Proposed changes to the MGP programme
Splashdown Offline
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#1
Proposed changes to the MGP programme
I mentioned in my "Manx Diary" that the MMCC committee had given all interested parties some notes on proposed changes.These are the relevant questions. What do you all think?

1) Discontinue the Newcomers Class and have podium placings for Newcomers within other classes.
2) Run the Senior Classic on Friday afternoon after the Senior Race.
3) Run a "Forgotten Era" race.
4) Run a race for bikes without fairings

As I've said before, the Manx has always been my favourite racing event, and as an Ambassador for the Manx,(as is Cargo), I wouldn't want anything other than serious comments on this thread.
So please give this your best shot, I'm sure that certain members of the Committee will be reading your valued input.
04-09-2008, 11:47 AM
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kmckay Offline
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#2
RE: Proposed changes to the MGP programme
The Southern 100 club runs a great "Post Classic Superbike" race at the Pre-TT classic.

Imagine a sort of combination of TTF1 and F750, you've got RG500's, TZ's of varying sizes, Harris Kawasaki, Rob North triples and of course The Mighty Jota!

I think a class based along those lines would be very popular, and you're already drawing on an experienced pool of road racers there.
Ramsey, IoM
04-09-2008, 12:09 PM
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iainh Offline
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#3
RE: Proposed changes to the MGP programme
I have heard something similar to this already but how about moving the races forward by a day or two?

Start racing on the Saturday with the last races on the Thursday so as to give another day to deal with the increasingly horrible weather, i.e. the 'Senior' races could happen Thursday with the Friday as the carry over day rather than the Saturday. this could then give the Senior classic guys a chance to get to the other race I have been told they goto after the Manx.
04-09-2008, 01:11 PM
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Tomcat Offline
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#4
RE: Proposed changes to the MGP programme
Manx Radio asked for contributions on this very subject during the pause before the restart of the Senior, but they didn't get round to discussing all the responses.

My thoughts.

1. Yes this is a good idea. Years ago most people ONLY got a Newcomers entry in your first year and this was used in following years to assess your suitability for an entry in the S/J/L which were all oversubscribed. Now they are all undersubscribed and it is not uncommon for riders to get entries in the Newcomers, Junior and Senior. At the TT they allow people to ride with no real road race experience whatsoever. I see no point in continuing the Newcomers as a separate event and agree it would be better to seed newcomers near the back of the actual races and provide awards to the best finishing newcomers in each event.

2. rubbish idea, unless they want to stop the classics coming. The Friday afternoon slot is the most vulnerable to weather, as we know, and I see no merits exchanging problems for one class for problems for another class. A more positive approach coud be to hold the first race on the Saturday afternoon following practice week, as they used to. The Friday afternoon of race week could then be used for parade laps and the like, which would be less disastrous if cancelled than a race. NOTE that if using Saturday as race rather than practice the amount of weekday practice should be increased, perhaps by reinstating the much missed long Thursday afternoon session or bringing back some untimed morning sessions.

3. I think FE would be a popular addition to the programme, though some in the corridors of power have indicated they would like to see the classics gone. It would be great to see the TZs back on track, a few RGs and maybe some big Moriwakis.

Also worth considering I think, would be to include a separate class for 1970s-era F750 bikes. Would people like to hear the likes of Tridents and Ducatis howling round? I know I would Smile

4. Unfaired bikes...... I don't see the attraction of this to be honest.

In my perfect world there would be more practice, followed by:

Saturday
pm Senior Classic

Monday
am Lightweight/Ultra Lightweight
pm Junior/Lightweight Classic

Wednesday
am Junior
pm Forgotten Era/F750

Friday
am Senior
pm Parade laps/laps of honour
04-09-2008, 02:05 PM
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shipleymanx Offline
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#5
RE: Proposed changes to the MGP programme
For those thinking about getting rid of the classic, just look at the average age of the visitor to the island when the MGP is on. The whole point of this exercise is to boost tourist figures. The dept of tourism seems to be putting presure on the MMCC to come up with a package that attracts the people over. As the tourist board subsidises each rider i would imagine they have to justify cost against gains to Tynwald. Re TZ's even in their hey day they were not that reliable, how many machines could get round now?
04-09-2008, 02:44 PM
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sticky Offline
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#6
RE: Proposed changes to the MGP programme
I think the Newcomers has definitely had it's day. For the last few years grids have been small. I would certainly concur with placing them in whatever race their bike fits in and having their own awards structure, including a podium and reps, within that race.

