2023 Manx GP: Thursday Evening Qualifying Double For Harrison

2023 Manx GP: Thursday Evening Qualifying Double For Harrison
Idyllic, spot-on conditions all-round was a pleasant sight for those tackling tonight’s Manx GP qualifying session, which commenced on schedule at 6:30 PM.

Various esteemed racers elected not to participate in the Classic Superbike/Senior Supersport combined qualifying stint including Michael Dunlop, Rob Hodson and the Alasdair Cowan Racing pairing of Craig Neve and David Johnson.

In total only eighteen yesteryear big bike powered competitors, completed timed laps.

Top of the pile, making decent progress with the sweet-sounding Key Racing Ducati, was triple TT winner Dean Harrison.

Harrison’s best time of 18 minutes 01.456 seconds, (speed wise 125.597) was 25.2 seconds speedier than second fastest, Irish ace Brian McCormack (122.735).

4 seconds behind McCormack was Macau GP wins record holder Michael Rutter (122.287) with Derek Sheils (121.746) the final class exponent to average in excess of 120 mph.

Looking back on Senior qualifying, one cannot but be captivated by the speeds obtained by MGP newcomers Marcus Simpson and Joe Yeardsley.

JPS Racing Powered by Atherstone’s Simpson pocketed successive 120-mph laps, his second averaging 120.813 mph, taking him to the top of this week’s Senior qualifying leader-board.

Spin Arena Racing’s Yeardsley also captured unofficially a 120-mph lap, lapping at 120.116 mph.

Added Mountain Course first-timers scooping new PB lap speeds included David Rigby (118.041), Julien Cregniot (111.546) and Graham McAleese (105.474).

Remaining stages of tonight’s timed action saw Maurizio Bottalico edge fellow Italian Andrea Majola, team-mate, the aforementioned Yeardsley for P1 in the Junior Super Twins class.

Senior qualifying week leader Marcus Simpson, looked a strong contender to finish quickest only for his challenge to end in an incident at Creg Ny Ba, from which he emerged unscathed.

107 times Oliver’s Mount race winner Dean Harrison bagged a qualifying double victory, leading the Senior Classics times, taking the Craven Classic Racing Norton to a lap speed of 110.248 mph (20:32.019 seconds).

Davies Motorsport’s Michael Rutter (106.597), Black Eagle Racing’s Andy Hornby (100.18) finished top chasers to Harrison whilst Sidecar TT legend Dan Sayle (112.264) bested Stuart Hall (111.389) and 17 plate holder Gareth Arnold (111.303) to lead Lightweight qualifying.

The top three 400cc mounted competitors were ‘Tommy Club’ member Dan Ingham (104.937), Andy McAllister (102.301), Leon Murphy (101.037).

Photo credit: Mark Corlett

Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou
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