Nathan Harrison followed some of the most illustrious names in motorcycle racing history, adding his name to the Senior Manx Grand Prix Trophy that has previously been won by multiple world championship winners Phil Read and Geoff Duke.
In the winners’ enclosure after the race, Harrison explained that he only began to focus properly in the latter half of the race” “To be fair I couldn’t get into my own groove and I only got going after the pits.”
After Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson’s unprecedented decision to move the Senior Race forward a day from its traditional Friday slot due to Friday’s poor weather forecast, the Senior Manx Grand Prix Race, the final race of the meeting, got underway on time at 2.30pm.
Riders were flagged away from the start line by Gordon Daniels who won the Senior fifty years ago. Steven Procter on the Stagefreight Yamaha was away first from Glencrutchery Road and was followed by Stephen Parsons, representing the popular Peoples Bike team.
The pair arrived together on the road at Glen Helen which gave Parsons a ten second lead over the Wakefield man but James Hind, who won the earlier Lightweight MGP 2 Race, was in the lead, albeit by only a fraction of a second.
Wednesday Junior MGP Race winner Nathan Harrison was third, just over a second down on the race leader with Brad Vicars and Darryl Tweed completing the top five at the first timing point.
The problems that had beset James Hind on his Yamaha R6 in yesterday’s MGP Junior Race, when he was forced to retire when leading the race, continued and he dropped down to tenth by Ballaugh Bridge and promptly retired from the race.
Hind’s retirement saw Ingham move into the top five at Ballaugh and that remained the order at the end of the first lap with Parsons’s opening lap of 121.12mph giving him a lead of just under four seconds from Harrison.
Vicars was holding third eight seconds further back and was engaged in his own battle for the final podium place with Tweed and Ingham who were just under and just over two seconds off the third placed man respectively.
At the front of the field Parsons maintained a two second lead over Harrison on the second lap but at Glen Helen Tweed had moved into third place and was now fractionally ahead of Vicars.
Coming into the pits at the end of the second lap Parsons’s lead over Harrison was up to almost six seconds with Tweed maintaining third, three seconds ahead of Vicars with Ingham still in fifth almost 3 seconds further back.
It was clear that with such a close race the pit stop at the end of the second lap could prove decisive and Harrison, having picked up a speeding penalty that almost cost him yesterday’s MGP Junior Race, was careful to exit at the correct speed.
Harrison gained six seconds on Parsons in the pits which meant that he was the new race leader leaving the Grandstand but Parsons was back in front – albeit by 0.059 seconds at Glen Helen.
Vicars meanwhile picked up nine seconds on Tweed in the pits which saw moved him back into the final podium place by eight seconds over Tweed at Glen Helen with Ingham a further 3.3 seconds back circulating in fifth place.
By Ramsey Harrison was back in front albeit by only half a second but the Isle of Man based rider had improved that to three seconds by the Bungalow.
Harrison’s third lap of 116.30mph, including the pit time, gave him a lead of six seconds (115.09mph) heading into the last lap.
All eyes were on the clock at Glen Helen on the last lap which revealed that Harrison was maintaining the gap. Harrison stepped up the pace after the first sector and a last lap of 122.094mph – the fastest lap of the race - gave him the race win by 17 seconds from Parsons with Vicars clinching the final podium place twenty seconds behind Parsons but 25 seconds ahead of Tweed with Ingham coming home fifth.
Four riders were added to the Tommy Club for achieving their first 120mph laps of the Mountain Course – Stephen Parsons, Darryl Tweed, Daniel Ingham and Brad Vicars which meant that 26 riders have now achieved the mark since it was first set by Tommy Clucas in the 2004 Manx Grand Prix.