2023 Manx GP: Harrison Norton’s The Senior Classic Opposition

2023 Manx GP: Harrison Norton’s The Senior Classic Opposition
For those super-fans of 500cc machines from years gone by, the early afternoon Carole Nash Classic Senior race, must have been manner from heaven.

1 hour 30 minutes behind schedule, 2:15 PM was the start time with two plate carrier Dean Harrison (Craven Classic Racing) first away.

Lap One:

At Glen Helen pre-race favourite John McGuinness MBE (Team Winfield Paton) surged into the lead, leading triple TT winner Harrison by just past two seconds.

Greenall Racing’s Derek Sheils was an early retirement at Braddan Bridge.

The next timing point at Ballaugh Bridge, would see McGuinness MBE’s advantage stretch marginally to 2.445 seconds over new second place occupier Michael Browne.

Sensationally at Ramsey Hairpin, Peter Grantham Lodge Norton pilot Browne pocketed first place, overhauling McGuinness MBE, who he now led by 0.872 of a second.

Irish Road Race Supersport Champion Browne, extended by the next timing point, the Bungalow, the race-lead to nigh-on four seconds with McGuinness MBE now only half a second clear of Harrison.

As lap one concluded, Browne led new second position holder Harrison by 4.6 seconds.

McGuinness MBE who went onto undertake a pit-stop, held P3, 4.98 behind Bradford’s Harrison.

Shaun Anderson (Peter Beugger Paton), Adam McLean having his first Mountain Course race outing since 2019, 2013 Lightweight TT winner James Hillier wrapped up leader-board top six.

Lap Two:

Race-leader changes times three at Glen Helen on lap two as Harrison usurped Browne, taking a slender sub one-second lead.

Only 0.775 covered single-cylinder Norton riders Harrison and Browne across Ballaugh Bridge with McGuinness MBE 29.35 seconds adrift.

Onto Ramsey Hairpin and Harrison, deputising for fellow Yorkshireman Jamie Coward, was extracting the maximum out of the Craven Classic Norton, moving 1.684 ahead of Super Twins TT Race 1 runner-up Browne.

4.525 seconds was Harrison’s lead by the Bungalow. This grew at Cronk Ny Mona and even more post lap two’s end to almost twelve seconds.

Harrison’s lap two lap speed 111.395 mph (20:19.338 seconds) proved a new official Classic Senior Manx GP lap record.

McGuinness MBE remained third but was coming under increasing pressure from fellow Paton powered competitor, Anderson.

Lap Three:

28.455 seconds in front at Glen Helen, Dean Harrison wasn’t dropping the pace, easing it off slightly in pursuit of another Mountain Course triumph.

Whilst Harrison steadfastly remained on course for race glory, the race for second and third was not as clear cut.

Browne continued to hold P2 at Ballaugh Bridge but was dropping time a plenty to McGuinness MBE and 2010 Newcomers A runner-up Anderson.

Before Ramsey Hairpin, Banbridge’s Anderson had pocketed P3 from McGuinness.

As Harrison (race winning time – 1 hour 01:22.525 seconds) scored a deserved first Manx GP victory, all eyes were on who would finish P2 and P3.

Answer 23 times TT winner McGuinness MBE and Browne with Anderson dropping back to fourth, post a drama-filled final lap.

Flitwick Motorcycles-Royal Enfield jockey McLean claimed a more than creditable fifth place finish as respected racing all-rounder Michael ‘Jack’ Russell finalised the first six finishers.

Positions 7th-16th in what was an attrition filled race with 12 retirements in total, were captured by the following:

James Hillier (7th), Rob Hodson (8th), Will Loder (9th), Dave Madsen Mygdal (10th), Aaron Hughes (11th).

Jeff Smith (12th), Colin Stockdale (13th), Jamie O’Brien (14th), BSA Goldstar mounted Shelley Pike and sole 350 finisher, MGP newcomer Mark Johnson (16th).

Photo credit: Mark Corlett

Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou
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