North Kelsey aces roar to career best at Isle of Man TT

Gary Bryan and Phil Hyde on their way to a personal best lap time. Picture: Clare Freestone EMN-191006-180238002
Gary Bryan and Phil Hyde on their way to a personal best lap time. Picture: Clare Freestone EMN-191006-180238002

North Kelsey sidecar racers Gary Bryan and Phil Hyde were celebrating a career-best finish at the world-famous Isle of Man TT Festival last Thursday.

Having recorded a seventh-place finish in the first sidecar race the previous week, Bryan and Hyde rode to a fine fifth place in race two, shattering their personal best lap time with a fast 113.2mph average around the 37.7-mile mountain course.

With rain and mist again halting the races, it was decided to bring the sidecar race forward a day during a break in the weather on Thursday and reduce it to a two-lap race instead of the usual three.

With five races scheduled for Thursday, plus a couple of practice laps for the solo riders, it was set to be a packed programme and every race had to go without a hitch.

Bryan and Hyde were eighth at the first sector before moving up a place at Ballaugh Bridge.

They maintained seventh place on the first lap before moving up to sixth at sector two on the final lap.

They had a good run through to Ramsey and registered fifth place on the run up the mountain.

On the run back to the grandstand they retained fifth place to take the chequered flag for their best TT finish.

They now return to domestic racing at Brands Hatch, along with stepson Todd Ellis and his passenger Charlie Richardson, for round two of the British Sidecar Championship.

Timetable: Friday – free practice 12.35pm, qualifying 5.55pm; Saturday – Race one (12 laps) 5.50pm; Sunday – warm up 9am, race two (10 laps) 2.15pm.

* Broughton rider Gary Johnson recorded six top finishes to this year’s Isle of Man TT races.

Riding for the RAF Regulars and Reserves Kawasaki team, Johnson started the week with a ninth-place finish in the Superbike race, followed by seventh in the first Supersport race.

Racing was again disrupted by the weather and didn’t resume until Thursday when Johnson rode in three races.

First up was the second Supersport race, cut to just two laps because of the hectic timetable.

He had been running in fourth place in the early stages of the first lap, but faded to sixth and then eighth on the final lap to record an eighth-place finish at the grandstand.

A few hours later he was back out on track, this time for the Superstock race where he completed the three laps in 10th position.

At 6pm, Johnson was out for a third race, this time in the Lightweight race for KMR Kawasaki, and rode well to finish the two laps in seventh position.

The final race of the week was the high-profile Senior TT where he was back on the RAF Regulars and Reserves Superbike for the gruelling six-lap affair.

He crossed the finish line in 11th to pick up a silver replica, bringing his total haul of silverware to six for the week.

No wins and no podiums, but to complete all six races while still recovering from the burn to his leg picked up in a crash at Oulton Park, was an exceptional achievement.