ISLE OF MAN TT: FRIDAY PRACTICE

Conditions were absolutely perfect for Friday night’s Isle of Man TT practice session with the island bathed in sunshine and with barely a breeze to speak of. This was the last full practice session before racing commences tomorrow; there will be single lap sessions following racing tomorrow, on Monday and Wednesday. Most of the leading contenders for honours were out and any thoughts they might take it easy in advance of Saturday’s Superbike race were soon dispelled when the early times came through.

Ian Lougher was again the first man away; first through The Gooseneck and the first man to complete a lap on his Superbike Honda; at 125.229 miles an hour. Ian was followed by the impressive Ian Hutchinson on Winston McAdoo’s Kawasaki at 123.974, Martin Finnegan’s Klaffi Honda (123.03) and the factoryYamaha of Jason Griffiths (122.512.)

The second circuits were even more rapid with Hutchinson increasing his speed to 124.665, while Finnegan upped his to 123.95,6 Griffiths to 123.19. Bruce Anstey, too, showed that he would be a major contender in the TT Superbike with a lap at 124.152. This machine had been giving trouble for most of practice but sounded sweet as it passed us. Meanwhile, John McGuinness went out on his Superstock Honda and recorded a speed of 124.152 with Hutchinson close behind on his at 124.06.

Just when it looked as if Lougher’s early lap would be the fastest of the night, Bruce Anstey took his Suzuki round in 18 minutes 4.20 seconds towards the end of the session, a lap of 125.279, to claim the honour. Ian Hutchinson reverted to his Superbike and also topped the 125 mark with a circuit at 125.084.

The honour of being fastest new comer was taken by Jeremy Toye who put his Superbike around at a very impressive 118.223 tonight. He could become only the third newcomer to crack the 120mph barrier come race day.

We also some rapid laps from the chairs with Klaus Klaffenbock recording his lap at over 110mph. Expect some close racing in this class, with Steve Norbury, John Holden, Klaus Klaffenbock, Gary Bryan and Phil Dongworth giving Nick Crowe a tough challenge when the flag drops.

Fastest speeds of the night – TT Superbike: Bruce Anstey, Suzuki 125.279; Ian Lougher, Honda, 125.229; Ian Hutchinson, Kawasaki, 125.084. TT Supersport: John McGuinness, Honda, 120.784; Ian Lougher, Honda, 119.203; Mark Parrett, Yamaha, 119.105. TT Superstock: John McGuinness, Honda, 124.152; Ian Hutchinson, Kawasaki, 124.066; Gary Carswell, Suzuki, 122.860. Sidecars: Nick Crowe/Darren Hope, Honda, 110.853; Klaus Klaffenbock/Christian Parzer, Honda, 110.286; Steve Norbury/Scott Parnell, Shelbourne Yamaha 109.927. A total of 190 machines went through scrutineering.

The two riders who were involved in a high-speed collision in Monday night’s practice – Seamus Greene and Jun Maeda – are now both receiving further treatment in UK hospitals. Seamus was transferred to Walton Neurological Centre in Liverpool earlier in the week and race officials said that Jun had now been moved to a hospital in Manchester.
Molyneux announces retirement from the TT

Eleven times Sidecar TT winner Dave Molyneux is a patient in Noble’s Hospital, Douglas, after dislocating his shoulder in a crash at Rhencullen during Thursday afternoon’s practice. He told Manx Radio TT that he had found the perfect line around the ‘S’ bend leaving Kirk Michael but that as the machine went light over the brow of the hill it was flipped by the wind. Craig was thrown clear but Moly was trapped underneath the outfit until he kicked it clear. Both he and Craig were able to walk away. He walked into a trackside garden where he was given a mobile phone in order that he could ring wife Gaynor and let her know what had happened. Dave told Radio TT that he took it as a warning and has ridden in his last Sidecar TT, although he was not giving up racing entirely and would be moving to the World Championship If that is the case he will leave a legacy of the fastest ever sidecar lap around the mountain circuit at 116.04 miles an hour.

Dave suffered a chipped shoulder, some broken ribs and friction burns, which may require a skin graft. Craig Hallam was released from hospital after treatment for his friction burns.

Robbie Silvester, who sustained pelvic and leg injuries on Thursday, has been transferred to a general ward from the Intensive Therapy Unit of Noble’s. He is said to be stable and comfortable. Keith Stewart, who has leg injuries, is described as ‘comfortable’ while David Bell was discharged after treatment for a broken wrist. American sidecar passenger James Cornell is still critical.

 

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