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Manx Grand Prix
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Classic Winners McGahan and Kneen 1 September 2004

Chris McGahan (Honda) from Sevenoaks won today's four-lap 350cc Junior Classic Manx Grand Prix, with Norman Kneen (Suzuki) taking the concurrent 250 Lightweight race.

The full field set off in good conditions, with dry roads and just a slight breeze. Early 350 leader was practice in practice Chris McGahan (Hales Drixton Honda) from Sevenoaks. He was six seconds up on 500cc Classic winner Derek Whalley (Seeley AJS) nine miles out at Glen Helen. That increased to an amazing 16 seconds by the time Ramsey Hairpin was reached. Third lay Dave Madsen-Mygdal (Drixton Honda).

There was early disappointment for three-times past winner of the 250cc class, when Kendal's Bud Jackson (Suzuki) got no further than Glen Vine before retiring, while Doug Snow and Pat Sefton retired in the Junior class, the latter just barely getting off the line. Another trier, Ewan Hamilton also packed up without completing a lap.

Another fancied runner for the Junior, John Loder (Greeves), was also an early casualty, retiring at Creg ny Baa first lap. But McGahan hung on to his 16 seconds' advantage att 98.41mph average speed. Whalley and Madsen-Mygdal maintained second and third, with Bob Price (Honda), Mark Linton (Aermacchi) and Bob Millinship (Caffrey Ducati) the second three.

Roy Richardson was precisely a minute clear in the 250, with Norman Kneen second and Jonathon Cutts third, all on Suzukis. Stephen Smith(Suzuki), David Smith (Yamaha) and Tom Jackson (Suzuki) were the second three.

With a clear road, McGahan continued to repel Whalley, the Honda seeming to have the legs of the AJS, both looking to do the race without requiring to refuel. At Ramsey on lap two the interval was 19 seconds, with Richardson's advantage at the front well over a minute to the good at Glen Helen.

Richardson was going for a third successive victory on Martin Bullock's T20 Suzuki and declaring it might be his last, as spare parts become increasingly difficult to locate. McGahan roared through 19.4 seconds to the good, with Whalley waiting to see if the Honda would stand the pace, Richardson's having expired while in the lead in the 500 on Monday.

As the 250s pitted, there were big problems for Cutts, whose bike declined to re-fire. Kneen's bike also was suffering from clutch trouble, but seconds later the leader also hit mechanical failure. Richardson packed up a couple of miles further on at Glen Vine. So all top three riders suddenly looked as if they would go out.

McGahan was averaging 99.20mph with 19 seconds' lead at the end of lap two, Whalley still running well in second place. Madsen-Mygdal was still third and Price fourth, but Goodall leapfrogged Milinship and Linton for fifth.

The 250s obviously were dropping back on the road but the question was could Kneen's Suzuki keep going with a slipping clutch? With Richardson and Cutts out, it gave him a golden chance, but more likely to be confounded. However, by Glen Helen, Kneen's problem seemed to have been overcome.

McGahan went into the last lap with a similar lead, averaging just short of 100mph. All Whalley could do was sit in and wait, with fellow local man Madsen-Mygdal slowing a bit and being gobbled up by Price. Linton halted at Windy Corner letting the consistent Goodall up another spot to fourth, with a rostrum placing beckoning if Madsen-Mygdal could not restore full power.

McGahan, Whalley and Madsen-Mygdal roared down the Mountain for the final time, with Price trying all he knew in a bid to snatch third but himself coming under pressure from Goodall.

Kneen was going for a second MGP win (having won the main 250 two years ago) but with 28 miles remaining, his lead had been hacked back to 25 seconds over Stephen Smith, with Tom Jackson up to third but with a refuelling stop still to take.

McGahan at last got his reward for years of trying when he won the Junior Classic, just as delighted as Whalley had been on Monday. The margin was 45 seconds. Whalley completed an excellent week with runner-up spot, with the hard pressed third place eventually going to Price by one-tenth of a second from Madsen-Mygdal, with Goodall fifth and Millinship sixth.

Price was doubly lucky as his last lap charge used more petrol and he ran out as he crossed the line! MCGahan and Walley's victories were both their first on the Mountain Course.

Kneen was 18 seconds up on Stephen Smith (Suzuki) at Ramsey on the last lap. He came home to win by 33 seconds at an average at 92.53mph and an advantage of 33 seconds, with David Smith (Yamaha) third.

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