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

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Final Practice in Perfect Conditions 30 May 2008

The final practice session for the 2008 Isle of Man TT Races was held in perfect conditions and, after its almost expected delay, this time ten minutes, the flag dropped at 6.30pm. Riders were warned of damp patches through Quarry Bends although the majority later reported that all was well whilst flies were again causing their own unique problems for riders' visibility.

Guy Martin's Hydrex Bike Animal Honda team had him well to the fore once more and he set off first alongside Keith Amor with Gary Carswell, Carl Rennie, Ryan Farquhar and Steve Plater following them in quick succession. Farquhar was the only leading contender to go out on his 600 first of all whilst Plater was hoping to have cured his handling issues that had affected him the night before. John McGuinness was the 12th man away and had made a number of changes to the front end of his machine having also had some stability issues on Thursday.

Martin's opening lap of 127.195mph saw him briefly fastest before McGuinness flashed across the line about a minute later at 127.383mph. Ian Hutchinson was also running well at 126.959mph with Conor Cummins, Bruce Anstey, Cameron Donald, Ian Lougher and Dan Stewart all going above 124mph. Second time around though the speeds increased and the changes that McGuinness had made were clearly to his liking as he went fastest at 128.61mph. Donald was right on his exhaust pipes as they completed the lap and he went second at 128.44mph with teammate Anstey in third at 127.82mph. Martin also went quicker, at 127.77mph, but was ultimately shuffled back to fourth.

Adrian Archibald, who had to stop on his opening lap to make adjustments, put in a late charge to go sixth with a lap of 126.33mph whilst Gary Johnson was also impressing at 125.61mph. Plater's opening lap was 117.43mph and he only got as far as Kirk Michael on his second lap before pulling off the course. He got back to the paddock in time to take his Superstock machine out for a lap.

Fast laps were also the order of the day in the Superstock class and it was that man McGuinness who again set the pace despite only having done one lap on the machine prior to this evening. He put in two 125mph+ laps to go fastest on the night at 126.56mph. Anstey and Donald were almost inseparable at 125.77 and 125.71 with Johnson, only in his second year on the Island, in top form at 125.02mph. Carl Rennie and Les Shand completed the top six with speeds of 124.51mph and 124.24mph respectively, the two privateers both riding strongly.

As a result of all the big bike activity, most riders only put in one lap on their 600cc machine but it was Farquhar, with only two bikes to concentrate on, who utilized the time to his advantage with a lap of 122.91mph. Anstey squeezed a final lap in to go second at 122.87mph with McGuinness and Martin doing the same at 121.51 and 121.45, the latter named finally getting a good run on the middleweight machine. Archibald and Johnson rounded out the top six at 121.18 and 121.13 whilst privateer Les Shand was impressive at 120.96mph. James Hillier and Jamie Robinson again made good progress upping their speeds to 116.43 and 115.58 respectively.

The F2 Sidecars again had a good, full session and, on the eve of their first race, a number of the drivers used the time to run in their race engines in preparation for the first 3-lap race. Dave Molyneux and Klaus Klaffenbock were two such drivers and this could be seen in their relatively slow lap speeds of 13mph and 107mph.

Nick Crowe and Mark Cox put in two flying laps to go fastest for the week at 115.53 whilst John Holden and Andy Winkle were also going well at 113.11mph. They were followed by Simon Neary/Jamie Winn (111.22), Steve Norbury/Rick Long (110.78) and Dougie Wright/Stuart Bond (110.19), the last named putting in his first ever 110mph+ lap.

However, the talk of the night was again reigning World Champions Tim Reeves and Patrick Farrance who showed their class with a brilliant lap of 110.36mph to go fifth fastest and they must surely have a great chance of stepping on to the podium.

Les Shand was involved in an incident at Sulby Bridge but was seen by a travelling marshal and reported no serious injury.

With good weather forecast for the next five days, all is set for some terrific racing and the action kicks off at 12.00pm tomorrow with the 6-lap Dainese Superbike race. This is followed at 3.15pm with the 3-lap Sure Mobile F2 Sidecar race.

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