MICHAEL Evans stamped his authority on the TT course with his second record-breaking win of the week in this afternoon’s Senior Manx Grand Prix.
Following a dominant victory in Wednesday’s Junior MGP race, the Manxman jumped aboard the Martin Bullock Motorsport Suzuki GSXR750 for a stab at the blue riband race of the fortnight, which was delayed by two hours due to fog on the Mountain.
When the weather finally cleared and racers were given the tap on the shoulder just after noon today, Evans did as he had done nearly all of practice week – he shot out of the gates and pulled out nearly six seconds over fellow 750 rider Barry Lee Evans, with Geordie Wayne Humble just two seconds further back.
But it was the story of the Evans boys again and as the two leaders passed the grandstand for the first of four laps, Michael shattered the standing start record and broke Malachi Mitchell-Thomas’s 2015 outright MGP lap record with a 122.657mph lap (18:27.383). Barry Lee crossed the line some six seconds behind on corrected time and Jamie Williams moved into third 25 seconds back.
And the Santon-based 24 year-old continued to pull away from his rival with a nearly 10-second lead over Barry Lee at Glen Helen, as Douglas native Williams fell further back in third but approaching the clutches of fourth-placed Dean Osborne and Joe Faragher in fifth.
Despite slowing down into the pits for his fuel stop at the end of lap two, Michael once again broke his own lap record with a 122.866mph lap as Barry Lee came into the pits nearly 11 seconds adrift but also inside Mitchell-Thomas’s record with a 122.344 of his own.
The leading duo were out of the pits with nearly identical stop times, but the Welshman dropped another three seconds to the Manxman as they came through Glen Helen for the penultimate time. Jurby ace Osborne moved into third nearly 48 seconds back on Barry Lee as Williams dropped to fourth.
While the two front-men maintained a 14-second gap throughout lap three, Williams closed on Osborne and brought his gap to the rostrum down to just 2.6 seconds as Ramsey.
But as the leading Evans came onto Glencrutchery road to begin his fourth and final lap, disaster struck for Barry Lee as a chain problem forced him into the pits, losing over 50 seconds before his team could remedy the issue and he was able to get back on track.
Amazingly, Barry Lee regained his composure and was back into the runner-up spot at Glen Helen, leading Osborne by 1.2 seconds and Williams by nearly 13, but still over 77 seconds down on Michael in the lead.
The PRF Racing rider fought regain round, but his rival’s 70+ second gap was too much to make up without a stroke of bad luck. Knowing he was comfortably in control of the race, Michael Evans cruised home for the Senior win with a new race record to boot as Barry Lee missed out by just over 60 seconds while Osborne completed the rostrum
“Unbelievable – I don’t know what’s going on,” Evans said. “The first lap didn’t feel great and I was a bit disappointed with myself, it didn’t feel quick but obviously that was as quick as i’ve gone.”
“Barry was pushing me and the boards were going, ‘6’, ‘5’, ‘4’. I just thought, ‘get through the first lap’… there was even a rabbit that ran across the road in front of me.”
“I got a board on the last lap that said ‘+ 78’ and I thought that couldn’t be right, did they mean ‘+ 7.8’? But yeah it was right. I think we could have had a 123mph lap, but the bike was moving around more than I would have liked so I didn’t try to push it.”
“I just want to say thanks to everyone on the course, I wanted to wave but I had to hold on!”
Retirements included Alan Brodie, Mike Norbury andd Joe Faragher.
Senior Manx Grand Prix top 10 (provisional)
- Michael Evans
- Barry Lee Evans
- Dean Osborne
- David Lumsden
- Jamie Williams
- Nick Anderson
- Glenn Harrison
- Darryl Tweed
- Darren Cooper
- Tom Robinson
*Main image: Ryan Crawley
*Side images: IOMTT