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Manx Grand Prix
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Jackson and Doherty First Away 25 August 2004

Although a trifle breezy, conditions were fairly good, though there remained the possibility of the occasional shower and the ever-present threat of lingering damp patches under the trees.

First out at 6.15 were the Classic and Ultra-Lightweight classes, which are just about matched for speed, with some of the less experienced riders delighted to be given unpaid lessons by the veterans.

Just as last evening, though, a few riders from other classes were permitted to head the field, so it was Alan Jackson and newcomer Ken Doherty (both 600 Hondas) first off.

Jackson was neat and tidy on his smaller bike and after a check up, put in a second lap before readying himself for the big Kawasaki in part two. He seemed satisfied with the Honda, but reported lots of traffic and a slight delay rounding a crash at Kirk Michael.

The Kay Engineering boys were hoping for better fortune with the Gilera-4, having twice encountered condenser trouble each time out. Rider Pat Sefton said the problem only manifested itself once the engine got hot, and even changing magnetos had not helped.

When the second portion of the session started promptly at 7.15, first away were the 600cc Yamahas of John Burrows and newcomer Keith Stewart. They had grabbed the front spot at the expense of Martin Bullock's hot pair of Tommy Clucas and Ian Pattinson, who again elected to travel in tandem.

And "travel" was exactly what they did - Clucas doing 114.71mph and Pattinson 114.62mph. However, both were eclipsed by Dean Silvester on Steve Caffyn's CSC Yamaha. He did 114.75mph and the threesome posted their intentions by such close separation on time.

Later, the anti was upped further when Saintfield's Davy Morgan did 115.89mph - the fastest lap of the week to that point. Most riders cracked on for a second lap without pulling in, but strangely Clucas, Pattinson and Burrows were all slightly slower.

Clucas said he felt well in command and rejoiced in catching Burrows by Westwood, rather than Ramsey as had been thought. But his joy was short lived, as Pattinson switched to the 750 Kawasaki from the Bullock stable. He snatched the glory out of Silvester's hands with 116.34mph. Silvester replied at 115.66 on the 600, but the last two Seniors have been won by 750 Kawasakis ...

As the clock ticked towards the 8.10pm witching hour, Barry Maguire intended a third lap. But just at the wrong time the battery went flat and the 600 Yamaha refused to fire. It was promptly wheeled away, without the crew knowing officials had added an extra five minutes before the flag was put out. There would probably have been time to source another battery!

Lamenting that the 250s had had to be dropped from the newcomers' class due to lack of numbers, Mark Waddell from Randalstown gave a gallop to his 250 which he is riding in the Lightweight. Quite a contrast to his 600 Honda on which he'll make his IOM race debut on Monday.

Mark Castle had really enjoyed his four laps - two on the ex-Martin Sharpe RC35 and two on the R6. Although slowed by oil on the road at Brandywell, he had got the best out of the evening, finishing well on time for a cup of tea. Right at the end of proceedings, Bud Jackson talked the organisers into an extra lap on his Classic Suzuki, the rorty two-stroke Super Six preventing the birds trying to grab early shut-eye in their nests along Lezayre Road!

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TT SuperBikes (PS2)
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