2023 Manx GP: Lopez Santos Captures Junior Race Title

2023 Manx GP: Lopez Santos Captures Junior Race Title
Sub one hour ten minutes after Dean Harrison’s Senior Classic race victory, the Manx GP Supporters Club Junior race took lead billing.

First off of the 55-racer entry was Marc Colvin, aboard the same Dafabet Racing Kawasaki, which propelled Josh Brookes to a maiden TT podium finish in June.

Lap One:

It was a Team ILR with Frog Vehicle Developments 1-2-3 at Glen Helen and Ballaugh Bridge with impeccable MGP debutant Joe Yeardsley topping the leader-board in front of Victor Lopez Santos and Maurizio Bottalico.

At Ramsey Hairpin, Yeardsley’s lead stood at just past five seconds whilst fellow rapid Mountain Course first-timer Marcus ‘Spartacus’ Simpson broke the Team ILR stranglehold on the first three positions, slotting into third.

Laxey’s Yeardsley, son of former road racer Buddy Yeardsley, grip on race proceedings tightened at the Bungalow, enjoying an advantage almost exceeding 7.5 seconds.

Lap one’s finalisation saw Yeardsley bag a new Junior Super Twins lap record of 116.906 mph.

Despite this pace, Team ILR stablemate Lopez Santos was keeping prominent proximity, only 6.833 in arrears.

Early second place carrier Bottalico regrouped and re-took third as Andrea Majola, Simpson, ‘Tommy Club’ member Dan Ingham concluded the top six.

Lap one race retirements included Alun Brooks at Black Dub and at the pits, Jacque Foley.

Lap Two:

Nine seconds ahead at Glen Helen, race leader Yeardsley dramatically didn’t make it to the next timing sector at Ballaugh Bridge.

It was then confirmed that Yeardsley had stopped at Kirk Michael.

This enabled Lopez Santos to go P1, enjoying an eight second plus advantage over team-mate Bottalico.

Bottalico’s fellow Italian Majola, wasn’t far behind, just past three seconds down on the European Hill Climb specialist.

At Ramsey, Lopez Santos extended the race-lead to nigh-on 9.5 seconds.

As mandatory pit-stops loomed, the Spaniard led Bottalico by 9.44 seconds with third place holder Majola, only 1.851 further adrift.

Lap Three:

Post pit stops, Majola bit extensively into Lopez Santos P1 ownership, getting to within sub three seconds, after both embarked upon Glen Helen.

At Ballaugh, the duel for first continued in earnest with Manici Racing Team’s Majola, nibbling a tiny bit more out Lopez Santos lead, which was now 2.45 seconds.

This was trimmed down to under half a second at Ramsey Hairpin, leader on the road Majola was on quite the charge.

Keeping at bay Majola’s attentions at the Bungalow and Cronk Ny Mona, Lopez Santos grittily upped his race-lead to over 1.4 seconds.

Lap three’s wrap up yielded a 1.7 second lead for the Spanish ace.

Team-mate Bottalico third, wasn’t out of the equation for race spoils, only 5.542 behind Majola.

Colvin, Simpson were respectively fourth, fifth with sixth held by 2018 Newcomers B race winner Michael Rees.

Lap Four:

3.882 seconds ahead at Glen Helen, Lopez Santos looked good to become the first racer in the 21st Century from Spain, to pocket a Manx Grand Prix victory.

9.196 to the good at Ballaugh Bridge, ‘Tommy Club’ inductee Lopez Santos was on record breaking pace, as he homed in on a first Mountain Course success.

Post the race’s final stages, achievements in abundance were banked by race winner Lopez Santos.

The first Spanish Manx GP winner of the 21st Century, first Spanish Mountain Course rostrum finisher of this decade and a new Junior MGP lap-record of 117.645 (19 minutes 14.559 seconds).

First finisher on the road Majola finished 14.82 seconds behind as Lopez Santos team-mate Bottalico, made it a Paton one-two-three in wrapping up the podium finishers.

Colvin got the better of Simpson for fifth, eight plate holder Rees attained sixth.

Castings Technology Aprilia pilot Ingham who lost time in the pits, finished seventh.

Sam Mousley captured eighth with Jamie Williams, David Rigby rounding out the top ten.

Junior Manx Grand Prix Race Result:

1st – Victor Lopez Santos

2nd – Andrea Majola

3rd – Maurizio Bottalico

4th – Marc Colvin

5th – Marcus Simpson

6th – Michael Rees

7th – Dan Ingham

8th – Sam Mousley

9th – Jamie Williams

10th – David Rigby

11th – Lewis Arrowsmith

12th – Jack Fowler

13th – Eoin O’Siochru

14th – Alex Sinclair

15th – Michael Gahan

16th – Andy Skov

17th – Wayne Bourgeais

18th – Paul Marley

19th – Steve Moody

20th – Mark Herbertson

21st – Darran Creer

22nd – Wayne Axon

23rd – Colin Croft

24th – Rodger Wibberley

25th – Mike Mace

26th – Gerald Dath

27th – Stuart Clotworthy

28th – Veronika Hankocyova

29th – Kevin Baker

30th – Liam Chawke

31st – Quentin Limousin

32nd – Richard Kay

33rd – Darragh Trappe

34th – Noel Carroll

35th – Craig Howton

36th – Ross Orchard

37th – Salvatore Sallustro

38th – Jack Turner

39th – Graham McAleese

40th – David Glover

41st – Oliver Dean

Photo credit: Mark Corlett, Nick Wheeler

Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou
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