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HomeIsle of Man TT and Other RoadsSmith tops Seniors as leader boards tighten at MGP 2022.

Smith tops Seniors as leader boards tighten at MGP 2022.

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Smith tops Seniors as leader boards tighten at MGP 2022.

Friday evening began bright and sunny, but cloud slowly edged in from the west making it dark quite early. Conditions were generally good on track and a decent sized crowd was gathered at the Gooseneck to watch what proved to be a very busy practice session for MGP 2022. The Superbikes and MGP seniors were first on track, led away by Michael Dunlop and Michael Rutter. Dunlop turned off the course at Glen Vine and returned to the paddock on the back roads. He was able to start well after the others had all left and the GSXR looked super as Michael swept around the Gooseneck on it.

Rutter was first to the Gooseneck; closely followed by Davo Johnson, Ryan Kneen and Phil Crowe. The drainage channel on the inside of the bend is as close as you can be to the machines on the course – and still be perfectly safe. The action was again frenetic with riders eager to maximise the opportunity for testing race settings. There were some good passing manoeuvres to keep the crowd amused and a near miss for James Reveley who was too fast in and saved it with his knee.

The Senior MGP times were once again led by Stephen Smith at 119.442mph; he will start as favourite; but may not have it all his own way. David McConnachy, Victor Lopez Santos, and Chris cook were all over 117mph. for once Paul Cassidy was not the fastest newcomer; that honour went Almaric Blanc at 113.429mph, most impressive. With Smith, Williams and McConnachie having lapped at over 119mph during the week and Daniel Ingham, Victor Lopez Santos and Chris Cook all over 117mph this race should be a cracker.

The Superbike speeds were very close; Michael Dunlop was quickest at 124.676mph on the Suzuki; but Davo Johnson, Rob Hodson and Craig Neve were also over 124mph on their Kawasakis. Ryan Kneen lapped at 123.611mph and Nathan Harrison at 122.911mph; a local podium finisher is a distinct possibility. The Lightweight leader board has tightened at the top; Jim Hind was once again the fastest, at 117.488mph, but Mike Browne was hot his heels at 116.917mph on the LayLaw Yamaha. Mike is one of those riders who goes under the radar; he is very fast on the watch but like Hailwood does not look to rapid on track. The old master, Ian Lougher was third fastest; this from a man who won one the greatest TT Lightweights races in 1990; when he edged out the late great Steve Hislop, setting a lap record that stood for most of the next decade.

The Senior Classic leader board was, for once, not topped by John McGuinness; he was a lowly (for him) 6th at 106.7mph. Topping the charts were the Davies Yamahas of Lee Johnston and Dominic Herbertson at 108.410mph and 108.114mph respectively. With six riders having lapped at over 107mph and Jamie Coward capable of 110mph on the Norton this race will not be the cakewalk for John that seemed likely earlier in the week.

The raucous Juniors were led during the evening by Victor Lopez Santos at 114.894mph; just ahead of the ever consistent Jamie Williams at 114.575mph. For once Eoin O’Siochru was not fastest newcomer, that honour went to Martin Morris at 106.564mph. The top six are very close on times for this class any of Santos, Williams, Francesco Curinga, Andrea Majola, Dan Ingham and Andrea Majola could pull of the win.

As expected; it has been announced that the practice and racing scheduled for Friday afternoon has been cancelled due to the forecast bad weather. It is doubtful that the evening contingency session can be run. It appears likely that the organizers will have to take advantage of Sunday’s contingency provisions; if the full programme is to be completed.



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