DEAN Osborne and Dean Harrison set the paces for the Manx Grand Prix and Classic TT as the big bikes were finally let loose for the first time since Saturday.
While Osborne was a mere 15s off the 120mph mark as he led the MGP runners, Harrison, who led the first session of the fortnight, clocked a 121mph lap to top the Classic times this evening.
Damp patches still riddled the course as riders hit the track just after 6:20pm, but event bosses deemed the circuit fit for two-wheeled action as riders were sent down Bray Hill with warnings of where they’d find wet Tarmac.
Event favourite Harrison wasted no time getting up to speed as he set the pace on his first lap aboard his Kawasaki in the Classic Superbike ranks at 120.638mph, leading Manxman Andy Dudgeon and Ireland’s Derek Sheils at 118.260 and 117.214mph, respectively.
But it was hard luck for a number of early retirees including Dan Cooper, Joey Thompson, Ian Lougher, Davey Todd, Paul Owen and last night’s leader Dan Sayle as they scrambled to get back to the pits in time to get back out on track.
While none of the Classic Superbike runners could outdo Harrison or even break 120, Austrian Horst Saiger slotted into the second quickest spot at 119.457, with Sheils upping his pace on his second lap at 118.975mph before Harrison clocked a 121.523 after a few adjustments on his ZXR750.
Adam McLean set the pace in the Lightweight Classic class at 111.929mph with Michael Sweeney just behind at 110.555mph and while McLean turned it up a notch with a 114.471 on his next lap, it was still slower than his pace from Saturday: 114.740mph. Padgett’s Honda man Lee Johnston later split the top two with a 111.222.
Manxman Osborne clocked the fastest first lap in the MGP Junior practice at 116.007mph, with Darryl Tweed’s 115.766 and Andy Farrell’s 114.351 putting them second and third in category while Brendan Fargher clocked a 114.715 on his GSXR750 to lead the Senior class.
Fargher broke into the 115s to go even faster on his next lap but Damian Horan beat him to a 116.325 to lead the Seniors. Meanwhile, Osborne scorched to a 118.466 to lead the MGP runners outright, well clear of Farrell’s second lap of 116.460 which put him second on the timesheets.
The Newcomers A pace was set by Mike Browne at 109.141mph, with Steven Haddow less than two seconds adrift and Nathan Harrison just over 10s off the lead at 108.249mph.
But Browne and Thomas Maxwell made it an Ireland 1-2 as they both broke into the 110mph bracket along with Haddow, all three lapping within less than 5.2s of each other.
John McGuinness led the Paton 1-2 in the Senior Classic category at 106.958mph, nearly 30s clear of lady racer Maria Costello at 104.642, before the TT Legend set a 109.663 on his flying lap to lead the session comfortably, while Jamie Coward nudged Costello back to third with his 105.123.
Yorkshireman Coward was the quickest of the Junior Classic riders at 101.744mph, leading McLean at 97.037 and Dan Cooper at 96.901.
Last year’s Lightweight MGP runner-up Andy Farrell led the 650 twin action at 111.794, just a few seconds clear of Victor Lopez Santos’ 111.582 and David Lumsden’s 111.458.
Daniel Ingham topped the Ultra Lightweight MGP order as the only racer in class over 100mph at 102.016, while Tom Snow pipped fellow RS125 rider Nigel Moore for second in session at 97.640 to 97.539.
Irishman Barry Sheehan went quickest of the Newcomers B contenders at 102.912 from Colombian Daniel Fernandez at 101.408 and Michael Rees at 101.264.
*Main and other side images: Ellan Vannin Images
*McLean image: Kevin Clague