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 Andreas Racing Association's TT Festival Race Meeting - Race Report

A record crowd of an estimated 3,000 people attended the Andreas Racing Association's TT Festival Race Meeting on Saturday at a sunny but blustery Jurby Airfield in the north of the Isle of Man.

All eyes were on Irish newcomers, Ryan Farquhar and Seamus Greene, who both tasted success in last years Manx Grand Prix and are no mean short circuit riders either.

In the first Open race, it was local rider, and former Centre Champion, Gary Carswell who made the early running. However, his lead didn't last more than three quarters of a lap, when he fell at the Bus Stop Chicane. The race was wisely stopped even though Carswell was unhurt which was good news for Farquhar who was well down the order after a massive slide on the start line left him well out of the reckoning.

Carswell hits the deck

In the re-start Farquhar made no mistake, streaking to an early lead with travelling partner, Greene in hot pursuit. Farquhar seemed to be struggling with handling problems, which were due to the experimental Bridgestone Tyres he was using. Greene was on a charge by this stage and on lap two; he had caught up with Farquhar and was ready to pass him. But once again, the race was stopped after two riders further down the field came to blows.

So third time lucky, over six laps, and it was again Farquhar who made the early running. Nigel Beattie was an early retirement on the Wilson and Collins Kawasaki, but fellow local Paul Hunt was on a charge this time out. He soon caught Farquhar on his Cringle Construction R1 Yamaha, and made a pass at about half distance.

He was never to be caught after this taking a well deserved victory ahead of a struggling Farquhar on the Bridgestone fitted R1 and Seamus Greene a good third on his Production GSXR Suzuki.

Big 'H' on his way to victory in Open Race 1

Paul Dedman came home fourth on his CBR Honda, followed by Dave Madsen Mygdal out for the first time on his new R71 Yamaha, previously ridden by Michael Rutter. Completing the top six, was hard riding Tom Clucas on his CP Racing 600 Honda.

In the second encounter, Farquhar switched back to Pirelli rubber and what a difference it was to make. He led from the start never to be caught, finishing the race almost the length of the back straight in front, lapping marginally slower than the outright lap record.

Behind him a frantic battle ensured for the lower leader board places. Fast starting Carswell, held second on the first lap, before being past by ex British 125cc Champion Chris Palmer. Seamus Greene followed him past Carswell, and set about catching Palmer. At half distance Greene lost the back end coming on to the final straight in a big way, with both feet off the rests and his arse in the air, much to the amazement of the watching crowd, and the excitable commentator, Geoff Cannell.

Seamus Greene needed a change of underwear

Undeterred, he pressed on, soon catching Palmer and leaving him to come home a well deserved second place in only his second race at Jurby. Slow starting Paul Hunt came through to third on the last lap followed by Palmer, Carswell and Mygdal.

If the Open races were exciting, the Formula 600 races were even more so, with close racing throughout the large field. Local aces Paul Dedman and Nigel Beattie had a race long battle, with Dedman snatching it on the line on his more powerful 600cc Honda ahead of Beattie on his 250cc model.

Beattie and Dedman in close company during the first Formula 600 Race

Farquhar brought Winston McAdoo's 600cc Kawasaki home in third ahead of Tom Clucas, Shaun Sinnott, Rob Sells and visiting Manx Grand Prix star Ian Pattinson on Martin Bullock's R6 Yamaha.

Dedman was an early retirement in the second race, which left Beattie and Farquhar to battle it out over eight laps. Beattie led for most of the way, but Farquhar was pushing him very hard. On the final circuit it looked as though he might be able to put a pass on the local rider, but some canny riding when they came upon some back markers into the Bus Stop, was enough to give Beattie the win. Both riders broke the existing lap record; such was the red hot pace.

Farquhar passes a back marker

Behind them the impressive Shaun Sinnott grabbed a comfortable third place ahead of Clucas, Sells and Pattinson. Everyone expected the talented pairing of Nicky Crowe and Darren Hope to dominate the Sidecar Class, but it wasn't to be - at least not in the first race. Hope fell from the side of the flying Yamaha outfit leaving Alan Langton and Jamie Scarffe to claim a narrow victory ahead of Brian Kelly and Tim Dixon, with Brian Rostrum and Greg Mahon claiming the final podium position.

