Bruce Anstey leads strong Classic TT Lightweight field
The superb sound and sight of the two strokes will grace the Mountain Course once more on Saturday August 26th with the newly introduced Sure Lightweight Race one of the feature events at this year’s Classic TT presented by Bennetts.
The move to introduce the race to the schedule has seen a huge level of interest and no less than 55 entries have been received with the majority mounted on either the iconic TZ250 Yamaha or RS250 Honda.
Fittingly Bruce Anstey, the man who won the last Lightweight TT race around the Mountain Course in 2002, heads the entry. The Kiwi lapped at 118.03mph that day, just outside John McGuinness’ 1999 lap record of 118.29mph, and the 11-time TT race winner was one of the first entries received for this year’s race. The 47-year old will ride a Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Motorcycles Honda. Clive Padgett’s expertise combined with Anstey’s supreme talent makes the combination the pre-race favourites for the four-lap race.
The grid is full of quality riders, none more so than the winners of the last two F2 races, Ian Lougher and Ryan Kneen, so an Anstey win isn’t a foregone conclusion. Lougher will again ride for the Laylaw Racing team on a new TZ250 Yamaha while Kneen will also be Yamaha-mounted riding for CBG Contractors. The Manxman lapped in excess of 113mph twelve months ago to edge out James Cowton and will be keen to add another win to his CV.
Cowton will again line up this year although his machine is yet to be confirmed while former British champion Dan Cooper is another potential race winner. The Stroud rider, who recently took his maiden International road race victory at the Ulster Grand Prix, will ride a TZ Yamaha for Turner Racing.
Kneen’s elder brother Dan has his first taste of two-stroke action around the 37 and ¾-mile course, riding John Chapman’s immaculate RS250 Honda with Irishman Michael Sweeney joining Lougher at Laylaw Racing. Class veterans Davy Morgan (Strangford Holiday Park Honda), Paul Owen (Team #98 Honda) and Phil Harvey (CSC Racing Honda) should also be towards the front of the field.
Charles Rhys Hardisty, third in last year’s F2 race, returns on the REPS Motorcycles/KayMac Yamaha as does fourth placed Chris Moore on a similar machine entered by the JL Exhausts Racing/AMCS team with Olie Linsdell another rider expected to lap above 110mph on the Peter Berwick/Flitwick Motorcycles Yamaha.
Last year’s Manx GP winner Gary Vines brings his immaculate Online Lubricants Yamaha to the grid with TT regular Dan Stewart (Wilcock Consulting Yamaha), reigning TT Privateers Champion Dan Hegarty (Atherstone Accident and Repair Centre Yamaha) and Rob Hodson (Declans Racing Yamaha) three more riders making their two-stroke debuts around the Mountain Course.
Regular TT and Southern 100 competitor Anthony Redmond adds variety to the line-up on the DMW Racing entered Aprilia with further names to keep an eye on including Frenchman Timothee Monot (TMR Honda), Neal Champion (250 Frasers Motorcycles Yamaha), Dave Hewson (Obsession Engineering Yamaha) and Tom Snow (FCL Racing Yamaha).
Neil Kernohan, recent winner of the 250cc race at the Ulster Grand Prix rides the same Logan Racing Honda whilst former British Championship runner Carl Salvage makes his Mountain Course debut on the Keppel Outhwaite Racing Yamaha.
Classic TT Grandstand tickets are available for Friday’s final qualifying session priced at £5. All prior qualifying sessions are free for the main Grandstand. There are also race day tickets available for both Classic TT race days on Saturday 27th and Monday 29th August as well as VIP and Platinum hospitality tickets. To purchase tickets go to iomtt.com or phone Duke Marketing on (00 44) 1624 640011.
Photocaption: Bruce Anstey winning the 2002 Lightweight TT Race. Credit Pacemaker Press