I'm not sure when talking about unfaired bikes whether they mean classic as per the Lansdowne series, or un-faired modern machines. Thundersport GB have attempted to run a Streetfighters class this season and have been positively underwhelmed with entries, so I'd say that's a non-starter...

I would LOVE to see a Post Classic / Forgotten Era race. I'd run it in two classes, say 1973-78 and 1979-86ish. TZ350 vs Tridents & Commandos and reverse cylinder TZ250s v Harris', P&M etc. You'd certainly get more on the grid than the Newcomers can currently provide. Also, you'd have a 50/50 split of modern and classic classes, so hopefully everyone would find something they like!

The whole point of the Manx for me is that it ISN'T the TT. I want the variety of machinery and the relaxed atmosphere.

As far as the scheduling of the races goes maybe have the Light/Ultra Lightweight to start followed by the Senior Classic, keep the program as it already is for Wednesday and end with the Post Classic/FE and the Senior.
04-09-2008, 03:01 PM
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cargo
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#7
RE: Proposed changes to the MGP programme
shipleymanx Wrote:For those thinking about getting rid of the classic, just look at the average age of the visitor to the island when the MGP is on. The whole point of this exercise is to boost tourist figures. The dept of tourism seems to be putting presure on the MMCC to come up with a package that attracts the people over. As the tourist board subsidises each rider i would imagine they have to justify cost against gains to Tynwald. Re TZ's even in their hey day they were not that reliable, how many machines could get round now?

I quite like the gist of that but it does upset me that we'd be losing the newcomers race.
And for very selfish reasons I like the programme order you suggest..........................I'd get me a bike for the post classic/ forgotten era and I'd have 3 races in a week
04-09-2008, 03:26 PM
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Gstarron Offline
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#8
RE: Proposed changes to the MGP programme
Some good ideas... and most I can say "Yes" to.

I will repeat a few things mentioned...

First, there are two important goals for any race type event... numbers of people (both racers and spectators) and Safety. The numbers of people produce the money...

But, I would like to talk Safety. even "if" this may not be the best spot.. it is very important. There are some safety rules already in place, but need to be re-visited. Oil containment.. needs to be better defined, and should add absorbment pads to the rules. And yes ALL bikes, even the Classics should have containment and the pads. The pads are cheap..! They cost me about 1 £ for two of them. I run two at all times..! We have all seen both modern and classics drop oil, and it is my opinion that the pads will greatly reduce oil on the road. Seems like a catch can is not effective in the turns, and this is where the pads can be a big improvement. This would also improve the racing conditions when there is less oil to race around or clean up..!! I do not see any negative here... but yes some classic bikes may need some exhaust changes to fit a pan of some sort on them. Here in the states we laugh, as some guys use a baking pan... Now, as I have stated, I have no technical data that says how effective this would be, but some simple testing can be done to verify. It will be about a month of more before my bike gets home, and I promised to do a home test... not that scientiffic, but it will hopefully give me some peace of mind.

OK, back to the main topic.... I wonder why the Newcomer Race is down on entries..? Eliminating the race does not fix anything... less new racers sooner or later means less entries... So, someone needs to find out why less people want to join the fold.. That said, I have seen some years where the fast one or two bikes, run away and hide from the rest... and only one or two racers get a replica. Perhaps, just for this race, a change in that would encourage more people.?? Keep in mind newcomers that have "lived" on or at the IOM for years always seem to have an advantage over racers that have little IOM exposure. Perhaps run the Newcomers on Saturday..? Then have a short..? practice session afterwards, weather permitting. This would open up a slot on Monday for a "neo - classic" event. IF a neo-classic race was run, then I would also suggest that the cut off year for the Classics be moved down to like 1970, as this would put bikes like the Paton in to the neo-classic and eliminate those "complaints" from the Classic crowd. And it would open up the field in the Neo Classic and make that an awesome event..! But, as there is a big range in speeds between the Neo Classics, I would also suggest there be two races, based somewhat like a lightweight and heavyweight class distinction. Remember the goal is to increase the number of bikes competing, not reduce them...! (thus increasing the number of tourists to the Isle...).

