferies, the '93 Formula One TT race winner, also returned to the Mountain Course for the first time since 2002, riding a Honda.

Twenty-time TT race winner John McGuinness, who arrived on the Island earlier in the day having competed in the World Endurance round in Germany at the weekend, rode the Team Winfield Paton in a much-anticipated appearance, with McGuinness getting into the spirit of the event by wearing retro leathers and a historic Shoei helmet, complete with Lancashire red rose.

Although the session was untimed, riders took advantage of the session to get in practice ahead of tomorrow's first timed session with no one pushing it more than Michael Dunlop, on the Team Classic Suzuki XR69, first back to the Grandstand. Dunlop also got an earlier lap in on the Manx Norton he'll ride in the 500cc race.

Each of the six classic races have ten nominated seeded riders who will occupy the first ten start places with the qualifying sessions determining the remaining start positions in each race.

An international field of newcomers, who earlier had their speed-controlled lap at the beginning of the session, went out for their first proper lap. They included Herman Verboven from Belgium, Finland's Jussi Luoma, Hans De Witt from Holland, Ronald Van Looey (Belgium), Kenny Hinck from Germany and a group of Australian newcomers including Cycle Torque Magazine journalist Christopher Picket, Alan Johnson, Mick Heason, Russell Fairburn and Noel Heenan who was riding an ex Jack Findlay Yamaha.

UK based newcomers getting their first lap of the TT Mountain Course included England's Keith Clarke, Richard Ford, Christopher Dixon, Adrian Morris, Roger Birkinhead, Steve Dobie, Rob Padgett, Richard Wilson and Adrian Morris.

Tomorrow's session sees the Classic machines away at 18.20 in the first timed session for all classes. The race schedule sees the much-anticipated Bennetts 500cc race on Saturday 24th August with the combined Okells 350/250 race and the Motorsport Merchandise Formula 1, 2 and Formula Classic Races both on Monday.

More, from a press release issued by Manx Grand Prix Press Office:


After a short delay moving marshals around the course, the 2013 Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling finally got underway this evening. Conditions were reported as good with dry roads although riders were warned about low sunlight.

Appropriately it was the Manx Grand Prix newcomers who were first on the track as the MGP celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, getting their first speed controlled 'sighting' lap.
Six riders were given the honour of being first on the Mountain course - Chris Dixon from Egremont, South African Colin Lehmann, Phil Gibbon from St Helens, Romanian Petre Pop, Lincolnshire man Michael Hand and Xavier Dennis from France under the guidance of head travelling marshal Tony Duncan.

Shortly before 7pm the established riders took to the Mountain course for the first time this year for an untimed session with leading riders including Michael Sweeney, Adam Jones, Phil McGurk, Tim Poole, Andy Soar and last year's newcomer A race winner Kamil Holan all away early.

Sweeney, Andy Lawson and Carl Roberts were in the early group of finishers in the Junior Manx Grand Prix session with most of the riders able to get a couple of laps in ahead of the session closing at 7.20pm.

This year sees the introduction of the seeding system that is used at the TT, with the first ten places pre-allocated and the remaining grid positions determined by qualifying times.
The Lightweight machines and newcomers B and C will be first away tomorrow at 18.20 with the Senior, Junior, SuperTwin and Newcomers scheduled to start their session at 19.05

More, from a press release issued by Avon Tires:

STOW, OH – Aug. 19, 2013 – David Roper of Team Obsolete will bring the AJS 7R3 “Triple Knocker” to this year’s Manx Grand Prix on Avon tires.

The Manx Grand Prix motorcycle races, scheduled August 23-30 this year, are held annually on the Isle of Man TT “Mountain Circuit” course for two weeks, and this year marks the 90th anniversary of the race. The 'MGP,' or 'Manx' as it is more commonly known, is considered to be the amateur riders' alternative to the original Isle of Man TT races held in May and June. No other motorcycle race is held on such a challenging track. This nearly 38-mile mountain course requires intense skill and courage, with its never-ending series of bends, bumps, jumps and stone walls.

The event consists of six four-lap races of the 37.72-mile (60.70 km) circuit that begins at the TT Grandstand in Douglas, the Island's capital. The separate classes are the Newcomers Class, Lightweight/Ultra Lightweight Class, Junior Class, Senior Class and the Junior/Lightweight and Senior Classic races for older machines.

Roper’s AJS 7R3, one of only four ever built, will compete using Avon’s AM20 90/90-19 on the front, and AM18 100/90-19 on the rear. For more information about the Manx Grand Prix, visit For more information about the history of the Isle of Man competition, visit

About Avon Motorcycle Tyres North America
Avon Motorcycle Tyres North America, based in Stow, Ohio markets and sells Avon brand motorcycle tires in the United States and Canada. Avon motorcycle tires are designed and manufactured for street and racing applications, from ultra wide tires featuring snakeskin effect sidewalls to ultra high-performance sport bike tires. Avon’s long history and heritage of innovation reaches back more than 100 years. Based in Melksham, England, Avon tires are built to perform and are engineered to high standards incorporating the latest in cutting-edge technology. For more information visit
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