John McGuinness and Dave Molyneux, both
multiple champions in the solo and sidecar classes respectively,
topped the leaderboard in tonight’s qualifying
session at the Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster
Energy. The pair, with 31 race wins between them both
posted early warnings to their rivals ahead of Saturday’s
first race day.
A dry, sunny evening met the competitors for Monday
evening’s practice session with conditions described
as good all around the course. Riders were again warned
of wet tar at Guthrie’s whilst the setting sun
would again cause a problem as the evening wore on.
The session was, of course, the first for the 600cc
and 1000cc machines as well as the majority of the leading
front runners and they were all keen to get their 2012
campaign underway although they had to wait an additional
20 minutes to allow marshals to get to their positions
around the 37.73 miles.
First away were Ian Mackman and Michael Dunlop followed
by Guy Martin, Ryan Farquhar, James Hillier and Cameron
Donald, all six on their Superbikes. Next to go were
Michael Rutter and John McGuinness, the former on his
Superstock bike. Dan Stewart, the returning Ian Hutchinson
for his first closed road lap since his 2010 exploits,
Dan Kneen, Adrian Archibald, Simon Andrews and Bruce
Anstey were also amongst the early runners.
Donald was the first man back at 125.069mph with Martin
alongside him on the road but slightly slower at 123.965mph.
Hillier was going well at 124.407mph with Farquhar on
123.125mph but McGuinness experienced problems, slowing
through the Ballaugh to Ramsey section, and his eventual
lap speed was a lowly 111.23mph. Meanwhile, Hutchinson
was getting back into the groove with a lap of 121.92mph
and the newcomers were also going well with James Storrar
at 106.97mph and Karl Harris at 106.23mph.
Donald and Martin went straight through as did Dunlop
and Hutchinson but Farquhar pulled in to make adjustments
whilst McGuinness went back out on his Superstock machine
as the Superbike was fixed. Hillier also switched to
his Superstock Kawasaki.
Donald increased his speed to 126.379mph with Martin
only improving slightly at 124.127mph. Dunlop was next
through at 123.871mph whilst Hutchinson also improved
to 123.025mph. Other good laps came from Gary Johnson,
123.78mph, and Simon Andrews on 122.25mph. The newcomers
were also getting dialled in with Lee Johnston the quickest
on 109.97mph although Storrar almost matched him at
109.50mph and Harris also close to the 110mph mark.
One man out of luck though was Mark Parrett, the former
Manx Grand Prix winner only getting as far as Parliament
Square on his opening lap although he managed to get
back to the pits and resume his session on his Supersport
Donald and Dunlop switched to their 600cc bikes and
the Wilson Craig Racing team-mates were immediately
on the pace, the duo lapping at 121.442 and 122.904
respectively, the latter comfortably the quickest in
the class. McGuinness, meanwhile, completed a lap on
his Padgetts Superstock Honda before returning to the
fray on the Honda TT Legends bike and he went second
quickest at 126.116mph.
The sun was causing a lot of problems for all of the
field and speeds were slightly down across all the classes
but Johnson, Farquhar, Dunlop, Donald and Martin again
put in laps in excess of 123mph whilst Kneen went third
quickest in the 600cc class. However, that man McGuinness
threw the gauntlet down and, with the session extended
to 8.05pm after the earlier delay, posted a final lap
of 128.267mph to move comfortably clear at the top of
the leaderboard. There were also quick laps late on
from Anstey (125.306) and Andrews (124.772) whilst Jamie
Hamilton went quickest of the newcomers towards the
end of the session with a speed of 112.66mph with Michael
Niblett second best at 111.17.
Manxman Conor Cummins sat out the session following
his hand injury sustained at the North West 200 but
the popular Tyco Suzuki rider advised that it was a
precautionary move and he is planning to get his 2012
TT campaign underway in tomorrow’s session.
At 8.10pm it was the turn of the sidecars to take to
the Mountain Course and Dave Molyneux/Patrick Farrance
again led the field away with John Holden/Andy Winkle,
Tim Reeves/Dan Sayle, Conrad Harrison/Mike Aylott and
Ben and Tom Birchall in hot pursuit. Sayle’s presence
was the big story of the day as he took over in the
chair with Reeves, Dipash Chauhan withdrawing due to
In the sidecars it was Molyneux who was quickest at
111.856mph followed by Reeves on 110.32, no mean feat
given that it was his first lap of the Mountain course
with Sayle. Molyneux was slightly slower on his second
lap whilst Reeves was slightly quicker with Harrison
also breaking the 110mph barrier. Glyn Jones/Richard
Murphy, (108.028), Dougie Wright/Martin Hull (106.292)
and Tony Baker/Fiona Baker-Millgan (105.030) completed
However, Jones/Murphy were reported to be involved
in an incident at Kepple Gate although both were described
as conscious when taken by airmed to Nobles Hospital.
The Birchall Brothers – Ben and Tom – were
involved in an incident at Brandywell and were reported
OK although they were also taken to Nobles Hospital.
Tomorrow’s session is scheduled to start at 18.20
with a Superbike/Superstock/Supersport session, followed
by a Supersport and Lightweight session at 19.05 and
sidecars scheduled to get away at 20.00.