2023 Manx GP: Thursday Afternoon Qualifying Wrap Up

2023 Manx GP: Thursday Afternoon Qualifying Wrap Up

As was the case yesterday, the second contingency afternoon qualifying session of the 100th Anniversary Manx Grand Prix, proceeded five minutes behind schedule at 1:05 PM.

First to blast down Bray Hill were 25 times TT winner Michael Dunlop and Greenall Racing’s Brian McCormack.

Throughout his standing start lap, Team Classic Suzuki’s Dunlop was setting purple sectors, averaging up to Cronk Ny Mona, 129.946 mph.

Dunlop went onto record the first sub 18 minutes lap of this year’s Manx, averaging a shade over 126 mph (126.046).

Second best plus 18.5 seconds behind Dunlop was Dean Harrison (123.896) and the sweet- sounding Key Racing Ducati.

With Dunlop not going straight through, heading back to Parc Ferme, the Kawasaki mounted trio of David Johnson, Rob Hodson, Craig Neve took control of Classic SBK ‘flying’ lap stages.

Team ACR’s Johnson bagged a 125.414 mph lap whilst Hodson, Neve registered 124.701, 124.097 lap speeds.

Misfortune would strike Bob Henderson Racing’s Dominic Herbertson, who tipped off at Lambfell.

He was reported to be conscious and to have sustained an ankle injury.

Same as yesterday, Dan Ingham (119.775) continued to top the Senior Supersport qualifying leader-board, via a standing start lap almost under 19 minutes.

Sub 17.5 seconds covered the live-timing top six with Marcus ‘Spartacus’ Simpson (118.619), Tom Robinson who slid off uninjured at Ramsey Hairpin, Victor Lopez Santos (118.486), Joe Yeardsley (118.362), Hawick’s Chris Cook (117.893) second-sixth quickest.

Thursday Afternoon Qualifying Part Two:

At 2:25 PM, Senior Classic, Junior Super Twin, Lightweight qualifying opened.

A cacophony of sound summed up the noises you could hear trackside, up close as Senior 500’s, two-strokes, Supermono’s, 650 Twins glued their-selves to the fabled, mythical Mountain Course.

Taking an early starring role was Team ILR with Frog Vehicle Developments Victor Lopez Santos, setting an unofficial new Junior MGP lap record, lapping at 116.629 mph.

Incredibly, the record Junior lap-speed post the second timed-lap was exceeded again by another of the Team ILR stable, with aforementioned IOM ace, event debutant Yeardsley, going through at 117.373 mph.

Yeardsley’s mentor, twice TT winner Chris Palmer sounded visibly emotional, elated on Manx Radio when hearing about his protégé’s latest tumultuous feat.

Whilst fireworks a plenty popped up in the Junior category, the battle for Lightweight qualifying spoils was headed by the narrowest of margins by Michael Dunlop.

Dunlop’s standing start-lap speed of 116.535 mph was almost equalled by Laylaw Racing’s Ian Lougher, lapping at 116.515 mph, just 0.195 of a second between them!

Others showing consistent, solid pace, averaging 110 + included Faraldo Racing 450 occupant Paul Jordan (112.972), Dan Sayle (111.906), Michal ‘Indi’ Dokoupil (111.443) and Rhys Hardisty (110.478), who received special dispensation to participate in the prior, above showcased qualifying session.

Senior Classic’s wise, current Irish Road Race Supersport, Moto 3 Champion Michael Browne proved the initial pace setter post standing start laps, nudging past the 109-mph lap-mark.

Browne’s position as Senior Classic top speedster, did not maintain for long as John McGuinness MBE (110.574) unlocked extra pace from the nimble, distinctly green liveried Team Winfield Paton.

Peter Beugger sponsored Shaun Anderson (108.105), Michael Rutter (106.597), CSC Racing’s James Hillier (104.357), Will Loder (101.634) rounded-out behind 23 times TT winner McGuinness MBE, Browne the times sheet top six.

Photo credit: Mark Corlett

Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou

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