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Manx Grand Prix
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Lightweight and Ultra Lightweight 2 September 2005

Two races running concurrently made for plenty of action at the start of the final days racing. First away were the two-stroke Lightweight 250cc machines, led off by Barry Davidson from Ballymena.

He took the initial lead on corrected time, but got no further than 27 miles out on the Mountain Mile. Gavin Bell (Honda) from Selby took over and lapped a mite over 20 minutes at 113.01mph. That gave him a lead of 23 seconds over Brian Spooner (Yamaha) from Stoke, with Neil Kent (Yamaha) from Boston third a further 17 seconds down. Fourth, fifth and sixth were Stuart Garton (Yamaha), Nigel John (Honda) and Brian Mateer (Yamaha).

In the Ultra Lightweight the first lap leader was Graham Taubman (400 Yamaha) from Union Mills. He lapped in 20 minutes 55 seconds, an average speed of 108.16mph. That gave him a lead of five seconds over fellow local Paul Corrin (400 Kawasaki), with Alan Oversby (400 Honda) from Bolton-le-Sands third a further seven seconds down. Fourth, fifth and sixth were John Richards (400 Yamaha), Maria Costello (400 Honda) and Joe Phillips (400 Kawasaki). Best of the 125s was Sam Dunlop (Honda) in 12th place at 102.438mph.

At the half-way point some of the exhaust systems were beginning to crack, particularly leader Bell. But he cracked on and refuelled, leading Spooner by 73 seconds as they roared out of Pit Lane. The top two in the Ultra Lightweight pulled in at the same time and had trouble re-starting, and it was Taubman in the lead by one second as they set out on the second half of the race. With a slick stop Costello climbed to third.

Despite his exhaust pipe problems Bell led the Lightweight easily on lap three, but most interest centred on the tremendous Ultra Lightweight battle between Manxmen Taubman and Corrin. Less than a second separated them at Glen Helen; at Ramsey Corrin took over the lead by 1.25 seconds! Oversby displaced Costello for third. Dunlop lay 11th.

Into the last lap and Bell looked well on for the win. And he was helped even more when Spooner pitted to have a new footrest fitted. Newcomers' winner Nigel John was going great guns and gratefully took second place. Taubman wrested back the lead from Corrin and "enjoyed" a 0.14 second with a lap to go. Third was still Oversby.

There was drama soon, though. Taubman crashed at Glen Helen, and retired though unhurt. That left Corrin in command and set for a win at last, having twice before having been narrowly denied. Presumably he had seen Taubman slide off, so knew he had comfort, leading Oversby by over half-a-minute, and putting Costello onto a potential rostrum placing.

With a massive led, Bell could nurse his weak exhaust and duly reeled off the final miles. He came home to win by two minutes 42 seconds on the Martin Bullock-sponsored bike which had already carried Richard Quayle and Peter Wakefield to victory in previous years. Kent was third a further 25 seconds down.

In the Ultra Lightweight Onchans Corrin allowed himself a slight trimming of his advantage, coming home to win by 40 seconds, with Oversby and Costello second and third respectively, Maria becoming the first female solo rider to finish on the podium in the TT or Manx Grand Prix. Sam Dunlop was the first 125 in ninth place.

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