The 2012 Manx Grand Prix Festival got off to a difficult start with fog halting the first evening of qualifying after just one lap. The Junior machines were the only ones to complete a full lap in anger on Monday with all other classes caught out by the weather.
Saturday’s opening practice day had already been disrupted with only a speed-controlled lap for the newcomers possible. Not enough marshalls were available to man the mountain course with no fewer than 23 posts unfilled, forcing the organisers to limit speed in the interests of safety.
Qualifying did get underway as scheduled on Monday despite damp patched at Handleys, Ramsey Hairpin and Governors Dip and the 600cc bikes were first out. Last year’s runner-up Paul Smyth and Andy Lawson took to the roads first but Jamie Coward was the quickest at Glen Helen, clocking 169mph through the Sulby speed trap along the way.
By the time he’d reached the finish, Coward had averaged to 111.4656mph to set the target time at 20:18.564 but Mike Minns would come through 10.567s quicker on his 650cc Kawasaki ER6. Trevor Ferguson was also looking competitive, matching Coward’s time.
With the fog rolling in, clerk of the course Phil Taubman flagged the Juniors after one lap in the hope that the Classic, Lightweight and Newcomer classes would all get the chance for some track time. Conditions wouldn’t improve sufficiently though and instead of riding around the mountain course at racing speed, the likes of Russ Mountford, Dan Kneen and Ryan Farquhar were flagged at Parliament Square before being escorted by marshalls at a controlled pace.