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Practice Week: May 26th - June 1st 2012
Race Week: June 2nd - June 8th 2012

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TT Practice News (Evening Tuesday 27 May 2003) 27 May 2003

Morecambe's John McGuinness electrified tonight's practice session with a lap at 124.57mph second time around on the MonsterMob Ducati on which Shaky Byrne leads the British Superbike Championship.

The 30-year-old double TT winner well and truly put the wind up the Suzuki and Honda set-ups as he stylishly wrestled Paul Bird's 998cc twin around the Mountain Course. There was no disguising his pleasure at smoking the opposition, but David Jefferies and company no doubt have plenty of armoury to make quick counter-attacks. He had opened at 122.23mph from a standing start.

For instance, Ian Lougher looked happier as he debriefed to Honda manager Neil Tuxworth. The back end of the 2002 World Superbike Championship-winning 1000cc SP2 still required adjustment and five minute was spent fathoming out where the problem lay. "It's still wiggling a bit and lifting the rear end at places like Braddan Bridge, but overall we're nearly there," said the popular 42-year-old Welshman now living in Dromore, Northern Ireland.

The session had opened on a note of humour when the regular cavalry charge out of the paddock gate saw Jim Moodie shoot down the outside of Jefferies to try to claim a place on the second row of the grid. Much tooting of horns on the Production bikes saw the Glaswegian for once forced to give way.

Again it was Adrian Archibald and Martin Finnegan who were first off, with a galaxy of stars in hot pursuit anxious to make maximum use of the dry roads.

Back after an absence of three years, former Manx Grand Prix winner Russ Henley claimed he felt like a newcomer. "It's gone bumpy," he said, adding that he was finding it a huge contrast riding a 125 and a 600. "The 125 tips easily into the corners, the 600 needs hauling in. I didn't heave it hard enough at Gorse Lea and ended up brushing the wall!"

Last year's Senior Manx Grand Prix winner Mark Parrett from Midhurst was finding the step up to the TT a little daunting, but was enjoying it. The Wilson and Collins Kawasaki is a fair bit tricker than the one he won on in August and owes more than a little to parts of the same type used on Chris Walker's WSB bike last year. "If I can lap as hard as in the Manx that'll do me," he offered.

Jefferies pulled in after one lap and called for "another couple of clicks on the back end" while local star Gary Carswell stopped at Ballacraine to make adjustments of similar nature. "It's fairly easy -- you just turn the knurled dial. Finding somewhere safe to stop was the biggest snag. But it was worth it -- the handling was much better."

Those trying for a third lap were worrying the mist might clamp down, but it held off until half-way through the portion of the session allocated to the smaller machines. Their outing was foreshortened by ten minutes to allow the sidecars to get going before the fog stopped the action altogether.

Georgio Cantalupo was going great guns on his sit-up-and-beg Ducati, clearly relishing the better weather, while Chris Heath's changing of steering dampers on Nick Woodman's 250 had transformed its handling.

Ryan Farquhar and Martin Finnegan were settling to the task well, with the latter particularly impressive as he gave Archibald a good run for his money on their opening tour.

Jim Hodson from Wigan made no secret of the fact that setting up four bikes was quite a task. "I keep on thinking it's Thursday already," he said, relaxing a bit when he remembered that it was only Tuesday and plenty of time still remained.

Others making steady progress included Iain Duffus, Bruce Anstey and Richard Quayle, while earlier McGuinness had reflected ruefully on pulling up the Triumph Valmoto at Greeba Bridge yesterday morning, joining Jeffries whose 600 Suzuki had parted company with its engine internals.

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