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2023 Pre-TT Classic Road Races round-up

Hose takes 21st win and lap records fall in entertaining meeting

A 21st Pre-TT win for Mike Hose and a new set of lap records were among the highlights of the start to the Manx road racing season at the 2023 Pre-TT Classic Road Races.

A busy programme of ten races took place in perfect conditions on the Billown Course across last Friday, Saturday and Sunday (26-28 May).

In the opening Singles Classic Race on Saturday (27 May), Hose, who stormed to victory in the race last year, continued his form at Billown to take victory again in the 251cc-350cc class, but was made to work for it by Will Loder, who would come home in second with Adrian Skaife completing the podium in third.

In the same contest in the 175cc-250cc section, it was a memorable first win at Billown for Barry Davidson who managed to hold off the advances of Andy Hunt in second with Geoff Bates taking third spot.

Attention then turned to the 1100cc Classic Race, with the frontrunners setting a furious pace throughout the contest - Dominic Herbertson would go on to take the win after an entertaining battle with Adam McLean in second, whilst Andy Hornby - under pressure from competition throughout the whole race - took home a hard-earned third.

All of the top five all went beyond the previous lap record in the class of 94.880mph, with Herbertson setting a new record of 96.877mph.

In the third event, the Junior Superbike Race, things were more clear-cut as Rhys Hardisty swept to a commanding win, nearly five seconds clear of Chris Moore in second who in turn finished nearly six seconds ahead of the final podium sitter, Tom Snow.

The final event of the first day of racing saw the first of the sidecar events, and in a competitive class the 87.607mph lap record from 2019 was shattered by Kieron Clarke and newcomer, Andrew Johnson, who clocked 91.687mph on their third lap whilst leading the race.

However, the duo retired on the final lap of the race which allowed Bob Dawson and Mathew Sims to move up and take top spot come the chequered flag, with second and third going to Jack Gristwood & Alice Smith and Danny Quirk & Dylan Weston respectively.

Into day two of racing on Sunday (28 May), and a perfect start to proceedings went the way of Adam McLean who took the opening contest of the 500cc Senior Classic nearly twelve seconds ahead of runner-up Alan Oversby with third place, and another podium finish, going to Andy Hornby.

The following race - the combined 250 Classic & 125 Post Classic - also saw similarly comprehensive wins, with Keith Shannon producing a dominant ride to comfortably win the 250cc category, whilst only two machines were able to finish the 125cc section due to retirements - Jeff Smith emerged victorious with Simon Lehane bagging second.

Meanwhile, Herbertson would then add a seventh victory to his Pre-TT CV in the following 350cc Junior Classic as he eventually managed to pull clear of McLean and Davidson to take the win by just over four seconds, whilst an entertaining joust took place throughout for second and third with McLean eventually pipping Davidson by less than half a second.

For the entrants who didn't qualify for the 350cc and 500cc races, there was a chance to earn some spoils in the 350cc/500cc Consolation Race, and those spoils would go the way of Terence Sansom, Richard Ford and Rod Graham who secured first, second and third respectively.

What followed then was one of the most intense battles for supremacy in the penultimate event, the Post Classic Senior Superbike Race with a constant three-way battle at the front between Jamie Coward, Paul Jordan and Joe Yeardsley.

The battle between Coward and Yeardsley went right to the wire as Jordan dropped back in third with Yeardsley eventually edging across the line in first by just over half a second from Coward, with Yeardsley setting a new lap record in the class at 106.535mph.

The 2023 meeting was then rounded off with the second sidecar race of the event, however the contest was declared after just three laps after a red-flag incident brought the session to a halt.

Clarke & Johnson were declared the winners with second place going to race one winners, Dawson & Sims, and third to Gristwood & Smith.

The Southern 100 Club has since confirmed the red-flag incident during the race involved a single-machine crash at Stadium Corner involving the no.11 outfit of Danny Quirk and Dylan Weston.

The race promoters have also now confirmed the driver, Quirk, has since been discharged from hospital with a clavicle fracture whilst his passenger, Weston, sustained leg fractures and is awaiting transfer to a hospital in Liverpool for further treatment.

The Southern 100 Club is wishing both Quirk and Weston a speedy recovery.

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