Race Day at Billown


Saturday dawned a lovely sunny day on the Isle of Man. The second practice session for the Pre TT Classic was taking place between 12:30 and 4pm and the first three races between 17:45 and 20:45.


There was a small number of spectators at Ballabeg hairpin for the afternoon practice session, along with 3 photographers which included me, and a full complement of marshals. Ray Gawne, a local farmer, had been the flagman on the approach to the bend for many years; he has now retired. His mantle has been taken over by his son Phil, an ex MHK. Another son is the sector marshal and his granddaughter is a marshal.


The protective hay bale that Ray stood behind had also been retired. It has been deemed too dangerous for the flagman to stand there anymore. This follows a sidecar crash at the 2019 S100 where two chairs collided just missing Ray and demolishing the porch of the cottage behind him. Both cottage porches are now protected with a recticel fence. Phil now stands behind the wall of the house where the bale was in front. Ray was also in the garden to keep an eye on Phil!!


There was a change to the practice schedule with the Senior Classic bikes coming out first. Their session had been cancelled on Friday night after the incident at Iron Gate and the ‘red flag’ was displayed. Dominic Herbertson, 500 Yamaha TX Davies Motorsport, topped the session with a lap of 94.818mph. He was followed by Jamie Coward, Alan Oversby, Rob Hodson and Adam McClean. It can never be said that the Pre TT Classic doesn’t attract top talent be it old (sorry Alan) or young.


Eighteen times Pre TT Classic winner Mike Hose, 350 Bultaco AJR TSS topped the 250cc / 350cc Singles session followed by Alan Oversby’s 350cc Ripleyland 7R and Ben Rea’s 350cc Duggan Honda. As soon as one class finished the next class was underway. Dominic Herbertson, 500 Yamaha TX Davies Motorsport, was fastest in the A.D. Hewitt Dental Practice 1100cc Classic Race at 94:291mph followed by Jaime Coward and Alan Oversby.


Mike Hose was fastest in the 250cc Classic &123cc Post Classic race on his 250cc Ariel Arrow. Dominic Herbertson, 249cc JCR Honda Davies Motorsport, headed the Junior Post Classic practice and also the 350cc Junior Classic Race riding a 249cc JCR Honda. Jamie Coward posted the fasted time in the Superbike practice with a lap of 104.160mph on his 750cc Kawasaki


Such was the efficiency of the Southern 100 Club that the roads were opened up earlier than scheduled and we had an extended tea break.

Andy Kildea picking up his 750cc Honda after falling off


Dominic Herbertson at Ballabeg on his 500cc Davies Motorsport Yamaha


Tony & Sarah Banister avoiding coming to grief at Ballabeg, 750cc Triumph Thundersport


A fine afternoon turned into a fine evening, ideal for racing. However before racing began there was a practice session for the 500cc Senior Classic class that was curtailed earlier.


Now for the first time since the MGP of 2019 there was racing on the public roads of the Isle of Man. The first race of the meeting was the SP-R Singles Classic Race held over 6 laps of the 4.25 mile Colas Billown Circuit, the 35th Anniversary of the Pre TT Classic was about to start. The pole sitter was Mike Hose, 350cc Bultaco AJR TSS,he got the hole shot and walked away from the rest of the field. He recorded his 19th Pre TT Classic victory beating sixteen times winner Bill Swallow, 349 AJS Seeley, by 49.842 seconds, third was 350cc Manx Norton of David Tetley. Newcomer Andy Hunt was the first 250cc bike to finish, he brought his 250cc Ducati Monza home in 4th place. Although Mike Hose was a clear winner there were plenty of close battles further down the field. Only 0.187 seconds separated 4th from 5th and 0.162 separated 11th and 12th. Seventeen of the 21 starters made it to the finish line.


Race 2 was the A. D. Hewitt Dental Practice 1100cc Race. Dominic Herbertson was on pole along with Alan Oversby and Jaime Coward on the front row. The race was a ding dong battle between the three of them, thoroughly entertaining the crowds lining the circuit. At the end only 2.952 seconds separated the front 3 with Hertbertson’s 500cc Yamaha taking the spoils from Alan Oversby, 500cc Ireland Honda 4 and Jamie Coward’s 500cc Craven Manx Norton. There was plenty of close action further down the field, 17 of the 23 starters completed the Race.


The final race of the evening was the 3 Wheeling Sidecar Race held over 4 laps. Favourites and pole sitter Rod Bellas with Craig Dawson in the chair led from start to finish on their 1200cc BLR Imp. Tony Thirkle and Trevor Johnson’s 1070cc BMW NRE didn’t get the start they hoped for and were lying fourth at Iron Gate on the first lap behind newcomer driver Danny Quirk with passenger Dylan Weston on their 1272cc Bellas Vincent and another newcomer David Lissman and Mark Leeton, 1070cc JPR BMW.


The positions remained the same until the last lap when Lissman hit trouble, Thirkle was on a charge making up for his poor start. He had Danny Quirk in his sights but was pipped for second by just 0.233s. Fourteen of the 15 starters finished the race albeit 3 were third lap finishers. The reliability of the sidecars was impressive, it was a great evening’s racing. 


Mike Hose on his way to a 19th victory

A great ride by Andy Hunt, 250cc Ducati Monza in finishing 4th, first 250 home.


Race winner Dominic Herbertson led the field in the 1100cc Senior Classic race.


Rod Bellas and Craig Dawson last lap at Iron Gate.


The unmistakable style of Theresa Kamelander, passenger for Albert Kroepft, 630cc Kurth BMW Kneeler.. 



Mike Hammonds