Last updated: August 30th, 2023
RST at the Manx GP
The Isle of Man is without question the mecca of the road-racing world, mainly due to the iconic TT, but this weekend it was the turn of the Manx Classic GP. We spent 4 days out on the island, for the festival; read on for all the details.
Embarking on a journey to the island is akin to stepping into the unknown, where each outing promises a unique adventure. Sometimes, the island gifts you moments of racing prowess that ignite your senses and quicken your heartbeat. On other occasions, you're treated to an exquisite fusion of skill and machine, where rider and bike move in perfect harmony, pushing the limits of what seems achievable and reaching the apotheosis of motorcycle racing.
RST headed out to the island on Friday, excited for the first race of the festival; the SURE Lightweight Classic, which was slated for a 14.15 start. Sadly, as the rain clouds gathered over the mountain course on around midday Friday, the chances of anyone going racing evaporated.
In a change to the original schedule, we saw the lightweight race moved to the end of the day Saturday - meaning that weather permitting we were on for a busy day of racing.
Prior to our arrival on the island, we had seen a number of RST riders have to pull out of the event due to spills at other events (or even out on their pushbikes). Which mean’t the field of RST riders at the Manx this year was somewhat thinned.
Dom Herbertson, who had been looking really strong throughout the practice week, was set to lead off the lightweight; only to have a mechanical issue cause an oil leak straight onto the rear tyre, which in turn lead to a very big high-side: leading to Dom having a visit to the hospital and another injury withdrawal for an RST rider. Thankfully, Dom’s injury although serious wasn’t life-threatening and we got the chance to catch-up with him Saturday ahead of the start of the lightweight race. Despite being obviously gutted to miss out on the chance to ride this year, Dom was in good spirits. We wish Dom all the best for a speedy recovery.
For those who did get the chance to race on Saturday, we had a keen eye on Paul Jordan in the lightweight class and Joe Yeardsley in the Manx Junior Classic.
Joe, who had been absolutely on it all practice week was one of the favourites to take the win in the junior and as he dropped the clutch, twisted the throttle and screeched away from the start line down Bray Hill, you got the sense he was a young man determined to validate the hype.
As he forged on over the first lap of the mountain course he had amassed a lead of more than 7 seconds by the time he crossed the line to complete his first lap. His riding style looking in perfect harmony with both bike and circuit. However, the mountain course is notoriously harsh for both rider and bike alike, and it added to it’s infamous mystic when on lap two Joe’s bike succumbed to the rigours of the mountain, and as the wheels on his S1R Paton came to a stop, so did his chances of the race win. So, it was a DNF this year for Joe, but the signs are promising, he looked calm and comfortable in his Manx debut, extracting every bit of performance from his Team ILR Paton.
Paul, on-board his Faraldo Racing Yamaha 450: in a race that had been reduced to 2 laps due to course conditions - made a solid start round the first lap and was placed 6th in the running prior to issues with the bike. A disappointing DNF for the northern irishman.
Sunday on the island was a day off from the racing, which given the somewhat questionable weather was probably a blessing - as it would have been unlikely for any racing to take place throughout the day. The weather did clear in the mid/late evening and allowed for some pretty spectacular viewing of a WWII spitfire performing a fly over show along the Douglas seafront.
Monday, was THE day; RST’s superbike race was to close out the event and with the likes of Davo Johnson, Paul Jordan, Rob Hodson, Nathan Harrison all involved.
The superbike race was the showpiece, but it was preceded by the Senior Manx GP which saw young-gun Joe Yeardsley looking to bounce back from the disappointment of the Junior on Saturday evening.
The weather on the island over the weekend was about as predictable as a lottery ticket and caused havoc with the race schedule. The racing on Monday was due to get started at 11.45am - but ended up being pushed back 5hrs.
Once the racing did commence - Joe did exactly what he hoped; taking the top-spot in the senior, with a record-breaking performance on his Yamaha; shaving 3 seconds off the previous lap record - setting an average lap speed of 122.051mph!
To wrap up the event it was finally time for the RST Superbike Race. Davo Johnson was leading off, with a number of RST riders behind to chase him down.
In an exciting superbike race that saw a battle at the front between pre-race favourite Micheal Dunlop and Dean Harrison, it was Harrison who lead at the end of lap one by just half a second, however the spectators were robbed of a real contest when Dean’s Ducati suffered a blown engine.
By the end of the race it was Dunlop taking the win by more than 43 seconds over RST’s Davo Johnson, who came in 2 seconds ahead of last years winner Rob Hodson.
Overall, the Manx GP was a great weekend of racing, set against a backdrop of the ever-changing weather on the island. We eventually got to see all the racing and it lived up to expectations as always, and isn’t that the charm of the island? The unpredictability.
Want to see the Full Manx GP reports? Visit the official Manx GP website below;