Another disrupted practice session for TT 2014

Sidecar newcomer Ewan Walker and passenger Dicky Gale from Colby came off at Milntown

Sidecar newcomer Ewan Walker and passenger Dicky Gale from Colby came off at Milntown

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For the third evening in a row, TT practice was red flagged as the disrupted start to the meeting continued.

Thursday evening’s session was stopped at around 6.45pm because of a civilian emergency in the Braddan area unconnected with the racing.

However, unlike the previous nights, the session did resume only to be delayed again when sidecar newcomer Ewan Walker and passenger Dicky Gale from Colby came off at Milntown. Both were airlifted to Noble’s Hospital, Walker suffering a broken pelvis. Gale was discharged from hospital later that night.

Conditions for the fourth qualifying session were again cool and overcast with damp roads reported from Guthrie’s to Kate’s Cottage.

Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson opted to only send out the F2 sidecars, and Supersport and Lightweight machines but, with conditions improving as the evening wore on, a late lap by Michael Dunlop of 124.537mph saw him top the Supersport times.

The sidecars got the action underway at 6.27pm with Dave Molyneux/Patrick Farrance first away followed by Ben and Tom Birchall, Tim Reeves/Gregory Cluze and Conrad Harrison/Mike Aylott and conditions could be seen in the lap times with Reeves quickest at 106.527mph followed by Harrison at 105.324mph and Greg Lambert/Kenny Cole at 105.108mph.

Molyneux had stopped at Ballaugh with a punctured rear tyre, while John Holden/Andy Winkle also pulled in at Ballacraine.

However, the session was then stopped because of the civilian emergency.

When it re-started at 7.15pm the roads up on the Mountain had dried considerably and Holden put his early problems behind him to go to the top of the times with a lap of 111.586mph, followed by Birchall (111.280), Reeves (108.306), Carl Fenwick/Phil Knapton (107.586) and Frank Lelias/Paul Knapton (107.069).

The newcomers were also showing well with Alan Founds/Tom Peters and Dwight and Noel Beare lapping at 101.981 and 100.951 respectively.

Walker and Gale’s incident at Pinfold Cottage delayed the start of the solo session, which eventually got away at 8.05pm. Although the light was fading and the roads on the Mountain were still damp, they were drying all the time and the Supersport and Lightweight contenders were able to get three good laps in.

Guy Martin and Michael Dunlop led the field away followed by Michael Rutter and William Dunlop but Ian Hutchinson was out of luck and was soon reported as having retired due to an electrical problem.

Most riders opted for their Supersport machines but Lee Johnston, Keith Amor, David Johnson, Ivan Lintin and James Cowton all took out their Lightweight mounts.

William Dunlop was quickest on the opening lap with a speed of 120.683mph with Rutter, Josh Brookes and Gary Johnson also over the 120mph mark but Brookes improved further second time around to 122.011mph.

However, Bruce Anstey went slightly quicker with a lap of 122.290mph although team-mate John McGuinness’s lap of 118.039mph didn’t tell the whole story as he was the quickest rider up until Ramsey, the Morecambe rider easing off through the damp patches.

Right at the end of the session though, the leaderboard changed again with Michael Dunlop lapping at 124.530mph, the fastest Supersport lap of the week, with Dean Harrison only five seconds slower at 123.886mph. Conor Cummins and James Hillier also posted 120mph-plus laps.

In the Lightweight category, the SGS International/KMR Kawasaki machines of Keith Amor and Ryan Farquhar were fastest, with the duo lapping at 116.206 and 115.593mph respectively as they circulated together for much of the second lap.

Jamie Hamilton was also on the pace at 114.212mph and following him, in quick succession, were Gary Johnson (113.843), Ivan Lintin (113.478) and Dean Harrison (113.062). Manx GP winner Michael Russell lapped at an impressive 112.508mph to place seventh on the leaderboard.

Due to the disrupted qualifying during the week this evening’s session will now see Superbikes, Supersport and Superstock machines out between 6.20pm and 8pm, Sidecars between 8.05-8.35pm and the TT Zero qualifying between 8.40-8.55.

Racing starts tomorrow, Saturday, 11am with the six-lap Dainese Superbike Race. The first sidecar race of the week takes place at 2pm.

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