The grandstand reverberated to the sound of La Marseillaise for the first time in the long history of Mountain Course racing on the Isle of Man when Frenchman Pierre-Yves Bian, riding the Martimotos Yamaha, won today’s Manx Grand Prix Newcomers A Race, following illustrious previous race winners including Ian Hutchinson, Robert Dunlop, Michael Dunlop, Carl Fogarty, Phillip McCallen and Ryan Farquhar.
Conditions were described as perfect for the rescheduled Manx Grand Prix Newcomers Race, the opening race in the 2019 Manx Grand Prix meeting, which featured three concurrent classes – ‘A’ for predominantly 600cc machines, ‘B’ mainly SuperTwins and ‘C’ for Ultra Lightweight bikes.
The race – 4 laps for ‘A’ and ‘B’ competitors and 3 for ‘C’ class riders - included a compulsory pit stop at the end of lap 2 for all competitors.
After a thirty minute delay to remove a vehicle from the course at Kirk Michael, the race finally got underway at 12.45.
Start positions in the race were defined according to qualifying speeds up to Saturday 24th August and Bian started first having set the fastest time – 115.550mph – in Saturday’s qualifying session. He was followed off the line by Samuel Mousley with Michael Mace third away from Glencrutchery Road.
Bian established a commanding lead of almost six seconds at the opening timing point at Glen Helen from Mousley with Wales’s Alun Brooks, who qualified fourth fastest, almost two seconds ahead of Mace with David Brook less than a second back in fifth. Bian extended his lead to 11 seconds at Ballaugh Bridge but Brookes had closed the gap to second placed rider Mousley to less than a second.
Bian’s opening lap of 116.16mph, his fastest ever lap, gave him a twenty-six second lead over Brooks with Mousley a further 2.5 seconds back in the final podium place. Mace (1123.67mph) remained in fourth place with Lewis Blackwell (111.67mph) moving into the top five at the grandstand at the end of the opening lap.
Mousley was five seconds quicker than on the opening sector of the second lap between the Grandstand and Glen Helen to move into second place ahead of Brooks with Mace and Bramwell remaining fourth and fifth respectively.
That remained the race order coming into the pits at the end of the second lap to refuel with Bian retaining the lead with a second lap of 115.39mph and a pit time of 1.08.282 and by the end of the third lap decisive gaps had opened up between the top five riders.
Bian lead at the front of the field by over 35 seconds from Mousley with Mace a further 23 seconds back in the final podium place but fifteen seconds ahead of Brooks in fourth with Bramwell fifth, almost two minutes behind the race leader.
Bian duly came home a comfortable winner although a last lap charge from Mousley, who posted the fastest lap of the race – 116.187mph - saw the Plymouth man close the gap to the race leader to sixteen seconds with Alun Brooks taking the final podium place and Mace and Bramwell completing the top five.
In the concurrent ‘B’ Race Italian Andrea Majola, riding a Paton, was the fastest qualifier and had established a strong lead by Ramsey of thirty seconds on the opening lap but was reported by the Manx Radio commentary team at Ramsey hairpin to have a misfiring engine.
Majola was duly confirmed as a retirement at the Gooseneck which left Hexham rider Mark Kirkby as the new race leader with an opening lap of 104.472, over 2 minutes ahead of Northern Ireland’s Robert Cairns with Pickering based rider David Stiff a further fifteen seconds back in third but comfortably secure in the final podium place over thirty seconds ahead of Russell Dodds.
That remained the race order to the chequered flag with Kirkby posting four consecutive 100mph+ laps, the only ones in the race, to win by over six minutes from Cairns with Stiff clinching the final ‘B’ podium place.
In the shorter 3 lap ‘C’ race Liverpool’s Andrew Jackson posted three consecutive 100+mph laps – 110.207, 100.888 and 100.667 – again the only 100mph laps in the race to win by over a minute from Yeadon rider Adrian Skaife with Exeter’s Pete Gibson third.
MGP NEWCOMER A RACE
Pierre-Yves Bian Martimotos.com Yamaha 113.784mph/ 1:19.34.945
Samuel Mousley University of Wales Yamaha 113.390mph/ 1:19:51.514
Alun Brooks Brooks Boyz Racing Honda 111.806mph/ 1:20:59.419
MGP NEWCOMER B RACE
Mark Kirkby Emmerson Timber Kawasaki 103.278mph/ 1:27:40.679
Robert Cairns L R Racing Kawasaki 96.521mph/ 1:33:48.958
David Stiff Motul Suzuki 94.359mph/ 1:35:57.921