I would not like to have the Sr Classic on Friday... as others have stated, Friday could mean Saturday or no day... I do like the idea of moving the Friday races (what ever they are) to Thursday, and have Friday and Saturday as back ups. Remember that some or many..? of the Senior guys went home and missed racing on Saturday, that also needs to be fixed... and moving the race up a day, may do it. Also remember that last year, there was no Senior race...do that a few more times, and the Senior class will diminish for sure.. It costs far tooooooo much to get a bike to the IOM and pay all the expenses to not race.

Hope I did not bore anyone...

Cheers..!!!

Ron - see you next year..! (if I get the funding).
04-09-2008, 04:09 PM
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The Bag Offline
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#9
RE: Proposed changes to the MGP programme
As an Ambassador for the MGP I was at the meeting held by the MMCC on the first Sunday of the MGP. The proposed changes were all talked about in great length, the meeting scheduled for 1hr 2mins took over 2 1/2 hours. It was generally felt by most people there that the MGP is promoted as a classic event and not a full event that it is. newcomers are down but it was generally agreed that the newcomers race should stay in place for the following reasons.

1 It is a big lure to road racers that they could have the chance to win a race on the TT course.

2 Putting newcomers at the back of Junior/Senior MGP races could be a major safety issue due to the fact that the leaders of the said racers would catch the slower newcomers and passing would be dangerous. Whilst top MGP racers and newcomers are mixed in practice, overtaking is not critical to a race position so a top mgp racer would be lenient, in a race situation this would be unlikely to happen. That fact was put across by myself and other mgp winners. It is also important that newcomers can have their first race without having to worry about very fast racers passing them.
It was decided that the newcomers event needs a big push similar to the TT to see if more can be attracted.


3 It was also generally agreed that a " new class" which may be a "forgotten era or post classic" would generate a new spectator and rider interest. The idea being that the FE race would run at the back of the NC race with a split, like the LWT/ULWT MGP, the reason being that as newcomers numbers were just 40 this year, it would be reasonable to expect a similar number of FE bikes making a sensible amount of bikes on the track for spectators to watch.
The FE running at the back of the NC's was based upon the fact that the quickest FE racer would not be lapping too much quicker than the slower NC';s on modern bikes whilst if the race was run the other way round then as we've seen, the quick NC's would be lapping considerably quicker than the slower FE racers.

Also it was suggested that the NC and FE races be 3 laps as opposed to 4, reasons being it would make the NCs first race that bit easier and also the FE bikes would have more chance of doing 3 lap races. The TZ's etc mentioned were deemed as less reliable, however lets not forget that they were doing 6 lap races in their day? Even a modern 250 would do well to do 6 laps!!

4 It was suggested that both the Senior MGP and Senior Classic were run on the last day of racing, what is the problem with that? A Senior finale to the MGP?

5 The unfaired class was suggested but not particularly received with much enthusiasm.

Non of the discussions talked about at the meeting are definate plans, but merely suggestions.
It was nice to see the MMCC taking an active interest in what the riders/spectators would like and they should be both congratulated and encouraged to continue this positive approach.

One of the problems these days with wanting to run races on different days and closing the roads more often for practices is that the locals (non manx I might add) don't like it and kick up a stink, which whilst I have little sympathy for people who move to an island famous for road racing then moan about it, their opinions and voices carry alot of clout as most of the t**ts are within the financial sector and as we all know, MONEY TALKS!!

Russ
Meanwhile back on planet earth..........
(This post was last modified: 04-09-2008, 05:25 PM by The Bag.)
04-09-2008, 05:19 PM
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Tomcat Offline
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#10
RE: Proposed changes to the MGP programme
The Bag Wrote:2 Putting newcomers at the back of Junior/Senior MGP races could be a major safety issue due to the fact that the leaders of the said racers would catch the slower newcomers and passing would be dangerous. Whilst top MGP racers and newcomers are mixed in practice, overtaking is not critical to a race position so a top mgp racer would be lenient, in a race situation this would be unlikely to happen. That fact was put across by myself and other mgp winners. It is also important that newcomers can have their first race without having to worry about very fast racers passing them.
It was decided that the newcomers event needs a big push similar to the TT to see if more can be attracted.

Russ, I agree with most of what you say. However I have grave reservations about the problems of running 2 races on the final Friday in view of the changeable weather we have had in recent years (which looks set to continue if the global warming crowd are to be believed) and I truly believe that unless the organisation of the meeting adapts to take account of this you will see more riders not coming. It's a lot of time and money not to race, and the programme I suggested would normally allow time to run a single race on Friday with the option of cancelling the afternoon parade which would be a lesser penalty. Please bear in mind also one of the attractions to the Classic boys is the ability to have both races done by Wednesday and away before the end of the week, missing the weekend ferry rush and allowing time to get settled back at home after 2 hectic weeks away.

My main disagreement is with the concept of the Newcomers race still being valid. Remember these boys are in many cases also getting entries for the Junior and Senior so despite having their own race at the start of the week they will still be running at the back of the major races and many will be passed. I am not aware this has been a problem. It happens in the NC race anyway doesn't it, where you have 750s out with 125s? If you can attract enough interest and new blood over to fill the grid in a NC event that's great, because as stated that equates to bigger grids overall. However while you have high costs, more bureaucracy, less practice and races being cut to the length of a practice session I think you will struggle.

As for putting FE machines in with Newcomers I think it's a mistake. Firstly because I think there will be a lot of interest in FE/F750 and you don't want to be turning people away or they won't come back. Secondly I think you underestimate the speed of the older bikes. The 500 classics are lapping over the ton and I reckon the faster FE bikes would be not far off 110, considerably faster than the smaller NC machines and probably half the NC 600s as well. You won't get away from passing if you mix classes.

And don't cut race lengths. I did 6 lap races on my TZ350 back in the 80s and never once had a DNF. It was tiring, sure, but cutting back to 4 laps was a blow and cutting further would be an insult. The TT still runs 6 lappers, and those boys don't have to fork out entry fees like we do at the Manx.

And lastly if I may make a suggestion, people who try to decide what the races should be by talking to current riders are missing a trick. They should be talking to those who have abandoned the races and finding out why, or those who haven't been yet and finding out what it would take to get them across. There's no point selling to people who are already your customers.
(This post was last modified: 05-09-2008, 08:50 AM by Tomcat.)
05-09-2008, 08:47 AM
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thewitch
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#11
RE: Proposed changes to the MGP programme
"And lastly if I may make a suggestion, people who try to decide what the races should be by talking to current riders are missing a trick. They should be talking to those who have abandoned the races and finding out why, or those who haven't been yet and finding out what it would take to get them across. There's no point selling to people who are already your customers."
[/quote]


That's an interesting and very good point... the basis of marketing, too.
As I was reading further up your piece I was wondering how many who had entered last year's Senior, and not got a race, have not come back... anyone know... anyone ask them why?
I don't expect the already under pressure MMCC staff to do this, but maybe it's a winter job for ambassadors... contact people you know who used to come, as riders or spectators and ask what would bring them back.
As Paul Phillips has a lot of experience encouraging TT newcomers, maybe ask for his help to attract Manx newcomers, either directly, or just by sharing what worked with TT entries.
05-09-2008, 09:09 AM
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sticky Offline
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#12
RE: Proposed changes to the MGP programme
Correct me if I'm wrong but is Paul's job title not 'TT and MOTORSPORT development manager' ? So surely it's already in his job spec to be talking to past and future riders?
05-09-2008, 09:16 AM
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maggie Offline
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#13
RE: Proposed changes to the MGP programme
I'd just like to say please think very carefully before introducing racing to the middle Saturday IF it means that they will lose a potential practise-session! Of the 7 scheduled sessions, the way things are at the moment, these are not all going to happen and every single one is absolutely vital. Incidentally, even a "controlled lap" with the travelling marshalls as they did with the Newcomers on Monday would be preferable, surely, to NO lap at all?
Sorry this is a bit of a sideways comment but I do think that the serious lack of practise these days needs to be considered also. What does everyone think?
05-09-2008, 10:24 AM
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thewitch
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#14
RE: Proposed changes to the MGP programme
Paul P does already encourage people to do the MGP, but what I was meaning was that he share what has worked for him, so the ambassadors can also use those approaches.
They are meeting club racers etc, all over Scotland, England, Ireland and Wales that he cannot reach.
As they say in Scotland "twa heids are better than yin" and his ideas can only help. Come to that, they might give him some too.
05-09-2008, 10:50 AM
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Tomcat Offline
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#15
RE: Proposed changes to the MGP programme
maggie Wrote:I'd just like to say please think very carefully before introducing racing to the middle Saturday IF it means that they will lose a potential practise-session! Of the 7 scheduled sessions, the way things are at the moment, these are not all going to happen and every single one is absolutely vital. Incidentally, even a "controlled lap" with the travelling marshalls as they did with the Newcomers on Monday would be preferable, surely, to NO lap at all?
Sorry this is a bit of a sideways comment but I do think that the serious lack of practise these days needs to be considered also. What does everyone think?

