2023 Manx GP: MD’s 33rd Mountain Course Triumph

2023 Manx GP: MD’s 33rd Mountain Course Triumph
The final act of the 100th Anniversary Manx Grand Prix, the RST Classic Superbike race featuring leading TT stars, ‘130 Mph Club’ members a plenty, took to the fabled, mythical Mountain Course at 6:40 PM.

First racers to blast down Bray Hill were Australian ace David Johnson (Team ACR Kawasaki) and triple TT Champion Dean Harrison (Key Racing Ducati).

Lap One:

Opening stages of lap one saw not much separating TT ‘Aliens’, early pace setters Harrison and Michael Dunlop.

At Ballaugh Bridge, 2.582 seconds was the margin between the 28 times TT winners combined.

Harrison continued to lead at Ramsey Hairpin but now by only 1.89 seconds.

No.1 plate holder Johnson was third with the Greenall Racing duo of Rob Hodson and Brian McCormack, fourth, fifth respectively.

Just 1.44 seconds covered Harrison, Dunlop at the Bungalow, it was nip and tuck as mandatory pit-stops beckoned.

As both undertook pit-stops, the order at the end of lap one was Harrison first but by only half a second.

9.7 seconds behind Dunlop, Adelaide’s Johnson remained third ahead of Hodson and McCormack.

Notable lap one retirements included James Hillier (KTS Racing Powered by Steadplan), Michael Browne (Davies Motorsport) and Saturday’s Ultra Lightweight class winner Paul Cassidy.

Lap Two:

Glen Helen lap two, Dunlop was P1 by only 0.107 of a second!

Onto Ballaugh Bridge and ‘Maverick’ extended his advantage to 2.5 seconds.

From here Dunlop increased, increased the gap to Harrison, moving 11.731 clear as he reached the Bungalow. Soon after, Harrison was forced to retire due to engine issues afflicting the sweet sounding 916 Ducati steed.

Harrison’s retirement enabled Johnson to pocket second ahead of a charging Hodson. As the third, final lap dawned, Dunlop’s grip on race proceedings was mighty, holding a nigh-on 34 second lead.

Rounding out the top six behind Dunlop, Johnson, Hodson were McCormack, Derek Sheils, Mistral Racing’s Paul Jordan.

Lap Three:

Whilst Michael Dunlop vaulted in style to Mountain Course victory No.33, a new Classic Superbike Manx GP lap record of 126.681 mph (17:52.209 seconds), attention a plenty was on the battle for second between Johnson and Hodson.

In the end, Johnson who’s last lap was 125.540 just kept P2, finishing 2.1 seconds in front of reigning class Champion Hodson, who endured a ‘moment’ at Governors Dip.

Seven plate carrier McCormack placed fourth as RC45 Honda jockey Nathan Harrison, Craig Neve despite start-line problems, Jordan, Sheils, rotary Norton runner Shaun Anderson, Amalric Blanc concluded the top ten finishers.

Classic Superbike Manx Grand Prix Race Result:

1st – Michael Dunlop

2nd – David Johnson

3rd – Rob Hodson

4th – Brian McCormack

5th – Nathan Harrison

6th – Craig Neve

7th – Paul Jordan

8th – Derek Sheils

9th – Shaun Anderson

10th – Amalric Blanc

11th – Barry Furber

12th – Michael Russell

13th – Tom Weeden

14th – Paul ‘Potchy’ Williams

15th – Stefano Bonetti

16th – Mike Norbury

17th – Gareth Arnold

18th – Anthony Redmond

19th – Alan Oversby

20th – Dennis Booth

21st – Michael Rutter

22nd – Marc Colvin

23rd – Jonathan Perry

24th – Pete Murray

25th – Paul Marley

26th – Ian Armstrong

27th – Michal Dokoupil

28th – Timothee Monot

29th – Andy Hornby

30th – Rodger Wibberley

31st – Rad Hughes

32nd – Dave Madsen Mygdal

33rd – Andy Lovett

Photo credit: Mark Corlett, Nick Wheeler

Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou
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