An already congested Manx Grand Prix programme will include an extra race for 2024 with the return of the Junior Classic, writes John Watterson.

Manx Motorcycle Club yesterday confirmed the schedule which will get underway on Sunday, August 18 with five consecutive days of qualifying ahead of an expanded six-race schedule spread across the bank holiday weekend.

Racing will begin on Friday, August 23 with the Lightweight MGP featuring the ever-popular two-stroke machines, and the Classic Senior – brought forward from its previous Saturday slot.

Saturday, August 24 will begin with the three-lap Classic Junior, which returns to the race programme for the first time since 2019.

Last run under the Classic TT banner, the class is home to smaller capacity 350cc bikes. Past winners included Michael Dunlop, Lee Johnston, Michael Rutter, Jamie Coward, and Dominic Herbertson.

The event’s reintroduction comes after a period of consultation with the race organiser and representatives from throughout the classic racing fraternity in an effort to bolster the entry and ensure the long-term viability of historic racing at the Manx following a depleted entry for the Classic Senior at the 2022 event.

It is envisaged that a dedicated race for the popular Junior machines will attract more competitors and team owners to the event, providing another outing for period bikes.

The second day of racing action will conclude with the four-lap Junior Manx Grand Prix for Supertwin machines.

The 2024 event will culminate on Monday, Aug 26 with the headline Senior MGP and Classic Superbike races, both scheduled to be held over a four-lap distance.

In addition to confirming the racing schedule for 2024, Manx MCC has also announced that there will be further recognition for performances by amateur competitors in the Lightweight, Classic Junior, Classic Senior and Classic Superbike events.

Similar to the Classic TT, entrants will be classified with either TT or Clubman status. Competitors who have entries accepted for the 2024 TT will be determined as TT, while those outside of that criteria will be classified as Clubman and will be presented with a specific set of awards.

It is a testing time for the club, which has been tasked with a target of increasing arrival figures for the MGP by 1,000 per year over the next five-year period.

Provisional schedule 2024 MGP: Sunday, August 18 to Friday, August 23 inclusive - qualifying; Friday (Aug 23) - Lightweight MGP, three laps and Classic Senior MGP, four laps; Saturday (Aug 24) - Classic Junior MGP, three laps; Junior MGP, four laps; Monday (Aug 26) Senior MGP and Classic Superbike, four laps.