Lower temperatures, cloud and the threat of rain had put the final practice session of the 2009 Isle of Man TT under threat – but at the time of writing it looks like the session will go ahead.
The Mountain section is scheduled to close at 5pm, with the rest of the course closed by 6pm and the first solo machines due to leave the Grandstand at 6.20pm.
It is unlikely anyone will be able to challenge Cameron Donald’s staggering unofficial lap record speed of 131.457mph, set during Thursday evening’s session.
The Australian set the blistering pace on his fourth lap out on the TAS Suzuki superbike, and even he had to admit he was struggling to believe the speed – which was more than eight seconds faster than the outright lap record set by John McGuinness in 2007.
Fans following the action through the TT Live! subscription service were able to watch the dramatic lap unfold as it happened, watching Donald maintain an average speed of 143.897mph between the Grandstand and Ramsey Hairpin on his way to the stunning 17m 13.25s lap time.
Practice week has seen some of the fastest speeds ever around the Isle of Man with Donald, teammate Bruce Anstey and HM Plant Honda’s McGuinness all lapping at in excess of 130mph.
Hydrex Honda’s Guy Martin, HM Plant Honda’s Steve Plater and Padgetts Honda rider Ian Hutchinson have all been knocking on the door of 130mph average laps, but they are unlikely to break the magic barrier in this evening’s practice.
Carl Rennie posted an impressive Superstock time on Thursday to top the evening timesheets, but Michael Dunlop’s run on the Yamaha R6 in the Supersport class – an unofficial lap record of 126.299mph - was the talk of the paddock.
Many of the sidecar outfits will be hoping conditions improve, or at least hold, so they can get a run in tonight. Thursday night’s session was red flagged before even one lap had been completed because of a crash at Bray Hill and oil on the course.
Nick Crowe and Mark Cox, who have been fastest round so far with a 116.063mph, have said they will take a run out if conditions allow to fine tune their machine, and Manx rival Dave Molyneux – partnered by Dan Sayle – is also likely to want to get a but more practice in before Saturday’s Sure Sidecar Race 1.
The first races of the 2009 TT are scheduled for Saturday – see our Race Calendar for full details.
Don’t forget you can follow the action with TT Live!.