Manx Two Day
The 2018 Manx International Classic Trial suffered from some of the poorest weather in its 22-year history, which was disappointing after the hot dry summer the island had enjoyed. However, the good natured Twinshock and Pre65 trials competitors took it all in their stride and enjoyed what has become, for many, their ‘must-ride’ event. Entries were over-subscribed as usual, with the 230 lucky recipients including almost 50 overseas riders and former World Champion Yrjo Vesterinen setting off from the Southern 100 race paddock on Saturday morning from 8.30.
Within the large overseas entry was 74-year-old Roger Galpin making the long trip from Australia, a 14-strong German and Swiss contingent, and no fewer than 26 Spaniards! The Spanish crew were organised as ever by Albert Bergada Laseca, who with his son Freddie are regular and welcome visitors to the event, bringing over some beautiful and well prepared Bultacos and a handful of Pre-65 machines. Team Germany, led by regular Michael Ernst, always enjoy their weekend on the island and help make this a truly international event.
This day-one route primarily centred around the south and west of the island and included some locations not used for quite a few years, together with old favourites Glen Rushen Gulley and the spectacular coastal rocks at Scarlett. The single-lap route of 32 sections was slightly longer and tougher this year, which seemed to be welcomed by the majority of riders despite the drizzly and misty weather.
After the first day, twice former winner James Harland (Triumph Twin) and five-time Twinshock winner Ulsterman Stephen Murphy (Drayton Bantam) were joint leaders of the Pre-65 Premier class on a loss of four, both losing marks on the tricky stream beds at Scard Farm and the muddy section at the top of Cringle Plantation. Scotsman Jim Tennant (Francis Barnett) led the Pre-65 Clubman class on seven. Darren Wasley (Fantic) had the best ride of the day and led the Twinshock Premier class, which runs at the head of the field, having only lost one mark in the stream bed at Scard Farm. Martin Gilbert on his little Honda TM 60 led the Twinshock Clubman class with a solitary five on the relatively easy third section of the day at Poyll Vaaish.
The trial moved north on day two, starting from St John’s, but unfortunately the weather was even worse with much of the route shrouded in mist, denying riders the spectacular views the island offers. This poor weather made some sections a little bit tougher than intended, but all enjoyed the well thought-out and marked route which kept roadwork to a minimum. The 30 sections included slippery stream beds at Eairy Beg, Little London and Ballaugh Plantation and the signature group at Cluggid Gate.
Stephen Murphy kept his cool, apart from a momentary lapse when he incurred a five on the relatively easy second section through the trees at Ballaugh Plantation, to drop only nine which was equalled by 2017 winner Phil Houghton (Triumph). Murphy held on by four in the overall final standings to win the Manx Classic Premier Award from Houghton, with leading newcomer Ian Peberdy (BSA Bantam) moving to third overall on 21 with an impressive second-day loss of only 11. John Chatto grabbed the Pre-65 Clubman class honours with an excellent day-two score of one dab dropped in Colden Plantation, giving a total score of nine to beat newcomer Josep Puig (BSA Bantam) from Spain, who stayed feet-up all day to finish on 11 with Jim Tennant slipping to third on 13. Darren Wasley (Fantic) again produced a very good ride to seal the Twinshock Premier award with a Sunday score of 21 giving a final loss of 22, but local man Wayne Wardell pushed him on Sunday with a loss of 25 to jump to second overall on 44 with Steve Martin (Majesty) in third on 54. Martin Gilbert (Honda) successfully defended his lead in the Twinshock Clubman class with a day-two loss of four, giving him nine for the weekend, with former winner Miguel Angel Garcia Cuesto (Bultaco) of Spain second on a total of 18.
This International event is the finale to the Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling, so anyone visiting the island for the trial can also take in some Classic and Modern road racing with the Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix taking place just before. Here's hoping for much better weather for next year!
Rob Bowyer (Triumph)
Nick Shield (Triumph)
Frank Borchers (Jawa-DEU)
Roger Feather (Ariel)
Darren Wasley (Fantic)
Victor Martin Bordonau (Bultaco-ESP)
Stephen Murphy (BSA)
Tony Swidenbank (BSA)
Steve Martin (Majesty)
Eckehard Wienstroer (Yamaha-DEU)