Looking towards the Junior/Senior races at the 2018 Manx Grand Prix, at least 10 or more riders in my opinion have a great chance of scooping a marque Manx victory.
Newcomers A runner up last year, Ballymoney’s Darryl Tweed is highly fancied by many to stand on the top step of the podium, in one of the premier races.
Established amongst Irish road racing’s fastest rising stars, Darryl’s stock within the real roads scene increasing, meeting on meeting.
Same applies to fellow anticipated front runners The Peoples Bike Teams Stephen Parsons, Andy Farrell, David Lumsden and Stephen Smith, keep an eye as well on the likes of Wayne Humble, Steven Procter, Damian Horan, David McConnachy and James Chawke.
Plus Dave Butler, Matt Stevenson, Hull’s Callum Ward and reigning Newcomers A champion Brad Vicars who’s just in time got back to race fitness.
Leading local challengers include ‘Tommy Club’ member Dean Osborne and the Martin Bullock Manxsport duo of Brendan Fargher and Dave Quine.
Photo by Nick Wheeler
Both riders will have large support in abundance for their latest Manx GP campaigns, as will overseas stars such as Francesco Curinga (Italy), Victor Lopez Santos (Spain), Chris Sarbora (USA), Morgan Govignon (France) and Andreas Psychogyios (Greece).
The quality of the entry is endless and when you add in more talented riders such as Rodger Wibberley, Andy Hayes, Richard Stubbs, Ryan Maher, Adrian Hartog and Leon Murphy, first class Mountain Course competition is a guarantee.
We shouldn’t forget of course the hungry newcomers entered, with notable debutants like Irish road Senior Support championship front runner Michael Browne, Thomas Maxwell, Steven Haddow, Dave Murphy, Switzerland’s John Pilloud all tipped to impress.
Since the Manx Grand Prix first started in 1930, a who’s who of road racing has won the coveted Junior and Senior crowns.
At a glance just some of the famous names to have won the blue riband Manx GP races include Ryan Farquhar, John Simpson, Malachi Mitchell Thomas, Billy Redmayne, Andy Lawson, Michael Sweeney, Davy Morgan, Ian Pattinson, Tom Weeden, Andy Dudgeon, Alan “Bud” Jackson and Michael Evans.
In recent times the pace has rocketed up in the four lap races, with various 120 mph laps recorded plus overall pace that would have contended for top 15 finishes within the Supersport encounters at the TT Races.
As long as conditions are spot on and the competitors are in the right frame of mind, expect more of the same at this years Manx Grand Prix.
Words by Stevie Rial