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Manx Grand Prix
MGP News
Riders start to arrive 8 August 2003

Just over a week to the commencement of practising for the 80th Anniversary Manx, and one or two early arrivals are already set up at the Grandstand Camp Site in Douglas. The first session will be on Saturday evening August 16th and will cater for Classic, Newcomers and Ultra-Lightweight classes followed by Senior, Junior and Lightweight.

The Suites Hotel/Knowsley Newcomers' will be the first race when action begins for real on Monday August 25th. Included are talented Ulstermen Alex Donaldson from Limavady (750 Suzuki), John Burrows from Dungannon (750 Kawasaki) and Darren Burns from Lisburn (250 Honda). The race distance is four laps - 150.92 miles (242.8 kilometres).

In the main classes, top runners include Paul Duckett from Foxdale (600 and 750 Kawasakis), Raymond Porter from Lifford (600 Suzukis), Ian Pattinson from Weardale (600 and 750 Suzukis), Davy Morgan from Saintfield (600 Yamahas), Andy and Alan Jackson from Preston (600 and 750 Suzukis), Philip Gilder from Malmesbury (600 Suzuki) and Tommy Clucas from Peel (600 Yamahas). Morgan is struggling to get fit after injuring an ankle in the recent Mid-Antrim 150 and may have to join Guy Martin in being a non-starter.

Classic regulars include Jason Griffiths (350 Honda), Wattie Brown (500 Norton), John Loder (500 Seeley and 350 Greeves), Bob Price (350 and 500 Hondas), Barry Wood (500 Honda and 250 Suzuki), Bill Swallow (350 and 500 Aermacchis), Tony Myers (350 Rickman and 500 Seeley), John Goodall (350 AJS and 500 Matchless), Chris McGahan (350 Honda) and Roy Richardson (250 Suzuki). They will be joined by Mark Linton (350 and 500 Aermacchis) and Nick Jefferies (500 Norton).

The machine Nick Jefferies from Bradford will ride is sponsored by Morris Holdings and is understood to be the actual Manx Norton ridden with verve by the late Barry Sheene in the international classic events last year. Among other successes, he won both races which accompanied the 2002 British Grand Prix at Donington Park.

For what is thought to be the first time, a two-stroke machine will take part in the 500cc Senior Classic. Forty-three-year-old builder Ian Rycroft from Peel has entered a 350cc Greeves Oulton bored out to 380cc. It has many special bits and pieces on it and Ian is hoping for a good run, though acknowledging it will be a thirsty beast. Previous attempts at entering 500 Suzuki twins by Les Trotter and others were resisted by the organisers.

The coveted No. 1 plates will be carried by Alex Donaldson (Newcomers), Wattie Brown (Senior Classic), Jason Griffiths (Junior Classic), David Bell (Junior and Senior) and Neil Kent (Lightweight). Not at No. 1 but still first away in their respective classes will be Darren Burns (250 Newcomers), Chris Clark (400 Newcomers), Barry Wood (250 Classic) and Daniel Williams (Ultra Lightweight).

The 31st annual Vintage Motor Cycle Club Rally is as popular as ever and will again enjoy the facility of parading on the closed roads of the Mountain Course. Stage one will be from Quarter Bridge to Ballacraine on Race Week Monday, stage two from Ballacraine to Ramsey on the Wednesday and stage three from Ramsey to the Grandstand on the Friday.

Principal officials of the Manx Motor Cycle Club, which organises the MGP, are Geoff Karran (President), David Mylchreest (Chairman) and Neil Hanson (Clerk of the Course). The rest of the committee are Bill Bennett, Fred Adlem, Martin Blackburn, Peter Cain, Gavin Corkill, Mike Dean, Des Evans, Harvey Garton, Les Doherty, Mark Lees, Les Quayle, Ed Swain, David Stevens MBE and John Stott. Race controllers from outside of the committee are MMCC Vice-Presidents Barry Skillicorn and John Cowley. The Secretary of the Meeting is Caroline Etherington, assisted by Ann Kinvig.

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