Crowe and Hope made no mistake in the second outing, winning by nearly half a minute from reining Champions Kelly and Dixon with Langton and Scarffe relegated to third.

In the final Sidecar encounter of the afternoon, Crowe again proved why he is one of the hottest new Sidecar drivers around on his 600cc Yamaha outfit, winning by another large margin from Kelly with Langton again third in a race with only six finishers. The Clubman's races were well-supported affairs. Tom Clucas who is leading the current local Championship won the first one from his nearest rival in the championship, Ballaugh rider Rob Sells on his 600cc Honda. Philip Bell-Scott was third on his big Suzuki ahead of David Kinrade, James Kirby and Steve Sinnott.

In the second race Clucas again took the chequered flag first, but was pushed much harder this time by a determined Sells, who was regaining his confidence after a big slide similar to Seamus Greene's effort at the same spot.

Mid pack action at Jurby

Bruce Black got his R1 into third, ahead of Dave Kinrade, Steve Sinnott and Roger Meads. The Forgotten Era class was run concurrently with the Single Cylinder Class, and was to provide the closest and most controversial racing of the day.

British Forgotten Era front-runner, Brian Kneale had a heavy crash in practice on his RG500 Suzuki and only got it re-built with seconds to spare for the first race. He led from the line on his super quick, albeit slightly second hand looking Suzuki with James Broughton, Chris Palmer and Chris Grose in close pursuit, with the latter man having only his first outing of the year.

Kneale who admitted to 'not having his head in gear' after his crash, made several trips to the grass during the eight-lap race relegating him to fourth on the road and second in his class to Broughton at the flag. Palmer won the race and the Single Cylinder class ahead of Grose, with youngsters Richard Murphy, Connor Cummins and Daniel Sayle following on.

The second race was to prove the best of the day although it had a slightly controversial ending. The same four riders were again battling out at the front, with Palmer and Kneale having a particularly ferocious battle at the front. Going into the last lap, Kneale somehow managed to out brake Palmer on the more nimble 125cc machine going into the first corner, and holding on for a well-deserved victory.

However a protest was lobbied about an overtaking manoeuvre involving three of the first four riders, and Kneale, Broughton and Palmer were all disqualified. It isn't necessary to go into the full details of the incident, but it would be fair to say that it was a strange decision according to all four riders including the sporting Grose. So after the controversy died down, Grose was declared the winner with Murphy taking second place. Dave Madsen Mygdal was the surprised victor of the Forgotten Era class ahead of Roly Quine and Alan 'Flip' Phillips.

The 125cc machines were again out in the Formula 400 class along with the 400cc machines and it was Palmer who took victory on both occasions ahead of an impressive Chris Grose. If Grose continues to ride for the rest of the season there is no reason why he can't get ahead of Palmer before the end of the year. The amazing Neil Muirhead was third in both races on his 400cc Honda with Murphy, Mygdal and Paul Corrin fighting for the lower leader board positions in both outings.

The Andreas Club should be proud of what must be one of their best ever meetings, rivalling the successful Celtic Match Races held on the Airfield in 1998. The visiting Irishmen put on a good show, along with the many talented locals, ensuring that the visiting and local TT fans alike were treated to some racing this TT fortnight.

It would be hard to pick out a 'Man of the Meeting' with so many good performances. Ryan Farquhar, who intends to return to the track before the end of the year, had a successful debut with a win, two seconds and a third place. Travelling partner Seamus Greene enjoyed his trip over, showing that he has what it takes to go quick on the circuits as well as his favoured roads.

Ryan Farquhar takes his first ever victory
on the McAdoo R1 Yamaha

Paul Hunt, Nigel Beattie and Paul Dedman were the pick of the local riders in the main races, with Palmer, Grose, Broughton, Clucas and Sells catching the eye in the supporting classes, not to mention the all action Brian Kneale who had the most exciting of days, crashing, winning, being disqualified, and visiting the grass more times than any other rider!

Beattie, Kneen, Dedman, Carswell and Sells
were some of the locals to impress

I hope you all enjoyed the racing in TT 2001 as much as I did, but let's hope that next year we will be back on the hedgerows watching the Formula One Race.

Words - Paul Phillips
Pictures - Dave Collister

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