Despite the presence of strong, blustery winds around the Mountain Course, decent conditions all round greeted competitors for the showpiece race of this year’s Manx Grand Prix, the four lap Senior race.
Pre-race favourite James Hind surged into an early race lead at Glen Helen but was only 0.464 ahead of The Peoples Bike Team’s Stephen Parsons, with Junior race victor Nathan Harrison just a further 1.4 behind Parsons.
By Ballaugh Bridge, it was all change out front as Parsons took the race lead, moving 2.733 in front of Harrison, whilst previous leader Hind experiencing technical problems dropped well outside the top ten.
At Ramsey Hairpin, Parsons advantage reduced marginally to 2.402 seconds. VRS Racing’s Brad Vicars held third, Darryl Tweed occupied fourth, Dan Ingham held fifth as Andrew Fisher rounded out the top six.
Soon after Junior class lap record holder Hind was a confirmed retirement, the next timing point at the Bungalow showcased that Parsons had moved over three seconds clear of Harrison, with his race lead now standing at 3.415 seconds.
Come the completion of lap 1, Parsons who joined the ‘Tommy Club’ following a fantastic standing start lap speed of 121.12 mph, held a 3.576 seconds lead over Harrison.
Tadcaster’s Vicars was third, Ballymoney’s Tweed held fourth as Strangford Holiday Park supported Ingham and Kettering’s Fisher finalised the first six.
Parsons continued his fine form from lap 1 at Glen Helen on lap 2, moving 5.585 seconds clear of Chris Preston Racing’s Harrison.
Twice Ultra Lightweight class winner from 12 months ago Tweed edged in front of Vicars for third, whilst lead 750 mounted competitor Ingham maintained fifth.
Going against the form book, Parsons continued to lead at Ballaugh Bridge by an extended advantage, enjoying now a nigh on seven second lead.
Almost eight seconds clear at Ramsey Hairpin, race runner-up from last year Parsons was showcasing again his proven qualities around the fabled, mythical Mountain Course.
Photo by Nick Wheeler
By the time Parsons reached Cronk Ny Mona, his lead had been nibbled into by Harrison, who was still 4.862 seconds in arrears to the Kendal racer.
At the end of Lap two, Parsons led Harrison by 5.896 seconds, whilst the seesaw battle for third between Tweed and Vicars, was headed by Irish Roads Supersport front runner, new ‘Tommy Club’ member Tweed, with only 3.254 seconds between the CBR 600RR Honda mounted racers.
Quite incredibly after the scheduled pit-stops, Parsons and Harrison were on virtually identical overall race times, with just 0.059 of a second! covering them at Glen Helen on lap three.
2017 Newcomers A race victor Vicars slotted back into third, as just 0.660 separated Parsons and Harrison at Ballaugh Bridge.
At Ramsey Hairpin, Onchan’s Harrison became the third different race leader, moving 0.425 ahead thanks to a one second quicker sector time than Parsons.
By the time Harrison and Parsons made the Bungalow, Harrison’s advantage out front had extended to in excess of three seconds, which then grew by another three seconds at Cronk Ny Mona to 6.315 seconds.
As Harrison completed his third and penultimate lap of the race, he held a 6.4 second lead over Parsons who in turn was 23 seconds in front of VRS Racing’s Vicars.
Tweed remained fourth as Melton Mowbray’s Ingham and number 1 plate holder Steven Procter rounded out the top six.
Harrison’s race lead at Glen Helen on the fourth and final lap, remained just past the 6.4 seconds mark, with his front running advantage now standing at 6.57 seconds.
Taking further control of the race at Ballaugh Bridge, Harrison moved 7.597 seconds clear as he homed in on a momentous Junior/Senior Manx GP double.
10.577 seconds ahead at Ramsey Hairpin, it was starting to look like Harrison had got the better of Parsons in the battle to become 2019 Senior Manx GP Champion.
14 seconds clear at the Bungalow, there was no stopping next gen Manx roads star who went onto take Senior race spoils by 17.836 seconds.
Now a two time Manx GP winner, Harrison’s lap four lap speed of 122.09 mph, puts him amongst a very select group of racers to have lapped at over the 122 mph lap mark in Manx GP affiliated competition.
Speaking to Road Racing News post race, Harrison stated:
“Through the first few laps I was asleep, couldn’t get into my rhythm, seeing what the conditions were like, it was a bit windy, didn’t know whether I’m fancying this.
Came into the pit-stop, they did a great job as usual, had a drink and I felt refreshed, felt like a new man again.
Went down Bray Hill and I was like I can get this back, it was +8 or +10 whatever it was, and I was like right we’ll get this back. Kept on plugging away, getting the fastest lap, we got there, so it was good.”
Finalising the podium finishers behind Harrison and Parsons, was Newcomers Manx GP lap record holder Vicars who registered on lap four a huge new personal best lap speed of 121.19 mph.
Fifth place finisher Dan Ingham like Vicars and fourth place finisher Darryl Tweed joins the prestigious ‘Tommy Club’ following a final lap, lap speed of 120.47 mph.
Photo by Mark Corlett
Wrapping up the first ten finishers were Wakefield’s Procter, Graham Procter supported Fisher, Bourne’s Arnie Shelton, RC Racing’s Marc Colvin and Cramlington’s David McConnachy.
Others to acquire more than respectable finishes included Damian Horan (11th), Chris Cook (12th), Chris Sarbora (14th), PRB Racing backed Grant Gaskell (15th), Ben Rea (16th) and lead newcomer Sam Mousley (19th).
Senior Manx Grand Prix race result, is as follows:
1 Nathan Harrison
2 Stephen Parsons
3 Brad Vicars
4 Darryl Tweed
5 Dan Ingham
6 Steven Procter
7 Andrew Fisher
8 Arnie Shelton
9 Marc Colvin
10 David McConnachy
11 Damian Horan
12 Chris Cook
13 Francesco Curinga
14 Chris Sarbora
15 Grant Gaskell
16 Ben Rea
17 Gaz Evans
18 Rad Hughes
19 Sam Mousley
20 Teddy Bresson
21 Dave Butler
22 Shaun Evans
23 David Murphy
24 Steven Horne
25 David Brook
26 Andrew Windsor
27 Jim Barnett
28 Alun Brooks
29 Alan Johnston
30 James Reveley
31 Louis O’Regan
32 Tommy Henry
33 Rodger Wibberley
34 Jack Fowler
35 Dennis Booth
36 Jordan McFerran
37 Ben Shuttlewood
38 Stuart McCann
39 Andreas Psychogyios
40 Ben Plant
41 Richard Vuillermet
42 Paul Battersby
43 Ross Orchard
44 Stu Hall
45 Daniel Fernandez
46 Iain Hill
47 Steven Beale
48 Peter Creer
49 Sebastian Witt
50 Chris Stuart
51 Ben Wales
52 Bertus Folkertsma
53 Krystian Paluch
54 Christian Slater
55 Kevin Barsby
Words by Stevie Rial