Tiger, Tiger, burning bright

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The Manx Motor Racing Club’s popular Manx Classic took place from September 24-26. Highlights included a new lap record on the Willaston circuit, used for Saturday’s pursuit sprint, and the successful inauguration of a new 1.3-mile hillclimb, running up a section of the TT course from Ramsey.

The pursuit sprint was dogged by several unforeseen hurdles, including red-flag stoppages to attend the inverted cars of William Withey (Sunbeam Tiger) and Gerard Macquillan (Triumph TR4), both of whom escaped unhurt. There were other delays, too, as the circuit had to be closed to allow, firstly, a fire engine and, later, an ambulance access to a nearby housing estate, to attend a domestic fire. Eventually, the decision was taken not to bother with another restart, and results were based on positions after two laps.

This gave outright victory to Jackie Cochrane, team-mate of the aforementioned Withey, who kept his Tiger on all fours to post a best lap of 2m 34.97s (an average of 76.89 mph around the 3.31 miles). This knocked almost half a second from the previous record, set two years ago by Geoff Harris (Aston Martin DB4 GT).

Class honours went to Adam Smith (Frazer Nash), Peter Jackson (BMW 328), Julie Daniels (Vauxhall OE), Sydney Gilmore (Bentley Derby), Spencer Flack (4½-litre Bentley Le Mans Replica), Mike Sayers (Riley Sprite Special), Cochrane, Bill Goodall (Ferrari 275 GTB), Anthony Binnington (MGB), John Gray (Lotus XI Le Mans), Nick Cussons (DB4 GT Zagato) and Allen Lloyd (3.8 Jaguar E-type).

Fresh from clinching the FIA Historic GT Cup at the Salzburgring, Willaston class winner — and Manx resident — Cussons powered his DB4 GT Zagato up the new hillclimb course in 1m 13.20s on Friday afternoon, this being sufficient to clinch overall victory. Amongst the class winners were Sayers’ Riley Sprite (again, in 1m 17.24s) and former Cooper and Lotus GP racer Henry Taylor, who travelled from his current home in the south of France to record a 1m 17.49s in his short-nose Jaguar D-type.

On Friday evening, Manx Airlines sponsored the Douglas Promenade Sprint, in which David Gerald’s TVR Griffith recorded a best time of 13.32s over the standing quartermile, pipping Cochrane’s Tiger by 0.3s.

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