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Manx Grand Prix
MGP News
Bad News for Wattie Brown 26 August 2004

Conditions for this afternoon practice were fair, and first away after a ten minute delay for the removal of an illegally parked car at Ramsey were the Newcomers and Ultra Lightweights, though as usual a few strays from other classes were allowed to lead the field to allow them more time to also ride in the Junior, Senior or Lightweight practice later in the afternoon.

Prior to this afternoon, the fastest lap of the week stood to Ian Pattinson (750 Kawasaki) at 116.34mph on Wednesday evening. This time was set using genuine Senior Race number plates, which applies only to those using the larger capacity bikes. The rest of the Senior field use their Junior numbers, as that race is earlier in the programme. That puts Seamus Greene (Suzuki) quickest in the Junior at 115.99mph last evening. Leader of the Lightweight class is Gavin Bell (Honda) at 109.63mph; the Ultra-Lightweight is headed by Mark Wateridge (400 Kawasaki) at 106.01mph; Newcomers 750cc Ken Doherty (750 Kawasaki) 112.01mph; Newcomers 125/400 David Higgs (400 Kawasaki) 98.66mph; Senior Classic Alan Oversby (Norton) 102.82mph; Junior Classic Chris McGahan (Honda) 98.37mph; Lightweight Classic Norman Kneen (Suzuki) 94.29mph.

Bad news for Stirling's Wattie Brown. His Junior Classic 350cc Drixton Honda blew up 50 yards into a proposed test session at Jurby Airfield. It puts paid to any hope of winning, even though he should still be able to have a ride using a substituted road bike engine. But Wattie's bad luck didn't desert him when he slid off his 500 Petty Manx when an unexpected shower at the Creg caught him and Alan Harling out within seconds.

Fellow Scot Denis Gallagher tried a plug chop and thought his mechanics would rescue the bike from the bottom of Noble's Park. But permission was turned down, so Denis had to puff and pant down again then push the Bob Pearson Honda back up the lane.

Newcomer Ken Doherty was satisfied with progress, but was just staying steady as unpredictable showers made rapid riding a little risky. He pulled in after two laps. But he then went out in the second portion of the session on his regular 600cc Suzuki as against the 750 he will ride in the Newcomers!

TT regular Adrian McFarland had another dabble on Mark McCausland's Drixton Honda, with a thumbs up and no need (yet) to resort to a similar bike also brought over to the Island.

Mark Waddell again had his 250 and 600 bikes out, preferring the bigger model in the wind, with the 250 wrenching his shoulders as it jumped about, while the heavier 600 stayed still.

John Loder had no time to spare as he handed over his Nourish Seeley after two laps and ran for the faithful Greeves Oulton he will ride in the 350 Classic.

There are only two 125s in the Newcomers, and Mark Edwards said he was going OK but certainly didn't allow himself to think he knew the whole of the circuit. The other 125 is being ridden by Steve Bedford.

Winner of the first-ever 500 Classic, John Goodall, decided two laps was enough, the way the weather was heading. But his 7R had run all right and would have been OK for a third lap if he would have wanted.

Doug Snow has contrasting machines, with the 350 Ducati chosen first then the 500 Manx Norton. The difference in numbers (six and 29) is explained by the fact that the Seeley has not previously given Doug a finish so the organisers had nothing to base their seeding on.

There were problems, though, for Steve Linsdell on the marvellous looking (and sounding) Paton. Thrills at how it was going were short-lived when the newly fitted front brake master cylinder blew a seal and emptied fluid over the screen and tank as the bump at the top of the Highlander was taken.

Peter Wakefield was also in trouble - his Classic Suzuki smashing its crankcases when the chain broke. The replacement motor was running far too rich on its first lap of the day.

John Killeen, from Huntsdown in Eire, is back with a Courier Bike - but this time it's a VTR rather than the Varadero he rode last year. Apparently the organisers weren't keen he ride the latter, despite him having done fairly well on it last year. One thing is similar, though, John still has sit-up-and-beg handlebars fitted. Perhaps they saved him in his subsequent spill.

First away in the second part of the session were newcomers Derek Brien and Ken Doherty, with the practice leader Ian Pattinson opting to wait a minute or two while Richard Rose ensured the big Kawasaki was up to temperature.

Davy Morgan was out pretty early and got going well but was slowed (as were many others) by yellow flags displayed after a crash on the entrance to Westwood near Kirk Michael. Ian Pattinson also came across the incident and praised the marshalling, which gave plenty of warning.

Dean Silvester had a bomb round on Steve Cathyn's big Ducati, but wasn't expected to do much as he was suffering from a fever.

Paul Hunt and Paul Duckett were on hand to "advise" Alan Jackson on how to ride the Des Collins-sponsored Kawasaki, with a barrage of so-called helpful remarks.

Elle Forrest looked at home on a 250 (rather than her more usual 125) Honda, but said she had had a number of problems. She declined to elaborate, preferring to concentrate on Terry Gilmour's refuelling operation.

Nineteen-year-old Haden Fitzgerald has come all the way from New Zealand to compete, accompanied by his father Terry, who rode in the Manx a few years ago. Quite a brave move to tackle a course he'd heard about but never previously seen let alone ridden or driven.

There will be NO morning practice on Friday, but the race organisers are retaining the right to utilise an early morning session on Saturday. Provisional fastest lap (and fastest of the week so far) was Preston's Alan Jackson at 117.98mph on his 600cc W. A. Corless Honda. Other fast laps this afternoon include: Ian Pattinson 114.08mph, Tom Clucas 115.63; Dean Silvester 113.13; Davy Morgan 115.09.

Incidents: There were nine reported incidents, the most serious of which was the crash of Declan Lynch and Shaun Maddern at Westwood near Kirk Michael. Both were taken to hospital by helicopter but are not thought to be causing serious concern. Alan Harling, who spilled at Creg ny Baa was also flown to hospital but again not thought to be seriously hurt.

Others in less dramatic circumstances were Wattie Brown at the Creg, Steve Grainger at Cruickshanks, Gavin Bell at Windy Corner and John Kileen at Keppel Gate. Lucky though were Pat Sefton and Paul Morrissey who escaped injury in an incident at Sunny Orchard, the very fast stretch between the Creg and Brandish.

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