Rain and marshal shortage curtails opening practice at Classic TT

Practice on Saturday evening at the Classic TT was curtailed due to rain on the west of the Mountain Course. Picture: Dave Kneen/Pacemaker.
Practice on Saturday evening at the Classic TT was curtailed due to rain on the west of the Mountain Course. Picture: Dave Kneen/Pacemaker.
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Practice at the Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix has been hit by wet weather and a shortage of marshals.

The opening sessions on Saturday evening were delayed from 5.20pm in order to move marshals around the course, with further delays following after rain began to fall on the west side of the Mountain Course.

John McGuinness took the newcomers on their speed controlled lap. Picture: Dave Kneen/Pacemaker.

John McGuinness took the newcomers on their speed controlled lap. Picture: Dave Kneen/Pacemaker.

Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson initially elected to drop the faster Superbikes and Lightweight classic machines from the schedule but after a course inspection, the course was deemed too wet to continue.

However, the event newcomers did undertake their speed controlled lap behind 23-time TT winner John McGuinness, who was riding a 600cc Padgett’s Honda.

The organisers intended to take up the option of an additional qualifying session yesterday and an appeal was issued for qualified marshals to sign on, with early indications suggesting numbers were lower than required.

This, too, proved unsuccessful, with Clerk of the Course Thompson making an early call to cancel the session due to a lack of marshals.

He said: “The TTMA did an outstanding job yesterday (Saturday) to get marshals in place for last night’s first qualifying session, and I am very grateful to all of the marshals that turned out last night.

“Although the start of the session was delayed because we had to move a number of Marshals around the TT Course, we were thwarted by a shower of rain which severely affected the west coast of the Island.

“Last night, I made the decision that we would use this afternoon to run a full qualifying session, but having reviewed the marshalling numbers for today, it is very clear we will be 80+ Marshals short of the manning levels required for the TT Course, which is significantly below the number that we require.

“What I don’t want to do is close the road, get everyone in place, have everyone waiting and then find we can’t hold the qualifying session; so we have decided to give everyone plenty of notice and cancel today’s session and concentrate on getting marshal numbers in place for Monday night.”

Roads are due to close at 6pm this evening for the first qualifying session, which is due to get underway at 6.20pm with the Classic TT Superbikes/Lightweights and the MGP Senior/Juniors.

The Classic TT Seniors/Juniors and the MGP Lightweights/Ultra Lightweights will follow at 7.15pm with a separate MGP Newcomers practice at 7.45pm.

Roads due to open all around the course at approximately 8.30pm but no later than 9pm.