After another frustrating day, when the additional qualifying session for the 2018 Classic TT presented by Bennetts - scheduled for this afternoon - was cancelled due to further rain on the Isle of Man, the Classic TT competitors were finally able to get out on the Mountain Course in the evening session, after a short delay, at 6.25pm.
Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson warned competitors about damp patches at five points around the course - Laurel Bank, Black Dub, Ginger Hall, the Nook and Governors Dip – and riders seemed to heed the warning as the times were similar to the opening night’s practice seven days earlier although John McGuinness continued his return to form with his fastest lap of the week – 109.66 – on the Team Winfield Paton.
The Superbike and Lightweight classes were first on the track and, finally enjoying a full session, many of the riders got their first flying laps of the week in. However, Dean Harrison elected do two standing start laps on his Silicone Engineering Superbike. His opening Superbike lap – 120.64 – topped the leaderboard which he then improved, after a short gap, with 121.52 to post the two fastest laps of the evening.
Horst Saiger continued his good form with his fastest lap of 119.46 while Derek Shiels also enjoyed a strong session with 118.975 – his quickest of the week. Andrew Dudgeon (118.926) finished just over a second ahead of fellow Manx rider Conor Cummins who will have enjoyed getting three laps (115.10, 118.770 and 118.42) under his belt on the Padgetts Racing OW01 Yamaha.
Adam McLean belied his lack of Mountain Course experience – he only made his debut in 2017 – to top the Classic TT Lightweight board on the night. He improved his opening lap (111.929) by almost thirty seconds with a flying lap of 114.47, marginally outside his lap in Saturday’s opening session. After his Superbike exploits Harrison went out again on his Lightweight machine and split McLean’s two laps with ABC while Lee Johnston’s only Lightweight lap of the evening on the Padgetts 250 Honda saw him post 111.222mph. Michael Sweeney lap of 110.555 on the Turner Racing Yamaha put him fourth on the board for the Lightweight session.
John McGuinness again topped the Senior Classic TT board with the two fastest laps of the evening – improving his opening lap of 106.96 to 109.66 and the ‘Morecambe Missile’ will be looking to emulate his 2016 race victory in tomorrow’s Bennetts Senior Classic TT Race.
Jamie Coward on the Ted Woof Manx Norton signalled his podium potential with a lap of 105.12 while Maria Costello, who posted laps of 103.62 and 104.64, will be hoping for a return to the podium that she shared with McGuinness in 2016.
Coward is also a major race win contender in the Junior Classic TT. Riding the Ted Woof Craven Honda he was the only rider to post a100mph+ lap (101.74) with Alan Oversby second on the night with 98.65. Father and son Bill and Chris Swallow – riding Velocettes – were the only non-Honda riding competitors in the top ten – finishing in third and ninth on the night with 97.21 and 94.47 respectively.
David Crussell came off his Superbike at Brandywell in the opening session and was described as conscious at the scene and taken by airmed to Nobles Hospital where it was later reported that he had minor injuries.
Tomorrow’s first Classic TT Race day features the Bennetts Senior Classic TT and Dunlop Lightweight Classic TT Races as well as a demonstration lap by Bruce Anstey, riding the Padgetts RCV that he raced at the 2016 TT, and John McGuinness who will be riding the 1978 Sports Motorcycles Ducati that Mike Hailwood rode in winning the F1 TT Race forty years ago.