Full grids are guaranteed at the Blackford Financial Services Pre TT Classic Road Races with nearly 280 entries having been received for the prestigious Classic event which annually brings the Isle of Man TT Festival to life.
The nine-race programme caters for single cylinder 250cc & 350cc machines, Lightweight 250cc, Junior 350cc, Senior 500cc, 850cc Classics, Classic Superbike's and Sidecars.
The Solo races remain the same as the successful format of the previous years, whilst the Sidecar competitors once again have three four-lap races, one on the Saturday afternoon with the second being run on the Monday morning, with the third in the afternoon, which will include Post TT Classic machines.
As in previous years a Solo Support Race has been included in Monday’s race programme to cater for the number of entries received.
Long-time competitor, Aermacchi specialist Bill Swallow equalled the long-standing record of 15 victories at this meeting in 2012 and joined Bob Heath at top of the list - Bill will be hoping to add another win to his tally this year and move to the top of the table. As well as his faithful Italian single, the popular Yorkshireman also has a 500 Moto Paton at his disposal - both machines courtesy of Gleve Racing.
However, Mike Hose, with 14 wins to his credit and no less than six outings this year could very well equal and even overtake the present ‘magic’ number of 15 race victories at this prestigious event.
Bolton-le-Sands rider Alan Oversby with 12 will also be hoping to add to his winning tally on a pair of exquisite Davies Motorsport Hondas.
Three-time winner of the Geoff Duke Junior Superbike Race, James Cowton will once again be aboard Peter Berwick’s 250 Yamaha twin - hoping to make it four in a row.
The race organisers, Southern 100 Racing also welcome 15 newcomers to the event this year, and hopefully once they have experienced the thrill of racing on the Billown circuit, they too will become part of the ‘classic family’ that return year after year.
Jamie Coward, a three-time victor last year - twice on the 500 Craven Manx Norton and once on the 750 Mistral Racing Kawasaki returns with 500 and 350 versions of the single cylinder Craven Manx machines and the ‘green meanie’ the 750 Mistral Kawasaki aiming to make it three-in-a-row in the Post TT Superbike Classic race!
The three Sidecar races will once again be eagerly watched by the numerous fans around the 4.25-mile Billown Course as no quarter is given and each victory hard fought to the chequered flag. Three previous winners Eddy Wright; Wally Saunders and Vince Biggs will once again be challenging for a race win or two or three, although the likes of Rod Bellas, Mike Bellerby, Greg Lambert and Tony Thirkell to name but a few will have the same idea - to be first past the post!
The final sidecar race will have the added excitement of three Post Classic outfits in the mix driven by Billown regulars, Dave Molyneux, Conrad Harrison and Stuart Applegate - added spice to an already talented field.
The Blackford’s Pre-TT Classic Road Races gets underway with the first of two practice sessions on Friday Evening 26th May, at 6.00pm with roads opening at 9.35pm.
Saturday Afternoon 27th May sees the continuation of qualifying plus two races, the Office Equipment Centre Singles Race followed by Sidecar Race 1. The action takes place between 12.10pm and 4.15pm
Bank Holiday Monday 28th May sees the final seven races being held with a morning session 9.10am - 12.20pm and concluding with the Afternoon session 1.05pm and 4.10pm.
The unique Prize Presentation and Concourse D' elegance takes place on Tuesday 30th May in Castletown Square between 1.45pm and 4.00pm.
Photo courtesy of Richard Radcliffe, depicts Jamie Coward on the Mistral Racing Kawasaki negotiating Church Bends during the 2016 Superbike Classic Race.