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Manx Grand Prix
MGP News
Tough Decisions on Format 12 July 2004

The Manx Motor Cycle Club Race Committee faces a tough series of decisions at a meeting to be held early next month. It must decide the format for the 2005 Manx Grand Prix. With the club already having dropped the 125cc, 250cc, 400cc and Production 600cc classes from the 2005 TT, it must now look at what to retain from its present MGP format. Although this year's 250cc MGP Newcomers' Race attracted only one entry (subsequently withdrawn), the main 250cc Lightweight has attracted 27 runners. Its combined class, the 125/400cc Ultra Lightweight has 73, thus giving a full field of 100. The TT dropped the 250s two years ago, but the 125cc and 400cc continued as separate concurrently-run races with 22 and 54 riders respectively a total of 76 this year. It failed to save them. So which classes will survive at the Manx?

The difference in the lap records for the TT and the Manx Grand Prix currently stands at 65.2 seconds. The outright TT Course fastest is John McGuinness (1000cc Yamaha), who lapped in 17 minutes 43.8 seconds, an average speed of 127.68mph on the opening lap of this year's Formula One TT. The record at the Manx Grand Prix stands to Paul Duckett (750 Kawasaki) on the second lap of last year's winning Senior ride. He lapped in 18 minutes 59 seconds, an average speed of 119.25mph. Ian Pattinson (36), from Weardale, must be due at least one win at the Manx. With Paul Duckett and Mark Parrett having moved to the TT and Mick Skene having retired from racing, Ian is the fastest MGP rider in this year's lists. He did 118.80mph on a 600cc Suzuki in last year's Senior, finishing runner-up to Duckett. He was also runner-up in the Junior to Philip Gilder. He again has Martin Bullock's bikes for the Manx­ a Honda for the Junior and a Kawasaki for the Senior. His chief opponent looks like being Tom Clucas, from Peel, IOM.

Last year's 750cc Newcomers' Manx Grand Prix winner Ian Hutchinson from Bingley in West Yorkshire made a remarkable debut in the TT. From lapping at 116.66 on his first ride on the TT Course only the previous August, he took a 1000cc Suzuki round at 120.24mph in the Formula One TT. Fellow 2003 MGP competitor David Bell from Chester-le-Street, Co. Durham, went even quicker, with a lap of 120.89mph on a 1000cc Suzuki in the Senior. 2002 and 2003 Senior TT winner Adrian Archibald, from Ballymoney, served his "apprenticeship" in the Manx a few years ago, as did this year's 600cc Production TT winner Ryan Farquhar from Dungannon.

This year's MGP foreign competitors include: Brian Donovan (Australia), Donnacha Daly (Eire), Peter Lauterbach (Germany), Declan Lynch (Eire), Uwe Kramp (Germany), Neil Nugent (Eire), Piet Potgeiter (South Africa), Dave Roper (USA), Karl Smolenski (USA), Jochen Trockel (Germany), Alan Connor (Eire), David Coughlin (Eire), Paul Dobbs (New Zealand), Ryan McCay (Eire) and York Runte (Germany).

A four-cylinder Gilera is to be ridden in the Manx Grand Prix. The Italian classic marque is to be represented by 500cc replica machine to be ridden by Pat Sefton from Windermere in the Senior Classic. The bike comes from the stable of Kay Engineering, whose previous endeavours have included Dave Kay winning on an MV Agusta sidecar in the pre-TT Classic. Indeed, Pat himself rode a 750cc solo MV four in last year's Senior Manx, putting in a 100mph-plus lap. The 1989 Lightweight Newcomers' winner will also campaign an Aermacchi single in the Junior Classic.

Veteran Bud Jackson from Kendal is the rider from this year's entry with the most previous Manx Grand Prix wins to his credit. He has a 350cc Junior and three 250cc Lightweight Classic victories to his credit as he returns to the Island with his 250cc Classic T20 Suzuki. Bud's brother Bob Jackson is still the class race record holder at 99.68mph from 1996. Winner for the past two years, Roy Richardson from Blackpool, will be out to pull off his hat-trick and is the lap record holder at 102.33mph set last year.

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