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Manx Grand Prix
MGP News
Senior Classic Race Report 30 August 2004

Local rider Derek Whalley won today's four-lap Senior Classic Manx Grand Prix by 71 seconds at an average speed of 103.39mph.

The early leader was Blackpool's Roy Richardson (500 Honda), pulling out an amazing 11 seconds even by Glen Helen on the first lap. By Ramsey that had stretched to 16 seconds as he strove to build up an advantage sufficient to cover the need for a fuel stop which the Nortons and Matchlesses didn't require.

But one of the fancied runners aboard a Manx Norton - Alan Oversby from Bolton-Le-Sands - retired after only five miles at the Half Way House to Peel. It was the second year in succession that he had gone out early on.

Also in early difficulty was Gilera-4 jockey Pat Sefton, who had to stop at Ballacraine and again at Sulby Bridge. And the other exotic Italian mount, the Paton ridden by Steve Linsdell, fared little better, retiring at the end of the first lap with a cracked exhaust pipe.

At the end of the first lap Richardson led by 18.7 seconds from Adrian McFarland (Honda) with local man Derek Whalley (Matchless) third a further 6.9 seconds down. Richardson averaged 104.62mph from a clutch start. Fourth was inaugural 500 Classic winner John Goodall (Matchless), fifth John Loder (Nourish Seeley) and sixth Mark Linton (Petty Norton), with McFarland and Linton winning MGP medals for their first 100mph laps.

Just as it looked as if the Hondas were going to dominate, both encountered trouble with a few miles of each other. Richardson had to stop at Tower Bends and make adjustments to a loose carburettor, then halted for further mechanical attention at the Grandstand before setting off once more, adding further misery by incurring a ten second penalty for failing to pull up in the Stop Box. If Richardson's problems weren't enough, McFarland's similar machine encountered mechanical trouble and he retired at the Graham Memorial.

With the top two Japanese bikes out, the best of the rest was Bob Price, but only in sixth spot behind Whalley, Loder, Goodall, Linton and Allan Brew (Seeley).

Whalley led by 49 seconds at the end of the second lap but kept piling on the pressure and extended that to 55 seconds at Glen Helen third time round.

With McFarland and Richardson both out of contention, the order was Whalley, Loder, Goodall, Linton, Brew and Price, with Andy Russell lapping over the ton in seventh place. Grahame Rhodes also did over 100 in his bid to repel Dave Madsen-Mygdal and company.

With one lap to go, Whalley continued to look for his first ever victory on the TT Course after labouring long and hard over many years. Certainly, the Hondas had been seen off by the British bikes, with Matchlesses also putting it over the Nortons for good measure.

Whalley's third lap was done at 104.14mph and with one lap to go led by 73 seconds from Loder, with Goodall holding third at a further interval of 23 seconds. Fourth was Linton, fifth Russell and sixth Allan Brew (Seeley).

The final lap saw the consistent Whalley hold station with about a 70-second advantage, and the 55-year-old flooring contractor passed his sponsors at Creg-ny-Baa then his own front door at Cronk-ny-Mona before crossing the finishing line waving in delight.

John Loder finished second for the second year in succession, saying he had been quite cautious in the high winds on the Mountain. John Goodall went as far as to say the wind was "diabolical" and hadn't sufficient strength to hold on. Linton, Russell and Brew were the second three.

Right at the end, Richardson gave himself some consolation with the fastest lap of the race at 105.51mph and will spend many moons reflecting on "what if?".

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