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

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TT Practice Begins 29 May 2004

TT Practice started on a sunny but blustery note this evening, with the smaller capacity machines taking to the course promptly at 6.15pm.

Last year's Formula One and Senior winner Adrian Archibald and TAS Suzuki team-mate Bruce Anstey from New Zealand led the field away on 600cc production machines. Another top star out early was Martin Finnegan, who later claimed hehad pulled a bit out on them but had not wanted to show his hand too early. The psyching-out has started early!

Shaun Harris waited until most of the field had got away before setting off on the Blacks Bike Shop production model. After a fairly rapid lap he pronounced himself fairly satisfied, asking merely for adjustments to the steering. His new leathers bore the nickname "Baldrick", much to his other sponsor - Des Collins' - amusement as he carried them round the paddock. Shaun also remarked on a new bump on the exit from Westwood - the fast downhill left-hander before Kirk Michael, often incorrectly referred to as the 13th Milestone.

John Barton looked relaxed, considering he had seen the motor of his 400cc machine blow up on the dynamometer. New bits are being freighted in and the rebuild is scheduled for Wednesday.

Former Norton and Yamaha TT winner Phil Read was spotted polishing the bike of French newcomer Fabienne Migout, to whom it is alleged a romantic engagement might be forthcoming. Phil will ride a TZ350 in the Classic Parade.

The first MV of Spring made its way gingerly in the hands of Italian newcomer Umberto Rumiano, who seemed in no rush to get going and took great care in setting tyre pressures first.

John McGuinness has switched to Yamaha this year and had a good debut at the North West. On his exploratory lap on the TT Course, he halted for a moment for minor adjustments, perhaps occasioned by steering damping variation, before proceeding. Then he ran out of fuel at Keppel Gate trying to squeeze two laps out of a tank on the big Production R1. Another suffering similarly was Mark Parrett, but he managed to coast home with the light very firmly glowing brightly.

Derek Whalley put his disappointment of the early afternoon behind him. Apparently the clutch on his 7R AJS unwound on the warming up lap for the Single Cylinder Race at Billown. He fixed it but the gear selection then gave trouble and he had to pull out. Bill Swallow won it at a canter aboard the ex-Mark Linton FCL Aermacchi.

Newcomer Guy Martin enjoyed his debut ride. But places he had thought were straights proved anything but at 150mph, particularly near Handley's Umberto Rumiano also was pleased with the MV, probably the first ridden by an Italian since Giacomo Agostini and Alberto Pagani in 1972.

Paul Owen had his usual exciting opening practice, with his big bike jumping out of sixth gear and his 250 getting only to Quarter Bridge before exploding its power valve. Seamus Greene was glad to be back after three years off but found problems remembering the sequence of corners.

Just before the sidecars took to the course Gary Carswell and Martin Finnegan just sneaked through in time. Shortly afterwards the Grandstand crowd thrilled to the maiden appearance of 2002 World Champions Klaus Klaffenbock and Christian Parzer set off on their Yamaha, with eight times winner Dave Molyneux adjusting to new passenger Daniel Sayle, who had received the thumbs up after last week's winning debut at Jurby South. The new Honda "Stealth" rig looks and sounds very impressive. Perhaps the first sub-20 minute lap this year?

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