Splitlath Redmond Newcomer John Simpson today won a sensational Senior Manx Grand Prix with a dramatic last lap victory from fellow newcomer Andy Soar in one of the event’s most sensational races in its 89 history. It was the first time that a Triumph had taken the top place in the Senior Manx since Don Crossley’s victory in 1948.
Republic of Ireland rider Wayne Kirwan led by a minute going into the fourth lap but in a dramatic last lap, with conditions deteriorating, Simpson posted a lap of 22:41.88 to Kirwan’s 23:47.95 to overhaul the race leader while Dennis Booth, who held a lead of almost forty seconds over Simpson at the Bungalow on the last lap, then coming off at the 33rd Milestone with victory in his grasp. He was taken by airmed to Nobles hospital for assessment.
Competitors were facing variable conditions for the Senior Manx Grand Prix, the final race of the 2012 meeting, from the outset and riders were warned to look out for damp patches around the course.
The Republic of Ireland racer Wayne Kirwan had the honour of leading the field away and started as one of the favourites, following the withdrawal of Jamie Coward with a mandatory 14-day lay off due to the concussion he experienced in the Junior Race earlier in the week.
Kirwan led by the first checkpoint at Glen Helen, with a lead of less than two seconds from local rider Paul Smyth with Oxfordshire’s Michael Moulai in third place almost four seconds further back.
Kirwan’s opening lap of 19:19.05 (117.189) gave him an 8.95 second lead over Paul Smyth (19:28.01/116.291mph). Jonathan Woodward was meanwhile having a great run from a starting position of 48 and moved ahead of fourth placed Sweeney and Moulai, who dropped to fifth, with a lap of 19:42.74 (114.842mph), 23 seconds behind the leader.
However, following an incident at Bedstead Corner involving Jonathan Woodward and newcomer Bjorn Gunnarsson, Splitlath Redmond’s John Simpson, a newcomer, moved up into third place at the end of the second lap with Kirwan extending his lead to 30 seconds over Paul Smyth. Both Gunarrsson and Woodward were taken by airmed to Nobles with Gunnarsson reported to have possible fractures and Woodward receiving attention for back and shoulder injuries.
Kirwan put the hammer down on the third lap and steadily extended his lead to a minute from Simpson, who moved ahead of Smyth with Dennis Booth also moving in front of the Douglas based rider into third with Smyth dropping to fourth.
However it was all change dramatically on the last lap when, in deteriorating conditions, first Booth went to the front then Simpson and Andy Soar, another newcomer, took the race by the scruff of the neck.
In a sensational last lap Simpson made up the 1-minute deficit up by clocking 22:41.88 (99.736mph) to Kirwan’s 23:47.95 (95.121mph). Fellow newcomer Andy Soar relegated Kirwan to third place with the fastest last lap of the race at 21:48.37 (103.815mph) with Soar moving up from seventh place on the final lap to take the runner up spot from Kirwan in third.
Dennis Booth, who had been in third place going into the last lap and actually moved into the lead at Ramsey, and held a lead of almost forty seconds by the Bungalow was reported as coming off at the 33rd and taken by airmed to Nobles hospital for assessment, leaving Simpson to take the Senior Manx Grand Prix title.
Pictures: Dave Kneen