Looking towards the Junior/Senior races at the 2019 Manx Grand Prix, at least 10 or more riders in my opinion have a great chance of scooping race victories.
On course last year for Newcomers A honours, before mechanical gremlins struck, Chris Preston Racing’s Nathan Harrison is highly fancied by many to stand on the top step of the podium, in at least one of the premier class races.
Established amongst the Isle of Man’s fastest rising roads stars, he impressed and some last month at the Southern 100, mixing it with various esteemed International Roads exponents on route to top five finishes in the Supersport encounters.
Others like ex Jackson Racing Honda mounted Harrison going into the Manx GP in good form include runner-up in last year’s thrilling, drama filled Senior race, The Peoples Bike Team stable mate Stephen Parsons.
Set to pilot his trusty ZX6R Kawasaki steed that served him so well in 2018, the laid back Parsons has quietly impressed this year at his selected roads outings at Billown and Oliver’s Mount, Scarborough.
Photo by Mark Corlett
Additional ones to watch include twice Super Twins Manx GP winner Andy Farrell, Ballymoney’s Darryl Tweed, ‘Tommy Club’ member Steven Procter, Dave ‘Sideshow’ Butler.
VRS Racing’s Brad Vicars, David McConnachy, Stephen Smith, event returnee Ben Rea (Steadplan Primus Racing), Dan Ingham, Wayne Humble, Mike Minns, Ryan Maher and Irish Roads Senior Support class front runners Tommy Henry & Andy McAllister.
Joining the aforementioned competitors on the entry list are overseas stars including Francesco Curinga (Italy), Victor Lopez Santos (Spain), Andreas Psychogyios (Greece), Chris Sarbora (USA), Renzo Van Der Donckt (Belgium), Sebastian Witt (Austria), Royce Rowe (Australia), Daniel Fernandez (Colombia) and Erik Kjuus (Norway).
Photo by Nick Wheeler
The quality of the entry is endless and when you add in more talented riders such as Rodger Wibberley, Leon Murphy, Sam Grief, Jack Fowler, David Murphy, Ross Orchard, Ben Plant, Rad Hughes, Marc Colvin and Damian Horan, first class Mountain Course competition is an absolute guarantee.
We shouldn’t forget of course the hungry newcomers entered, with notable debutants like IRRC Supersport front runner Pierre Yves Bian, Lewis Bramwell, Mike Mace, Paul Marley, Russia’s Danila Krasniuk, Poland’s Krystian Paluch, Chris Stuart, Sam Mousley all tipped to impress.
Since the Manx Grand Prix first started in 1930, a who’s who of road racing has won the coveted Junior and Senior crowns.
At a glance just some of the famous names to have won the blue riband Manx GP races include Ryan Farquhar, John Simpson, Malachi Mitchell Thomas, Billy Redmayne, Andy Lawson, Michael Sweeney, Davy Morgan, Ian Pattinson, Tom Weeden, Andy Dudgeon, Alan ‘Bud’ Jackson, Michael Evans and Matt Stevenson.
Photo by Mark Corlett
In recent times the pace has rocketed up in the four lap races, with various 120 mph laps recorded plus overall pace that would have contended for top 15 finishes within the Supersport encounters at the TT Races.
As long as conditions are spot on and the competitors are in the right frame of mind, expect more of the same at this year’s Manx Grand Prix.
Words by Stevie Rial