After two thorough soakings on Monday and Tuesday, the diamond jubilee Southern 100 eventually fired into life for real on Wednesday evening.
And what a series of races it produced with three decided by a margin of less than one second.
Guy Martin and Michael Dunlop slugged it out in their BMWs in the Ellan Vannin Fuels Senior in which Martin eventually got the verdict by a mere nine 100ths of a second.
Dean Harrison, who had crashed the same Mar-Train Yamaha the evening before, did well to finish third in front of local man Dan Kneen and the Padgett’s Honda.
Laxey’s Billy Redmayne, a newcomer to the Southern 100, was a fine eighth on a 750 Bullock Suzuki.
Ivan Lintin took up where he left off at the TT with a win on the 650 Kawasaki in the Mike Kerruish Plumbing 250/650 race.
He was shadowed by James Cowton in the early stages, but eventually eased clear to win the six-lapper by a margin of 4.6 seconds, with Jamie Coward third, Michael Russell fourth and Ramsey’s Andrew Dudgeon the first non-Kawasaki rider in an impressive fifth on Rob Brew’s 650 Suzuki.
The Radcliffe Butchers 600cc race saw a terrific five-way dice at the head of the field in the early laps, with Russ Mountford, Dan Kneen, James Cowton, Dean Harrison,
Ivan Lintin and Seamus Elliott all within 1.3 seconds of one another. In the latter stages, Cowton slid off unhurt at Castletown Corner and Harrison took a slight lead into the final lap. He appeared to be in control with a little over one mile remaining, but was then reported touring at Great Meadow.
Delighted Ulsterman, Elliott took the win on his Yamaha by a fraction over half a second from Mountford’s Triumph, with Kneen grabbing another good finish in third ahead of Lintin and Jamie Coward.
Redmayne and Dudgeon registered two more good finishes in sixth and eighth respectively, with Paul Smyth 10th.
The Ace Hire and Sales sidecar race was equally as thrilling with three crews all battling it out for the duration.
Former champions Ian and Carl Bell got their noses in front early on after a fast start by Tim Reeves and first-time Billown passenger Mark Wilkes.
With John Holden and Dan Sayle making taking watching brief in third, the Bells moved into a 0.15 of a second lead at one-third distance, only to be edged out again by Reeves and Wilkes in the final of a real hum-dinger.
At the line, Reeves and Wilkes had 0.13 of a second in hand on Ian and Carl Bell with Holden and Sayle at another 1.7s in third.
Port St Mary resident Pete Alton was sixth with Keith Brotherton, while Darren Hope and Paul Bumfrey were the best all-local crew in eighth.
Alistair Howarth of Millom, Cumbria won the Station Garage 125/400 race by a country mile on his 400 Yamaha.
Taking an average of almost six seconds each lap out of his closest rivals, he won by a huge margin of 31 seconds from Adrian Kershaw of Stockport. Seasoned Manxman
Dave Corlett of Sulby did well to defend the final podium place in the closing stages after a late challenge from Paul Robinson (a nephew of Joey and Robert Dunlop’s) on the 125 Aprilia.
Paul Smyth had another good ride for fifth, with Dave Taylor of Ballasalla seventh.
Racing concludes today, Thursday, with roads shut between from 9.50am to 12.15pm and 1pm and 5.30pm.
Round-up of all the final day’s action in Tuesday’s Examiner.