Derek’s team wins Senior Manx Grand Prix
Derek’s team wins Senior Manx Grand Prix
JOHN Simpson has won the Senior Manx Grand Prix on board the Splitlath Redmond Triumph 675.
The 21-year-old newcomer from Antrim, Northern Ireland, is the first rider to win the prestigious event on a Triumph motorcycle since 1948.
In a dramatic last lap, he made up a one minute deficit up by clocking 22:41.88 (99.736mph) to topple earlier leader Wayne Kirwan’s 23:47.95 (95.121mph), while fellow newcomer Andrew Soar then relegated Kirwan to third.
After a bright and sunny morning, clouds had started to gather around an hour before the start, and organisers brought it forward by 15 minutes, with riders warned to watch for potential damp areas around the 37-mile Mountain Course.
Starting as the 31st rider away as the race got underway at 1pm, Simpson made his typical steady start, crossing the line at the end of the first of four laps in ninth spot.
On Lap Two, with a better idea of track conditions, he began to push a little harder, coming in to pit at the end of the lap in P3.
Rejoining, he got a quick time down to Glen Helen, and although 40 seconds adrift of the leader, slowly began to pull back some time, ending the Lap in second place.
Dropping back down to third for a short time, he set off on what was to be his best lap of the race. While conditions were getting much worse with lots of wet patches, Simpson felt happy with his machine, and had taken the lead by the time he reached Cronk ny Mona.
From here he kept it pinned, crossing the line as the winner – although he had no idea he had even made the podium.
“I had no clue, I was hoping I was top 10 but when I rode in they were blocking the road so I couldn’t get up and were pointing to the winner’s enclosure. I looked behind thinking it was for someone else and then noticed people were holding one finger up at me.
“I had no idea because the lads had told me on the pit stop that I was way down the order. They’d said that so I didn’t get stressed or think about it, so I was completely unaware. I did see a P3 board out at Glen Helen and thought it was for someone behind or something.
“It was a great race and I really enjoyed it. I did the same steady away start I’ve done all week, and on the second lap I pushed a bit more because I had already seen the road and had an idea of the conditions.
“I got a good out from the stop and just pushed it, I was aware it was getting wetter and more slippery but the bike felt great and I knew where I could push it.
“On the last lap I came down Bray Hill flat out – I knew this was my last time down there until next year and I just wanted to enjoy it. There were some yellow flags at Glen Helen so I thought I’d lost a load of time, so when I got through I just pinned it and went for it.
“This win is amazing. After the disappointment of not finishing the Newcomers race and then getting a 14th in the Junior on Tuesday, I’d hoped for a top 10 today. To win is just unreal. It hasn’t sunk in yet, and I don’t think it probably will until tomorrow.
“I have to thank the team for everything they’ve done – Paul Jinks, Kevin Brown at FBM Performance, Brian Noad and of course John Dimbylow and the Splitlath Redmond team for making the whole thing possible. This win is for all of us.”
Road Racing Team Manager Paul Jinks said: “This is a dream come true. Quality has come through today. I always knew he was good enough, and today he’s done it.
“I was genuinely praying during that last lap. We went out hoping and expecting a top 10, but this result is incredible. We are all just so happy.”
Splitlath Redmond co-owner John Dimbylow added: “This is an amazing result. It’s the team’s first major victory this year and I can’t praise John and the road racing team enough for what they have achieved.
“I have always rated John as a future star and today he has proved what an amazing talent he is. What he has done out there today is unbelievable and we are incredibly proud to have him as part of the Splitlath Redmond family.”