Classic Racer - - FIERCE -

The En­niskillen 100 is a name from the his­tory books. It was at its zenith in the late 1930s, back when Gor­don Bur­nett and Ar­tie Bell were house­hold names, and was last run in 1952. There was a pal­pa­ble air of an­tic­i­pa­tion sur­round­ing the first re­run of this meet­ing in 66 years. As for the cir­cuit, the new En­niskillen track is three miles long and has it all: tight, bumpy cor­ners, su­per-fast nar­row bits un­der dark over-hang­ing leafy canopies, blind up­hill charges with in­vis­i­ble apexes and a chal­leng­ing se­lec­tion of jumps, it is cer­tainly not one for the faint-hearted. And so, on Satur­day, June 30, just be­fore 2pm, in bright sun­shine, the Ju­nior Clas­sic grid as­sem­bled, in­tent on mak­ing his­tory. The flag went up and the first group roared away. At the end of lap one Barry David­son had es­tab­lished a clear lead. Sec­ond on the road was Brian Ma­teer on the Suzuki 250, fol­lowed by Nigel Moore and Richard Ford, then an in­sep­a­ra­ble gag­gle of four rid­ers: Ian Thomp­son, Lin­ton Ir­win, Ken Parkes and Phillip Shaw who pro­vided the sort of tight­prox­im­ity rac­ing that child­hood dreams are made of. Lap af­ter lap th­ese four bat­tled along­side and around each other, con­stantly chang­ing places, each one in­tent on se­cur­ing the fi­nal podium spot. At the flag it was Ken Parkes who took third be­hind Moore and David­son. Brian Ma­teer com­fort­ably took the 250cc win ahead of Phillip Shaw and Alex Mcvicker. The Se­nior Clas­sic race was equally thrilling with Honda 500-mounted David­son once again snatch­ing the hole-shot and lead­ing the field at the end of the first lap with Richard Ford al­most stuck to his back wheel and the Manx Nor­tons of Wat­tie Brown and Mark Par­rett a fur­ther bike-length be­hind. The su­pe­rior power of Ford’s 920cc Bob Jack­son Nor­ton then took over the lead, grad­u­ally al­low­ing Ford to pull away from the field and cross the line in top spot, set­ting the fastest lap of 83.522mph in the process. Brown and Par­rett had a su­perb duel for sev­eral laps un­til Par­rett re­tired, hand­ing the run­ner-up spot to Wat­tie Brown and the fi­nal podium po­si­tion to Fred­die Ste­wart. A sep­a­rate mo­ment of drama oc­curred on lap four of the Se­nior Clas­sic race when Roger Chen slid off while ex­it­ing Ar­ney cor­ner. The Tai­wanese rider, who has been jet­ting in each April to com­pete on the Ir­ish roads, im­me­di­ately jumped to his feet and ran over to the crowd of spec­ta­tors gath­ered out­side The Re­gal and waved en­thu­si­as­ti­cally, much to the de­light of the on­look­ers, one of whom handed him a pint which he held aloft and then poured over his head – the crowd erupted.

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