Road Racing News

Manx Grand Prix Preview: Part 2 – Lightweight/Ultra Lightweight Races

Providing racers with twice the opportunity to become Manx GP winners, the inter twined Lightweight, Ultra Lightweight races are certain to provide close fought, exciting, thrilling Mountain Course competition.

Looking towards the ER6 Kawasaki dominated in recent years Lightweight encounters, favourites for rostrum finishes will include Skerries Andy Farrell and Martin Bullock Manxsport’s David Lumsden.

Between them six times Manx GP rostrum finishers, they’ve consistently for the last four years contended for premier event results.

Photo by Nick Wheeler

Will this month see them join the event winners circle? It’s a distinct possibility as is Spain’s Victor Lopez Santos creating history.

Should Martimotos backed Lopez Santos emerge victorious in one of the four lap races, he would become the first racer from Spain to claim a Manx GP winners crown.

More than capable of contending for class honours, the improving Lopez Santos proved last year his capabilities with a fourth place finish, finishing just over three seconds off sealing a podium placing.

Photo by Nick Wheeler

Perhaps though the ace in the pack will be S1-R Paton mounted James Chawke. The amiable Chawke, who’s impressed many this year with his performances within the Irish national roads scene, has steadily in recent times developed into an accomplished Mountain Course racer.

Given the anticipated competitiveness of his steed, the Mark Coverdale backed Paton, allied to his core roads craft, plus growing ability on the world famous Manx roads, he could well be the one to beat this month.

Others capable of banking first rate results include Newcomers B front runner from 12 months ago, Dave Quine, Team York Suzuki’s Rodger Wibberley and seasoned Irish roads campaigner Tommy Henry.

Talented newcomers such as Jack Fowler, Barry Sheehan, James Smith, Paul O’Rourke, Japan’s Yoshihiro Kishimoto, VRS Racing’s Daniel Fernandez and Veronika Hankocyova all add further depth to the diverse truly global entry.

Newly reintroduced this year, ones to watch in the battle for Ultra Lightweight honours, which sees a mix of 125, Moto 3, Supersport 300, 400 mounted racers compete for victories, include Sidecar TT legend Dan Sayle.

Sayle, more known to tens of thousands for his three wheeling exploits, has over the years wrapped up multiple notable solo class results.

Ultra Lightweight champion in 2016, expect him to be more than a touch competitive again on the Falcon Racing Moto 3 Honda.

Others capable of scooping podium finishes include the Manx stars new team mate Tom Snow, plus Melton Mowbray’s Dan Ingham.

Providing a mix of two strokes, Twins and the odd 250, this years Ultra Lightweight, Lightweight Manx GP races are in my opinion amongst the most difficult races to call, with a host of hungry rising stars, seasoned event exponents all firmly believing they have the packages capable of sending them into the winners circle.

Words by Stevie Rial