2014 Season part 5

SUNDAY 27th July 2014

The weather forecasters were spot on with the outlook for the July Jurby Motodrome meeting. The rain arrived, as predicted, in the afternoon. The Track conditions worsened as the afternoon wore on. Centre Championship leader Ryan Kneen was not in action, due to the fact his race engine was in pieces and the upcoming Ulster Grand Prix was the main priority. This meant Glenn Harrison had a chance to seize the day.


Live timing became available to the commentary team for the first time in a number of seasons. This was downloaded and thanks to Matt Mylchreest’s portable hot spot smart phone, Paul Copparelli and Peter Mylchreest were able to give the riders’ times live during the morning practice, which seemed to be a great improvement for all. “Rockin” Dave Roberts made a surprise appearance on air and Curly Batty, who now seems to be as mad as the rest of the team, was doing a very passable impression of the witch from the wizard of Oz while watching a small tornado passing over the Bretney housing estate. However, later in the day, disaster struck as the amplifier stopped working. After all attempts to revive the four year old electrical machine, it was declared expired. The rain was by now heavy and the task of removing the speakers from their mounts was undertaken on Wobbly Step Ladder. With no racing at Jurby in the upcoming month of August the speakers needed to return to the safety of Onchan. Radio Faasaag’s day was done and the team departed after their traditional lap of the circuit. The water was now starting to pool in places, not good conditions.


With the live timing ongoing the practice sessions became more interesting. This service allowed the Radio Faasaag crew to give a running update as the riders lapped the circuit, and the fastest competitor was known to the Jurby Faithful before the rider had turned into the paddock at the session’s end. Ashley Blake crashed heavily, performing the very manoeuvre of turning into the paddock, the bike went end over end and cartwheeled down the track. Thankfully the bike was in a much worse state than the rider. However, this ruled the promising Port St Mary rider out of the day’s proceedings

The conditions changed from the opening Centre Championship round, at the start of the day’s racing in the dry, to the second round on a very wet track. The opening round saw Glenn Harrison “The Quayside Crusader” take his fourth win of the 2014 season. The Onchan rider was pleased with his victory over Ryan Cringle and it was indeed a good birthday present for his long-time sponsor Chris Preston who was there to see the win. Callum Collister was third but with his mind firmly fixed on the up-coming Manx Grand Prix, was, by his own admission just getting some time on the bike.

The second outing for the Centre Championship riders saw only Nine riders complete the race as the rain continued to fall. This time it was Ryan Cringle, fresh from T.V. stardom after his win at Oulton park, who won the race mastering the conditions and denying Glenn Harrison of a double. A returning Rory Parker was third, back on the pace after a lengthy lay-off following a bad wrist injury a few seasons ago. Fourth was another rider on the come- back trail, Andrew Dudgeon.


A low turnout of sidecars has sadly been the norm for a few seasons. The July meeting was to follow this pattern. Race one, the Centre Round, saw four outfits on track. First Karl Bennett/Lee Cain led and as the commentator was heard to say how well they were going, they stopped with mechanical problems. Next Brian Kelly and passenger Jason O’Connor took up the leading position. And “The most decorated pilot on the Airfield” followed Karl Bennett’s lead and retired! This left current centre champion Craig Melvin, with stand-in passenger for the day, Julia Canipa, to take the win from the only other outfit circulating – Nigel Smith/Chris McGaghan. The remaining two races saw only these crews competing and the result was the same.


The two 600 club events were wins for Ryan Cringle. The first race, held in dry conditions, had Ryan Cringle take the lead for the start. He was chased by Callum Collister but the “Bullet” prevailed and took the win. Micheal Evans was third, and again, the rider known as “The Santon Slayer”, was having a good day at the Jurby Motodrome. There were 17 finishers in the dry first outing for the 600’s. In race two, down came the rain and on a wet track Andrew Dudgeon was away at the front and as some American chap might say he was “hauling ass!”, but as there were no anal-obsessed Americans present it was firmly stated he had gained an impressive advantage over his rivals. However Ryan Cringle, in a stunning piece of race-craft, left his bid for victory until the last lap. Ryan took the advantage after a move on the brakes at Castle corner.

Taubman is the man

John Taubman has certainly found a new lease of life in the Steel frame 600 class this season. The 2011 Class Champion was riding fast and hard in both outings of the S.T.T. Steel Frame and Classic classes.

The Douglas rider won the opening event holding his advantage over the up and coming Super-Twin class men. Dean Osborne took the win in this class from Nathan Harrison. However with a second place finish the Steel Frame Championship looked to be heading the way of the Onchan steam train driver Eddie Venn as he was steadily amassing championship points.

The performance of Ian Raybon on his 125 Honda was a joy to watch as he circulated very quickly on the little two stroke machine, almost oblivious, it seemed, to the wet track conditions and put himself on the Metaphorical Podium in second place after race two.


Callum Collister took both 650 wins in the 650/400 event, each time beating his Martin Bullock Manx Motorsport team mate Dean Osborne. In the 400 category it was not the usual figure of David Kennington who was victorious. Instead it was the flying Ian Raybon on his little Honda who won both times out. The rain was falling steadily during the second race and only 9 riders finished the race.


The full score of wins in the Clubman Class continued for the man from Santon, Michael Evans. He took both wins in the rain. The winning margin was 27 seconds over his nearest rival Marc Colvin in race one. The gap was still an impressive 17 seconds in the final race of the day, again over the Peel rider Colvin. Peter Wilkinson was third in Race One for the Clubmen, which saw the lowest number of finishers of the day, only six riders. Jamie Willaims took the third spot in the second race and the rider known as “The Ram” was very pleased with his wet weather mastery of the airfield, which was by this point fast becoming a swimming pool.


A number of riders are coming through the ranks. In the twin class the younger brother of Glenn Harrison, Nathan, is making great strides in his racing. Choosing to go down the Super-Twin route the young man from Onchan is regularly on the pace. The popular Steel Frame class has Lewis Parkinson on his all-white 600 Honda moving into point scoring positions. Peel man Marc Colvin is pushing hard too. The club scene is in a healthy state. Only the sidecars seem down in numbers, on an island which has produced some great international competitors through the years – the Oates brothers, Eric Bregazzi, Nick Crowe and of course, Dave Molyneux.The grids are empty at the Jurby venue. Prehaps the cost of racing a modern outfit is a factor.

A rider who was not racing at the top end of the field recently told me they had not heard our commentary at Jurby but added “I bet you say I am really slow”. I can say anyone who puts on a set of leathers and goes racing will never be called slow by us. Having done a bit of racing in my younger days I know what it takes.