Back in August of 2018, the showpiece Senior Manx Grand Prix lived up to expectations and some, with a host of hungry next generation roads competitors battling it out for race honours.
With competition been so tight, close, competitive within the prior Junior race, it was to close to call for many when predicting who would add their name to a race winner’s list which includes Malachi Mitchell Thomas, Ryan Farquhar, Davy Morgan, Phil Read, Geoff Duke and event lap record holder Michael Evans.
Ones to watch in the four lap race included the Peoples Bike Team duo of Matt Stevenson and Stephen Parsons, Dean Osborne, Junior class winner James Chawke and Skerries Andy Farrell.
My race report on what proved one of the all time great Senior MGP races, reads as follows:
Emerging on top out of a classic battle with The Peoples Bike team mate Stephen Parsons, Ripon’s Matt Stevenson with a final lap of near the 121 mph mark secured the blue riband Senior Manx Grand Prix crown.
Victorious by just over five seconds, Stevenson’s performance was made all the more tumultuous given that he had been given a pit lane infringement penalty, following his scheduled pit stop at the end of lap 2.
Due to this, the race lead he had established of almost 3.2 seconds at the completion of lap 2, evaporated. This left good friend, team mate Parsons a lead of plus ten seconds at Ramsey Hairpin on lap 3.
Despite the disappointment of the penalty, it did not nothing to affect Stevenson’s mind set, as the YZF R6 Yamaha mounted racer steadily section by section reeled in Newcomers A rostrum finisher from 12 months ago, Parsons.
The crucial timing point on lap 4 that saw Stevenson dramatically re take the race lead, was at the Bungalow. From here he maintained a plus three second lead and kept his cool to cross the line, to become 2018 Senior Manx GP champion.
Reflecting on his huge achievement, the over the moon race winner stated:
“It was P1 plus half a second at the Goose Neck on the second lap, So I knew a battle was on here I guessed it would be one of the lads on 750’s, I didn’t think it would be ‘Trev’, we call him Trev, his names Stephen Parsons, but his real names Trev trust me!
So I thought just get my head down and see were we end up, just do what I can. It’s a good job I didn’t really know I had that ten seconds in pit lane, cause I would have pushed harder which doesn’t seem to end well, as proved in the Junior race.”
Race runner up Parsons was philosophical in defeat, plus delighted to secure a third Manx GP rostrum finish.
Concluding the podium finishers was Stagefreight Haulage backed Steven Procter, who joined the ‘Tommy Club’ for the first time, following a final lap speed of 120.579 mph.
Ultra impressive newcomer Michael Browne announced himself it’s fair to say as a future high calibre TT Races exponent, after an excellent fourth place finish.
Andy Farrell joined the ‘Tommy Club’ on route to finishing fifth, whilst Junior race victor James Chawke enjoyed another productive race in finishing a solid sixth.
Concluding the top ten finishers were Martin Bullock Manxsport’s David Lumsden, Spain’s Victor Lopez Santos, Stephen Smith and Wayne Humble.
Others to record good results included Manx GP returnee Morgan Govignon (11th), Francesco Curinga (12th) now the fastest Italian Manx GP racer of all time, Nathan Harrison (13th), Slovakia’s Miroslav Sloboda (16th) and Chris Cook (17th).
Words by Stevie Rial