Ireland’s Thomas Maxwell followed some of the most famous names in road racing history including Ian Hutchinson, Robert Dunlop, Michael Dunlop, Carl Fogarty, Phillip McCallen and Ryan Farquhar to win the rescheduled MGP Newcomers A Race. Welshman Michael Rees took the honours in the ‘B’ Race after a thrilling duel with James Hind that saw the lead change hands six times.
After the Race Maxwell performed the first ‘burn out’ of the week in the winner’s enclosure and revealed that he had some fuel worries towards the end of the race:
“I’d eased off over the last two laps to conserve fuel and I was getting different pit boards and I was really nervous when it went down to ten seconds. The bike felt down on power so it might need a bit of an engine rebuild.”
A dramatic Newcomers A Race, in which two race leaders were forced to retire, was ultimately decided by a thirty second pit lane speeding infringement that cost Steven Haddow a potential race win.
Ahead of the race, which got away on time at 12.15, Clerk of the Course advised competitors that visibility was excellent all around the course although there were odd damp patches under the trees and cross winds across the Mountain section of the course.
The race was started by local photographer and archivist Bill Snelling, who participated in the first MGP Newcomers Race forty years ago.
Ireland’s Mike Browne, the fastest qualifier, was first away in the Newcomers A category followed by Thomas Maxwell and The Isle of Man’s Nathan Harrison, with riders leaving the line in the order that they qualified.
Browne was first on the road to Glen Helen on the opening lap and was almost four seconds ahead of second placed man Harrison on the clock who in turn was five seconds in front of Maxwell who was holding the final podium place. Haddow, from Scotland, and York based James Field completed the top five.
Race leader Browne looked to be dropping time through the Sulby speed trap and shortly after was confirmed as a retirement at Sulby Bridge which left Harrison as the new leader from Maxwell with Haddow moving into the top three.
Harrison’s opening lap of 119.369 gave him a lead of over ten seconds from Maxwell with Haddow a further twenty seconds back holding the final podium place. However, Harrison was then reported as a retirement at on the run in to Kirk Michael on the second lap which put Maxwell in pole position ahead of Haddow with Field up into third.
There was drama at the end of the second lap with Haddow’s (114.554) putting him only six seconds behind race leader Maxwell (112.996) but he then promptly, picked up a thirty second penalty for a pit speed infringement which left Maxwell out on his own at Glen Helen with a 38 second lead over Haddow with Field a further 23 seconds further back in third.
Haddow had cut Maxwell’s lead to 24 seconds at the end of the third lap and the gap was only fourteen seconds at Ramsey but Maxwell was able to hold on to take the chequered flag by over 12 seconds with a last lap of 115.083 to Haddow’s 116.118 with Field securing the final podium place.
In the concurrent MGP Newcomers B Race, Ireland’s Barry Sheehan was first away followed by Colombian Daniel Fernandez and Japanese rider Yoshihiro Kishimo. Michael Rees, who qualified fifth, was the fastest to Glen Helen six seconds ahead of Sheehan with Jack Fowler third half a second off second place. James Hind, riding a 250 Honda, and Paul O Rourke completed the top five.
Hind was moving through the field though and by Ballaugh he was up to second and moved to the head of the field by Ramsey. Hind’s opening lap of 105.621 gave him a 2.3 second lead from Rees (105.429) with Fowler still third but now almost twenty seconds behind the second placed rider.
Rees was back in front again by Glen Helen on the second lap but the lead switched again with Hind in front at Ballaugh with a nine second swing to lead by seven seconds. Rees came back at him and was race leader by 3.4 seconds coming in to the pits at the end of the second lap with a lap of 107.062 to Hind’s 106.572.
Sheehan was back in the podium places ahead of Fowler at Glen Helen on the third lap but was almost thirty-seven seconds down on race leader Hind, who was back in front, seven seconds ahead of Rees, largely thanks to a faster pit stop at the end of the second lap.
However, it was all change again at the end of the third lap with Rees moving back in front of Hind by three seconds. Sheehan consolidated third place with a fourteen second gap to third placed man Fowler, but he was almost a minute down on the leading pair.
Rees powered on on the last lap and, with Hind dropping time as well, an elated Rees clinched the win with a last lap of 109.832 to win by almost 25 seconds from Hind (107.832) with Sheehan completing the podium. In the winner’s enclosure Rees revealed that it had been three years of work and sacrifices but that it was all worth it with the race win.
The podium presentations were carried out by 5 time TT race winner Brian Reid, who himself took part in that first MGP Newcomers Race in 1978 and, although he was a DNF in the ’78 Race, he went on to enjoy a hugely successful career.
MGP NEWCOMERS A RESULT:
Projects on Track
Royal Air Force Motor
MGP NEWCOMERS B RESULT:
Chris Barrett Transport
Game on Camps