The Isle of Man’s Nathan Harrison won a dramatic Mylchreests Junior Manx Grand Prix by only four s seconds from Liverpool’s Steve Smith, overcoming a thirty second pit lane speed penalty, after early race leader James Hind retired on his second lap.
In the winner’s enclosure after the race Harrison, talking about his pit lane penalty, said:
“I like to make things hard for myself. I knew straight away when I was leaving the pits and I got the board. I can’t thank the team enough for helping me.”
Stephen Procter, who finished third in last year’s Senior MGP Race, was first away down Glencrutchery Road and was followed by Stephen Parsons, himself a double podium finisher in last year’s Junior and Senior MGP. Andrew Farrell, the double Lightweight MGP Race winner in 2018, and fastest qualifier James Hind, the 2018 Newcomer B runner up, were third and fourth to leave the start line with Nathan Harrison fifth.
Hind held an early lead at Glen Helen, 2.5 seconds ahead of Harrison with Farrell third a further three seconds back. Stephen Smith was eight seconds behind the race leader with Parsons a further half a second back completing the top five at the opening timing point.
Hind had already built up a commanding lead of 7 seconds by Ballaugh with Parsons almost four seconds back in third and Farrell and Smith less than a second behind third place.
Hind’s opening lap of 121.773mph shattered the old Junior MGP lap record– all the more impressive as it was set on from a standing start – and gave him a commanding 11 second lead over Nathan Harrison who in turn was almost nine seconds ahead of Smith. But behind the leading pair a close battle was developing with Farrell just over a half a second behind Smith with Parsons on the Peoples Bike Kawasaki a further 4 seconds back in fifth.
The drama in the race was just beginning to unfold when news came through that race leader James Hind, who had problems in yesterday’s qualifying session which saw the team replacing the engine last night, was reported to have retired at Greeba Bridge.
Hind’s retirement put Harrison into the lead at Glen Helen, eight seconds in front of Smith was closing the gap with Farrell moving into the final podium place and Parsons and Procter but but by Ramsey on second lap Parsons moved ahead of Farrell but only by less than half a second.
Harrison’s second lap of 120.818mph gave him a lead of almost eight seconds over second placed man as riders came into the pits at the end of the second lap for the mandated race pit stop. Harrison’s team put in a rapid pit stop of 33 seconds, which gained him an additional ten seconds on Smith and he needed every one of them with the pit lane penalty as he was now in third place leaving the grandstand.
Farrell meanwhile had moved back into third by the Bungalow on the second lap and his second lap of 119.064mph, coupled with Harrisons tribulations, saw him briefly move into second place albeit marginally ahead of Harrison and just over 2 seconds ahead of fourth placed man Parsons with Brad Vicars moving into the top five.
Harrison was on a last lap charge and clawed a further 7 seconds back on Smith by Glen Helen to be less than five seconds behind the race leader and he further cut the deficit to only 2.5 seconds by Ramsey on the last lap.
At the Bungalow, with just over seven miles to the chequered flag, Harrison had moved into the lead by 0.3 seconds ahead of Smith and Harrison duly came home to win with a last lap of 117.997, almost four seconds ahead of Smith. Farrell clinched the final podium position over twelve seconds ahead of Parsons with Andrew Fisher completing the top five.
James Hind (121.773mph) Nathan Harrison (120.556mph) - joining brother Glen, and Stephen Smith (120.892mph) become the 20th, 21st and 22nd members of the Tommy Club, set up to commemorate Tommy Clucas who was the first rider to post 120mph in the Manx Grand Prix in 2004.
RESULT: MYLCHREESTS MOTORS MANX GRAND PRIX