BROWNE CONTINUES REIGN AS LIGHTWEIGHT CHAMPION
Mike Browne won the Sure Lightweight Manx Grand Prix for the second successive year on Saturday evening, the Irishman coming home half a minute clear of Laylaw Racing team-mate Ian Lougher in a repeat 1-2 of the race twelve months ago.
Manxman Dan Sayle (Baz Gas Honda) took third with the race ending on the second lap of the intended three as weather conditions deteriorated over the Mountain.
There was early drama with fastest qualifier Michael Dunlop stopping at the Railway, Union Mills and Paul Jordan (Faraldo Racing Yamaha) fared even worse, only getting as far as Selborne Drive but by Glen Helen it was Browne who led, his advantage over team-mate Lougher 3.4 seconds with a similar gap back to third placed rider Sayle.
Stuart Hall (Whippet Racing Yamaha) slotted into fourth ahead of Adam McLean on the third Laylaw Racing Yamaha and Gareth Arnold (Jenarracing Yamaha) with Paul Cassidy (Island Fuels Kawasaki) the first of the 400s ahead of Michael Rees (CSC Racing/IMS Yamaha) and Daniel Ingham (Derek Jones Butchers Honda).
Despite a lack of laps during qualifying week, Browne was flying and was soon running with Lougher, who’d started ten seconds ahead of him. Indeed, Browne overhauled him by the time they rounded Ramsey Hairpin with his lead up to 12.1 seconds whilst Lougher’s advantage over Sayle was almost identical.
An opening lap speed of 116.980mph gave Browne an 11.44 second lead over Lougher as they made their compulsory pit stop. although the Irishman lost a small amount of time as he left the pits when the Yamaha took time to fire back up. Sayle was in a comfortable third ahead of Hall but whilst McLean remained in fifth, he failed to pit for his compulsory pit stop and picked up a one-minute penalty.
Shaun Anderson (Kramer) was now in sixth ahead of Michal Dokoupil (Cookson Travel Yamaha) and Rhys Hardisty (Willson & Wilding/Kaymac Yamaha) with Cassidy now running in ninth on the lead 400cc machine after lapping at 107.444mph.
Browne’s lead was back up to 13.87 seconds at Glen Helen second time around with Sayle enjoying a 30 second advantage over new fourth-placed rider Anderson as Hall and McLean occupied fifth and sixth and with low cloud beginning to descend over the Mountain, news came through that the race was to be cut to two laps from three.
Leading on the road, Browne clocked 113.423mph on his second and final lap which gave him a 31-second victory over Lougher with Sayle, third throughout, joining them on the podium. Anderson repeated his fourth-place finish from the earlier Classic Senior race with McLean and Hall completing the top six.