Race Day 1 Report – Isle of Man Steam Packet Company Southern 100 2024

Richard Radcliffe brings us the race day report from Tuesday evening 👇🏻

The race programme for the meeting began with Race 2, the Peel Holdings Senior Race. The fickle weather had left a track that had both wet and dry areas, giving the riders a real conundrum with tyre choice. Dominic Herbertson had to withdraw to a systems issue that manifested itself on the warm up lap. Some riders withdrew after the warm up due to the mixed conditions.

The race began at 8.16pm over a reduced distance; the hope being that it would be completed before rainfall returned. The pole sitter, Jamie Coward (Steadplan Honda) was fastest away from the lights; he led the for the entirety of the first lap, with Michael Dunlop (Hawk Honda) close behind in second. Davey Todd held third on the Milwaukee BMW; with Mike Browne (IN Competition Aprilia) tucked in behind him. Dean Harrison: in unfamiliar black livery held fifth on his Honda; with the returning Michael Sweeney 6th on his MJR BMW.

As light drizzle became more organized rain, Dunlop increased the pace on lap 2 and led by a few metres as they came into Castletown Corner; his lead was 0.282s as they crossed the line. Todd was 2.2s behind Coward; with Browne holding fourth 2.27s further back and under pressure from Harrison. Sweeney held sixth; but was being closed down by Paul Jordan (Jackson Honda). With the track now glistening, Dunlop had a slightly increased advantage on lap 3; Todd was safe in third; whilst Harrison had displaced Browne from fourth; but that was to no avail; the red flag was displayed; ending the race. The flag was due to Aaron Hogan having crashed out at Ballawhetstone. He went to hospital for a check-up; thankfully, it seems that he is perfectly okay.

With the race having completed half of the already reduced distance; a result was declared at the end of lap 2. Newcomers Keelim Ryan (McMullen Kawasaki) and Erno Kostamo (Penz 13 BMW) put up excellent performances after just 4 laps of practice to finish 14th and 18th respectively.

With the gloom having deepened and the rain having become heavier; wet tyres front and back was the only choice for the Mike Kerruish Plumbing Lightweight Race (Race 1). From pole position, Rob Hodson (Rob Hodson) was the fastest into Ballakeighan; with Jamie Coward (Steadplan Kawasaki) in second. Hodson was first to the commentary point at Cross Four Ways and had a few metres advantage at Castletown Corner. It was an impressive sight as the riders approached from Stadium with a huge plume of spray behind. Late entry, Davey Todd, was third on his Dafabet Kawasaki. Mike Browne (Aprilia), Michael Sweeney (Aprilia) and Joe Yeardsley (ILR Paton) completed the top 6. Best of non-Supertwin machines was the 250cc Falcon Yamaha of Dan Sayle.

The pace in the conditions was simply amazing; by lap 3 Hodson and Coward were lapping faster than Hodson’s pole time, set on nearly dry roads. Coward gained 0.2s on lap 3; but Hodson responded on lap 4 and then set the best lap of the race at 97.481mph on the fifth and final lap. His margin of victory was 5.62s. Todd took the final place; Mike Browne took fourth just 0.8s down on Todd. Michael (Micko) Sweeney was fifth; with local star Joe Yeardsley a fine 6th. Dan Sayle had worked his way into seventh at the end of the race. Best newcomer was Jacque Foley (Paton); he was 12th, 0.5s ahead of fellow newcomer Caomhan Canny (Aprilia).

📸 Mark Falconer


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