Wigan racers cast a winning shadow in Pits and Finishing Line over the Bank Holiday.
Bryn motorcycle road racer Rob Hodson captured two tremendous top-10 finishes in the Bennetts International Classic TT on the legendary Isle of Man.
And emerging young racer Josh Daley earned more plaudits for safe, solid rides which set the Hawkley Hall man fair for 2020’s Tourist Trophy proper.
While riders were flying the flag on the track, the area’s former famous names were helping the area to a strong presence in the race village behind the Grand Stand in Douglas.
Ex-international sidecar racer Lindsay Hurst’s Blackrod-based Ruthless Racing Team – he is the nephew of retired Swinley sidecar driver star Les Hurst – attended to provide Hodson with 40 year old twin cylinder Honda 350cc and 500cc machines.
Rob had earlier been loaned a ZXR 750cc Kawasaki from former Up Holland Suzuki GP star Dave Dean, once a team-mate of the legendary Barry Sheene OBE.
Recovery driver Rob Hodson, 34, also mentored across the Irish Sea by racer dad Jim, concluded: “A pair of silver replicas is a great end to a challenging week!”
Already reduced in length to make the best possible use of a window in the approaching rain clouds, thick fog, known in those ancient Gaelic parts as Manannan’s Cloak, had descended by the time Hodson was flagged off in the Locate.im Junior Classic TT.
This followed a frustrating qualifying week disrupted and much delayed by depressingly regular squally showers more usually the bane of June’s event around the 37 and three quarter mile long Mountain Circuit, no less than 219 turns and all.
Riding Ruthless’s 40 year old Drixton 350cc Honda, effectively a bored out ‘Black Bomber’ machine, he enjoyed the experience.
Hodson said: “I kept my head down for the full race, learning more about the bike all the time and I have to say it ran faultlessly.
“But the lack of qualifying practice meant that the gearing was still a touch out and it wasn’t fully pulling fifth gear. I finished the race in 9th place and improved my best lap to 98 mph average.
“I must say a big thank you to Ruthless Racing and Geoff Bates for having me on board for this event. It’s been brilliant and a great laugh!”
The un-cooperative weather meant the big race of the meeting, the RST Classic Superbike TT, was put back four hours, to a late tea-time start.
And that meant failing light towards its close to add to the considerable challenge already facing riders.
Hodson admits struggling a little to recalibrate his grey cells from the venerable 350cc Honda to the far more powerful Greenall Racing Kawasaki ZXR 750cc, a late substitute ride after an approach by the top Irish road racing team.
It might be 30 years old, but Rob had already demonstrated its speed potential in the qualifying.
Indeed he had blasted along the Sulby Straight section of the circuit, through the timing lights, at an eyebrow-removing
The Bryn star said: “I started the race a bit slow from adapting back to the Greenall bike with a first lap of 118mph which just wasn’t good enough to be at the sharp end of the leader board. But laps three and four went well and ended the race in seventh with a 122mph average which I was pleased with.
“The bike was perfect and the partnership with Greenall Racing has been fantastic, much appreciated and a truly memorable event.”
Daley has certainly come a long way since starting two wheeler action in MiniMotos as a schoolboy with the help of his mad-keen biker dad, Andy.
He was clearly delighted with his latest Isle of Man showing. Particularly as it was his first ever laps on the ‘classic’ machines.
Daley finished the August Bank Holiday weekend with 12th and 17th places scribed into the record books, captured in the Superbike TT and the Bennetts Senior Classic TT.
In Saturday’s four lap Senior, riding the 500cc Steadplan Primus Racing Honda, the 21-year-old took the starter’s tap on the shoulder in confident mood despite a difficult qualifying with a best lap of 97.291mph.
Progress was a touch slower during the race proper. But he climbed the leaderboard and was running in 20th at the halfway mark.
However he saved his best until last with a final lap of 98.391mph.
In Monday’s delayed Superbike Classic, Daley was quickly on pace despite again not having enjoyed the opportunity for the type of length of qualifying he would have preferred.
Opening lap saw his Steadplan Primus Racing Kawasaki breach the line with a lap of 111.413mph average and that had increased to 115.017 for the final lap to claim 12th place, which is his personal best to date around the Mountain circuit.
Next out at the penultimate National Superstock at nearby Oulton Park Circuit over the weekend September 14-16, Daley confessed afterwards that he had “never ridden so hard” to do a 100mph lap around the circuit.
He said: “The Classic bikes are certainly hard work compared to the modern bikes.”