I absolutely agree, and the lack of practice is one of the ways the event has been cut back since I started doing it. Not only does it cut down on the enjoyment of the event but I believe it is a serious safety issue. Riders are now under more pressure than ever to learn the course and qualify in fewer, more crowded, practice sessions. All it takes is a couple of sessions rained off and a mechanical problem and you can really struggle to qualify. That's why I noted above that if the middle Saturday was to be used for the first race of the card (as it used to be) that adequate time needs to be given to additional practice. You can probably remember the days of morning practice and the long Thursday afternoon session. It was great. Even if the morning sessions were untimed they gave you the chance to get extra laps in and learn the course.

In these days of increased emphasis on safety it's disgraceful that practice has been cut back. Personally I'd put the lives of riders above a wake-up call for a few idle bankers.
(This post was last modified: 08-09-2008, 09:01 AM by Tomcat.)
08-09-2008, 08:59 AM
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cargo
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#16
RE: Proposed changes to the MGP programme
I've given some thought to using the middle Saturday and have come to the conclusion that it's a good idea,
It should be possible to get a road closing order for the whole day and so enable a longer practise session AND to end the day a newcomers race.
Obviously newcomers would not be able to enjoy the long practise session but we'd be getting their race done and still get a FE/post classic as wel.................I think thats called a win win situation.

It's a Saturday so traffic problems are lessened and also there should be no shortage of marshals.
Worth considering i think
08-09-2008, 09:11 AM
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thewitch
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#17
RE: Proposed changes to the MGP programme
Well, I hate to be the one to spoil the partySad ... and I thought Nick might have come in here, BUT... the middle weekend, the whole island is taken up with the Manx Two Day Trial, which alternates sidecars in the north one day and the south the next and solos vice versa.
We can't ruin another bike event, so... sadly this wouldn't work. Incidentally the following weekend is the Classic Two Day, which is definitely worth a look.Smile
Some great ideas in this thread, so I'm sure you'll come up with more.
08-09-2008, 12:50 PM
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Tomcat Offline
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#18
RE: Proposed changes to the MGP programme
Actually I rather like Cargo's idea. As much as I'd love to see a return to the days of decent amounts of practice I appreciate there would be 'political' issues these days. And I don't think we should underestimate the safety value of giving the riders more practice time - or the attraction of that to bring people back.

But yes, using all day Saturday - practice PM, racing AM - would give some improvements in available practice time as well as making the race programme less vulnerable to final Friday weather.

As for the 2-day, what used to happen in years past when there was a Saturday race? Why can't they schedule events well away from the course on the Saturday with freedom to go where they want on the Sunday? It can't be that hard surely?
08-09-2008, 01:05 PM
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David Taylor Offline
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#19
RE: Proposed changes to the MGP programme
This is an excellent thread and the range of ideas and suggestions put forward is exactly what is needed. The exchange of opinions in a healthy debate can only be in the best interests of the Manx - nothing is cast in stone for all time and the MGP cannot be an exception to that maxim.

