THE spotlight of this weekend’s Manx Two Day Trial is firmly on the sidecar class which is celebrating its Golden Jubilee.
While the two-day as a whole has formed the centre-piece of the Manx Grand Prix Festival for the best part of 60 years, it would seem likely that this edition could well be the last to take the prime middle slot over the Bank Holiday Trial as moves are afoot to regenerate the festival as a whole with the emphasis likely to be on classic machines (racing and road) from 2013 onwards.
Although not confirmed as yet, it would appear that the Manx Two Day Trial would move to the final weekend of the festival.
But that’s all 12 months ahead and nothing, as I said, has been confirmed as yet.
Entries continue to hold up well for the trial with 210 entered for the solos (about the same as 2011) and an increase to 39 for the sidecar event.
Only around 10 per cent of the solos will tackle the national ‘hard’ route, with 2011 winner Dan Thorpe likely to start as favourite on the 300 JST Gas Gas. Others likely to feature strongly include Phil Disney, Dan Clark, Ricky Wiggins, Nathan Wrigglesworth, Ben Wibberly, Josh Woods, plus local riders Josh Brain, Chris Madigan, Juan Knight and Barry Kinley on an ageing air-cooled 250 Yamaha.
The clubman class is the usual lottery with any number of riders able to challenge for honours. Last year’s winner Graham Tales will be looking to defend his title but with Darren Wasley, Regaby’s Nigel Sharp and many others breathing down his neck it will be a close battle.
The solos will get underway at 8am on a 42-mile lap round the southern half of the island on Saturday, featuring 40 sections, followed on Sunday by a 41-mile tour of the north with a further 38 sections.
The bumper entry of 39 outfits will take to the start line at 8.30am on Saturday morning when stalwart campaigner Derry Kissack will make a cameo appearance on his 1967 HD BSA 500 special.
At the sharp end, the usual battle for honours is likely to take place between the two Robins - Morewood and Luscombe - who collectively have been victorious in no fewer than 22 of the 47 sidecar events to have taken place between 1962 and the present day.
They will certainly not have things all their own way with several other crews likely keep the pressure on including Rupert and Chris Kimber, Tony Crabtree and Jamie Howe, plus local crews Adrian/Aaron Smith and Gary Flowers/Antony Smith who have been setting the pace in the British championship this year.
A mammoth sidecar route containing 99 sections over the two days should provide a real test for the crews, in what many consider to be the biggest and best event of the year.
Competitors and observers signing on will take place on Friday evening at the Villa Marina from 6.30pm.
On Sunday afternoon from 4pm there will be a celebration gathering at the Villa’s Colonnade Suite to celebrate the golden jubilee of the sidecar class.
Derry Kissack has compiled a special book to mark the 50th anniversary, featuring numerous photographs and stories from across the years. Copies of the book will be available at the function, alternatively they can be obtained from the Lexicon bookshop or Road and Track Motorcycles in Douglas, or directly from Derry himself on 07624 472570.
The weekend will be rounded off by the prize presentations on Sunday evening at the Villa Marina’s Royal Hall, with doors opening from 8.30pm.
Main vantage points (approximate times of first machines)
Solos - Saturday: 8.05pm Port-e-Chee; 8.40am onwards Ballavitchell, Bawshen Gulley and Kings Forest (seven sections total); 9.50am Old Stoney Mountain Quarry (three); from 10.16am South Barrule Gulley and Quarry (seven sections total); 12.15pm Ballaspit Farm (three); 12.45pm Carnagrie (two); 2.20 The Stacks (two); 2.50 Pooil Vaaish Farm (two); 3.50 Knock Froy (three). Sunday - 8.05am Summer Hill Glen (two); 8.40 Axnfell Plantation (three); 9.40 Dhoon Quarry (four); 10.25 Snubby’s Glen (three); 10.55 Ballure Plantation (four); 11.45 Glen Duff Quarry (three); 1.15pm Brandywell Banks (four); 1.50 Injebreck Gulley (two); 2.50 Sir George’s Bridge Quarry (two); 3.20 The Arches (two).
Sidecars - Saturday: 8.40am Larkhill (three sections); 9.50 Lower Ballacottier (five); 11.15 Ballacrooin (three); 12.45pm Glen Roy Mines (four); 2.15
Booilshuggel (three); 2.50 onwards Sir George’s Bridge/Bim’s Field (nine). Sunday - 10.20am Eairy Beg Plantation (four); 10.55 Lhergy Dhoo (four); 1.35 Glen Rushen Plantation (three); 2.10 Water Trough Plantation (four); 3.15 Chibbanagh Plantation (four); 4pm Villa Marina gardens (two).
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Weather for Isle of Man
Thursday 23 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 10 C
Wind Speed: 33 mph
Wind direction: North west
Temperature: 7 C to 14 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North