Despite only managing one lap in practice, Mike Browne won the Lightweight Manx Grand Prix for the second successive year on Saturday evening, the Irishman coming home half a minute clear of Laylaw Racing team-mate Ian Lougher in a repeat 1-2 of the race twelve months ago.
Manxman Dan Sayle (Baz Gas Honda) took third with the race ending on the second lap of the intended three as weather conditions deteriorated over the Mountain.
“It was a tricky race as I only managed one lap on the bike in practice and that was this morning,” Browne said.
“We changed the settings again ahead of the race but after all the trouble we had, the bike was spot on. I saw the cloud coming down so thought the race might be stopped and I’m delighted to win again.”
There was early drama with fastest qualifier Michael Dunlop (MD Racing Honda) stopping at Union Mills but by Glen Helen it was Browne – who ran a replica Eddie Laycock helmet in tribute to his team owner and former TT winner – who led, his advantage over team-mate Lougher 3.4s with a similar gap back to third placed rider Sayle.
Stuart Hall (Whippet Racing Yamaha) slotted into fourth ahead of Adam McLean on the third Laylaw Racing Yamaha and Gareth Arnold (Jenarracing Yamaha) with Paul Cassidy (Island Fuels Kawasaki) the first of the 400s and despite his lack of track time, Browne was flying and soon running with Lougher, who’d started ten seconds ahead of him, on the road.
Indeed, he’d overhauled him by the time they rounded Ramsey Hairpin and an opening lap speed of 116.980mph gave him an 11.44s lead over his team-mate as they made their compulsory pit stop.
Sayle was in a comfortable third ahead of Hall but whilst McLean remained in fifth, he failed to pit for his compulsory pit stop and picked up a one-minute penalty.
Browne’s lead was back up to 13.87s at Glen Helen second time around with Sayle enjoying a 30s advantage over new fourth-placed rider Shaun Anderson (Kramer) as Hall and McLean occupied fifth and sixth.
But with low cloud beginning to descend over the Mountain, particularly in the Brandywell area, news came through that the race was to be cut from three laps to two.
Browne clocked 113.423mph on what proved to be the final lap which gave him a 31-second victory over Lougher with Sayle, third throughout, joining them on the podium.
Anderson took fourth with McLean and Hall completing the top six.