Having said that, we have all (- both club & riders) come under pressure from circumstances that are outside our control. The practice situation is clearly a very hot topic amongst competitors and there's nothing we'd all like more than extra practice. I suspect that one of the reasons so many riders now enter both the ULWT and the Junior is because it lets you 'double up' on practice. But that is only a flexible response from riders to what is clearly a pressing issue.

It's clear that we're not going to get any more practice sessions. A vociferous element amongst the local population won't tolerate the idea of additional road closures. Just look at the fallout from this year's delayed racing on the Wednesday of race week. Whilst the racing must be partially responsible for the traffic delays, apparently a couple of rather unfortunate traffic accidents compounded the problem substantially. It would be easy to start pointing accusatory fingers at the banking sector but it may be a knee jerk reaction. I marshaled the N/C race last year at Brandish with a bloke who worked for one of the large banks and had come to the Island because he wanted to be involved in the races!

The club also has an enormous task on its hands just getting enough marshals for the existing practice sessions. Employers on the Island are apparently not as willing or as flexible as they once were to release staff for marshalling duties. The insurance-driven environment we're now in means that there's no taking liberties with minimum marshalling levels either. If the TT with its substantially greater clout can't get a Thursday afternoon practice session, we don't have much chance. Morning sessions are obviously completely out of the question in this atmosphere.

The practice situation also has implications for the racing classes that can be accommodated. At the moment we are able to split the racing into 2 sessions along fairly straightforward performance lines. If, as has been suggested elsewhere in the thread, we were to introduce machines that differ substantially in performance, we’d have to further segment practice with the obvious reduction in track time that would entail. Apparently one of the concerns of the ACU is the disparity in performance between machines at opposite ends of the performance spectrum. Whether you or I as competitors are concerned is a moot point – we are beholden to the ACU and its insurers in this respect.

This also affects the problem of what to do about the Newcomers Race. It’s readily apparent that there are serious concerns due to falling numbers of entrants. This year there were only 40 or so starters, which is way below the level considered viable for the continuation of the race. I believe that the threshold for viability is about 70 riders, which clearly is not the case at the moment.

In regards to how to augment or eventually replace the Newcomers Race, a number of people have offered the suggestion of a Forgotten Era race. It’s been pointed out to me by a couple of the classic racers that a TZ350 (say) is by no means a cheap option and the Forgotten Era class doesn’t have a great number of participants in UK circuit racing. That would obviously mean that there’s a limited pool of riders from which to attract an entry at any possible MGP race. The secondary problem here is that if you try to augment the N/C race with an FE race, the ACU probably wouldn’t look favourably on having experienced riders on potentially fairly quick machinery on circuit at the same time as inexperienced newcomers.

My belief is that if, through continued debate, we can garner enough support for constructive ways to augment the present MGP race setup, that is the way to go. The introduction of 650cc twins into the ULWT is one such example. The N/C Race is in trouble, as is the LWT with only 20 entries from 250cc riders and the ULWT 125cc entry. We need to find a racing format that could be used to augment the current level of entrants without driving away any of the existing competitors. This could be Forgotten Era or Mini-Twins or Sound of Thunder. Standing still isn’t an option but we don’t want to throw out the baby with the bath water.
David Taylor
08-09-2008, 06:05 PM
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Will Loder Offline
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#20
RE: Proposed changes to the MGP programme
I think a forgotten era/post classic/unlimited classic race would be a great idea. But I personally can't see how you could run it off the back of the newcomers as I'm pretty sure the top guys would lap faster than most of the Newcomers, if the top classic guys on 500s are nudging 110mph laps then the same bloke on an unlimited classic bike would go considerably faster, the 850 weslake my dad used to race had nearly 30hp more than his 500 and weighed near enough the same. So 115+mph has to be on the cards for an unlimited classic, nevermind what a top guy could do on an rg500! Also the post classic/forgotten era/unlimited classic class is very well supported at the classic club/icgp and i'm sure many more bikes would be dusted off if there was a class for them at the manx!

Moving the senior classic does't make sense to me, but the forgotten era race should be scheduled so the classic guys can ride in it!
08-09-2008, 11:47 PM
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