I wasn’t sure I’d make the 100th Anniversary Manx Grand Prix.
The cancelled ferry crossing for the 19th August, certainly provided problems!
Where there’s a will, there’s a way though and on the 22nd August, the Road Racing News team was back on IOM shores.
Almost immediately it was into reporting mode, covering Tuesday evening’s qualifying sessions.
Wednesday 23rd August, more reporting, interviews conducted with racers, catching up with good friends.
Thursday 24th August, Friday 25th August similar vibes albeit on Friday, the pesky rain curtailed qualifying, race action.
Onto Saturday 26th August and a long, long day of covering the Mountain Course superheroes feats beckoned.
In particular history was made in the Junior race, courtesy of Spain’s first Manx GP winner Victor Lopez Santos.
Sunday 27th August, a day off for some! For me transcribing interviews, getting ready to cover races tomorrow.
In the evening visited the Show and Shine machinery display at Douglas and then watched a spitfire captivating the crowds in attendance.
Final day on the Isle of Man, Monday 29th August, the Senior, Classic Superbike races brought the curtain down on the 100th Anniversary Manx GP.
A lengthy day with various weather impacted delays, racing finally commenced at 4:30 PM.
Eventual Senior race winner Joe Yeardsley, runner-up Marcus ‘Spartacus’ Simpson both showcased why they are already considered amongst the leading IOM road racing talents.
At 6:40 PM, the reduced in distance three-lap RST Classic Superbike encounter gets underway.
Michael Dunlop goes onto make Mountain Course success no.33 ahead of David Johnson and reigning class Champion Rob Hodson.
And, just like that, that’s it for the 2023 Manx. As I walk back from the paddock in dimming light, I had a moment of thinking about the MGP’s current format.
The reduction of a two-week event to just nine days, still isn’t favourable, well that’s putting it mildly to various racers, sponsors, marshals, fans, pure road racing aficionados.
I’ve read, listened to the bulk of comments on social media, Manx Radio and it’s clear that some believe the Manx’s magic has gone.
I don’t think this, it remains a unique, worldwide popular event, cherished by those who participate in it.
But clearly, certain changes over recent times have given the event a more you could state corporate look.
Long term Manx GP exponent Colin Croft, summed up recently what the meet means to him.
“I love the Manx, I’m probably like a lot of people, preferred it the old way but if this is what we’ve got, got to go with it.
I don’t think the feel is quite the same anymore but obviously the main thing is been out there riding and all this round the paddock is secondary.
Hopefully it will carry on and go from strength to strength.”
I echo fully Colin’s words, the Manx forms an important bedrock in real road racing’s heritage, foundations, it must be protected, maintained, allowed to prosper, keep racing out of the shadows!
Photo credit: Mark Corlett
Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou