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Manx Grand Prix
MGP News
250cc Newcomers Dropped 16 July 2004

Although the 250cc class has been dropped from this year's Newcomers' after only one entry was received, there's a good field for the other two sections. There are 42 in the 600/750cc event and 18 in the 125/400cc section. The majority in the bigger class favour 600cc machines, though there are a few 750cc Suzukis. There's also a 998cc Ducati, a 948cc Moto-Guzzi and a 1000cc Honda, all permissible as they are of twin-cylinder construction. The smaller class is dominated by 400cc models, though two opt for 125cc single cylinder Hondas, Steve Bedford from Peterborough and Mark Edwards from Cowbridge. Eight of the 60 entries are locals.

Isle of Man entrant Martin Bullock has a fine field lined up for this year's Manx. Among his hopefuls are Tom Clucas from Peel, Ian Pattinson from Weardale, Paul Corrin from Onchan, Gavin Bell from Selby, Carolynn Sells from Liverpool and Roy Richardson from Blackpool. Meanwhile, the winning entrant of the last two years' Senior races, Des Collins, has Alan Jackson from Preston aboard the Harald Eckl-tuned 750cc Kawasaki which carried Mark Parrett to victory in 2002 and Paul Duckett last year. On both occasions it was raced as number four. Jackson's number this year? Four!

Racing the Winston McAdoo-Gortreigh Printing Kawasaki will be Dungannon star John Burrows, who also has an R6 Yamaha for the Junior. Steve Caffyn returns with the throaty 998 CSC Racing Ducati twin with Dean Silvester from Stanstead again at the controls.

There's disappointment for those hoping that overall TT Course fastest rider John McGuinness might have been able to ride in the 350cc Classic. His provisional ride on Brian Richards' 350cc Tickle Manx Norton has been withdrawn as the Morecambe rider felt unable to properly combine it with British Superbike Championship commitments with Hawk Kawasaki.

The Paton entry for Steve Linsdell from Westoning is certainly being taken seriously. Owners Roberto Pattoni and Giovanni Cabassi from Milan have been in touch with the race organisers to make sure the exotic Italian twin's specification is fully compliable.

Carrying the number one plates at this year's meeting will be Tom Clucas (Senior and Junior), Steve Kuenne (Lightweight), Barry Maguire (Newcomers 750) and Watty Brown (Junior and Senior Classic). First away in other classes will be Brian Purdy (125/400 Newcomers), Barry Wood (250 Classic) and Keith Taylor (125/400cc Ultra Lightweight), but because these races run concurrently they will carry Nos. 55, 83 and 39 respectively.

Put your money on a Suzuki win in the Lightweight Classic. Only five of the 29 entries are not derivates of the famous T20 Super Six two-stroke twins. There are three Yamahas to be ridden by David Smith from Poole, Ian Rycroft from Peel and Robert Taylor from Sulby; a Greeves to be ridden by Mervyn Stratford from Aylesbury and a four-stroke NSU to be ridden by Graham Rickman from Manchester. Former 400cc Ultra-Lightweight MGP winner Alan Bennie from Strathmiglo joins the ranks of those pinning faith in the ageing Suzukis usually brought up to date with as many modern aids as permissible.

The 500cc Classic looks like being a terrific battle, with Bob Heath and Bill Swallow together absent for the first time. Past winners in this or other MGP classes include John Goodall from Haverfordwest, Bud Jackson from Kendal, Barry Wood from Douglas, Roy Richardson from Blackpool and Alan Bennie from Strathmiglo. But there could easily be a first-time winner from the likes of Alan Oversby from Bolton-le-Sands, Wattie Brown from Stirling, Tony Myers from Hull, Allan Brew from Andreas, Derek Whalley from Onchan. TT stars Adrian McFarland from Newtonstewart and Steve Linsdell from Westoning, former TT winner Dave Roper from New York and John Loder from Birmingham are among others in with better than a good chance. Up to last year, the 500cc Honda twins might have been in too, but smaller fuel tank regulations mean they must halt for petrol, probably ruling out Bob Price from Stroud, Bud Jackson, Barry Wood, Dennis Gallagher from Girvan, Dave Madsen-Mygdal from Douglas and Roy Richardson. McFarland's Honda is only a 450cc, so may be able to do the four laps non-stop.

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