Classic Racer - - CLASSIC RACER PEOPLE - Lee John­ston pre­pares to get un­der­way in the Ju­nior race, on the Black Ea­gle Rac­ing 350cc MV Agusta.

Michael Rut­ter made up for a crash in the Se­nior and an ex­clu­sion in the Light­weight when win­ning the Ju­nior Clas­sic on the Ri­p­ley Land rac­ing Honda K4. Lee John­ston made the early bow waves on the Black Ea­gle Rac­ing MV Agusta, and he had a three-se­cond lead over Jamie Coward (Craven Honda) at Glen He­len. Rut­ter was 0.3 of a se­cond back in third. Alan Oversby’s Honda was mis­fir­ing badly on Bray Hill, forc­ing him to stop and make ad­just­ments at Quar­ter Bridge. This cost him an es­ti­mated 55 sec­onds. Jeff Ward re­tired at Quar­ter Bridge, Will Loder at the High­lander, Pe­ter Boast Bal­lacraine, Chris Mc­ga­han Dou­glas Road cor­ner and Keith Dixon at Birkin’s Bend at the other end of Kirk Michael vil­lage. By Ram­sey, John­ston had an 8.7s ad­van­tage over Coward, with Rut­ter an­other se­cond adrift in third. The lead had gone out to 13.5 sec­onds at the Grand­stand, with John­ston lap­ping in 102.523mph. Rut­ter had moved ahead of Coward by 4.6s, fol­lowed by Dean Har­ri­son (MV) and Do­minic Her­bert­son (Honda), all over the ton. Oversby was back up to sixth, de­spite drop­ping the best part of one minute in the first mile-and-a-bit. The lead­ing sin­gles were the Sum­mer­field Manx Nor­ton of Cameron Don­ald in eighth and the Ri­p­ley Land 7R AJS of Chris Swal­low 1.9s astern in ninth. John­ston’s MV was fly­ing on the fast stretch to Bal­lacraine on lap two and at Glen He­len he had stretched to lead to 21s over Rut­ter, with Coward main­tain­ing sta­tion in third, now ahead of the se­cond MV of Har­ri­son which had pit­ted at the end of lap one. The lead steadily in­creased and, at two-thirds dis­tance in the short­ened three-lap­per, it was 25 sec­onds af­ter a lap of 103.421mph.this in­cluded slow­ing down for a top-up of petrol. But the diminu­tive Ul­ster­man’s 39-se­cond stop cost him the lead and a good chunk more, as con­firmed at the next time check where Rut­ter, on the less-thirsty Honda, was 12.6s in front on cor­rected tim­ing. John­ston had al­ready man­aged to get back in front of se­cond-placed Coward, with Her­bert­son fourth and Har­ri­son fifth. Oversby had failed to make much im­pres­sion on the top hand­ful of rid­ers. Rut­ter got the mes­sage and was push­ing hard to de­fend his lead. By Ram­sey, John­ston had only man­aged to grab back 1.2s on the wily Mid­lan­der. The MV had the grunt on the moun­tain climb and John­ston had re­duced the deficit to 6.9s at the Bun­ga­low with less than seven miles left to run. Rut­ter kept his head down and had lost no ad­di­tional time by Cronk-ny-mona. His lap speed of 104.002mph was the quick­est of the race, en­abling him to fin­ish with a 10.3s ad­van­tage over John­ston. Coward was a fur­ther 13.9s down in third, fol­lowed by the Davies Motorsport Hon­das of Dom Her­bert­son and Oversby, with Har­ri­son the last to av­er­age 100mph on the se­cond Black Ea­gle MV. Chris Swal­low again rode well to be first sin­gle home in sev­enth, ahead of lead­ing pri­va­teers Philip Mcgurk, He­fyn Owen and Ja­son Markham. “It’s been a hard week so I’m de­lighted to get this,” ad­mit­ted Rut­ter af­ter equalling his fa­ther Tony’s tally of seven Moun­tain Course wins. “I got my head down and rode my own race. I had a bit of a tow from Jamie Coward up the moun­tain when I caught him up. We were wheel-towheel for a while and I al­most rammed into the back of him at Windy Cor­ner. “The 350s feel so slow in a straight line com­pared to the big­ger bikes, but the cor­ner speed has to be great as you are throw­ing them in. It makes you re­spect what rid­ers did on these back in their day.” Coward con­ceded: “To be hon­est, Michael made me look a bit silly when he went past. I was per­haps a bit too cau­tious early on as I was aware of the damp patches.” Run­ner-up Lee John­ston was re­luc­tant to take his glove off as he had hurt a few fin­gers in a spill from a side­car a few days ear­lier, in a Jurby test with Dean Har­ri­son. “I’m still a bit sore, but it didn’t re­ally hold me back. I was a bit lethar­gic on the first lap, but the MV ran well. “I was tak­ing five sec­onds each sec­tor out of Michael, but the pit stops bug­gered us up a bit,” he sug­gested. Lead­ing pri­va­teer Mcgurk said he’d had a lonely race: “Lee John­ston passed me on lap one, and I didn’t see any­one af­ter that,” he said. “I had a cou­ple of slides, in­clud­ing one on the exit to Gin­ger Hall where it was a bit green in the gut­ter.”

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