This year’s Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Southern 100 Road Races has attracted an encouraging number of Newcomers to the 2019 meeting.
No less than 15 Solo competitors and seven Sidecar crews plus one passenger have set themselves up in the Paddock to experience the unique 4.25-mile Colas Billown Course.
Eleven of the fifteen solo riders have entered on 600cc Supersport machines with the other four riding their 650cc Supertwins.
Brad Davey from Abingdon has a 748 Ducati twin, as does Andy Whale from Birmingham being the exception to the four-cylinder 600cc machines of the Supersport class. Prenton’s Michael Bates has a Yamaha; Daniel Forbes from Leeds a Suzuki. Another Yamaha rider is Kieran Brockie from Northwich with Clitheroe’s Laurence Jones has his Suzuki with him.
Another Clitheroe rider Edward Hosker will be on a Yamaha as will Llangefni man Geoffrey Lunn. Both Portland’s Craig Howton and Telford’s Jason Wilkes have Kawasaki machines at their disposal, whilst furthest travelled newcomer Xavier Denis from France has brought his 600cc Honda with him.
Frenchman Xavier Denis has a second outing on a 650 Kawasaki, as does Christchurch rider Jack Petrie and Wakefield’s Oliver Dean, whilst Neil Mason from Shildon prefers a 650 Suzuki.
The combined 250cc / 650cc Supertwin race will see five ‘250’s’ one of which will be Ripley’s Bradley Wilson.
In the damp conditions on Monday evening, Xavier Denis topped the Newcomers only practice session with a lap at 96.107mph, followed by Michael Bates ay 90.052mph and Daniel Forbes at 89.657mph.
The seven sidecar crews are Michael Kirkup and passenger Ario Brown who come from Stanley and Woodall Spa; Richard Hackey and Dave Ryder from Doncaster and Blackburn; Shaun and Ben Chandler from Blackburn.
Close neighbours John Lowther and Robert Child from Scunthorpe and Lincoln. Another Scunthorpe resident Phil Gravel passengers for Maryport’s Graham Hodgson.
Michael Russell has added an extra wheel and passenger Tom Bryant to ride a Shelbourne Suzuki in their debut rides.
Local brothers Ryan and Callum Crowe also make the Billown debut, but not non their usual Triumph engine out, this time having 600cc Yamaha power at their disposal.
The Belgian passenger Newcomer is Frank Claeys who is with French lady driver Estelle LeBlond.
The Newcomers only Sidecar practice saw Estelle LeBlond and Frank Claeys top the list with a lap of 91.633mph from John Lowther / Robert Child with a lap of 89.852mph and Shaun and Michael Russell and Tom Bryant lapping at 86.484mph.