With manufacturer interest being led by Honda, who have almost 75% of the field on the popular K4 machine, last year’s winner Dominic Herbertson will start as slight favourite for honours having put in a superb ride twelve months ago.
Starting at number nine, Herbertson, one of only five riders to lap at more than 104mph in the class, continues with the Davies Motorsport team who will be quietly confident of taking the top spot again, especially as they also have Lee Johnston in their ranks once more.
Third last year for the Burton upon Trent based team, Johnston also won the race in 2014 on the Black Eagle MV Agusta and remains the lap record holder with a speed of 105.239mph.
He’ll be keen to get back onto the top step of the podium but so too will Michael Rutter, who’s already tasted victory in the race in both 2015 and 2017. He also took second to Michael Dunlop in 2016 and, continuing on the Ripley Land Racing Honda, has a great chance of taking win number three.
He may no longer be with Davies Motorsport but Alan Oversby certainly can’t be counted out on the Pipe Werx Exhausts Honda either, but one pre-race favourite has to be Jamie Coward who once more rides the Ted Woof/Craven Honda after taking second place for the last two years.
The honour of setting off first down Glencrutchery Road goes to Paul Jordan on the Ripley Land Racing AJS previously ridden by Chris Palmer and Cameron Donald, whilst Chris Swallow is another one of the few non-Honda riders as he opts for the PKP Bladon Enterprises/Hall Green Velocette.
His father, Bill, is another Honda pilot as he rides the Gleve Racing/John Poyner machine and the Japanese giant are further represented by the CSC Racing pairing of Michael Sweeney and Maria Costello, Greenall Racing’s Derek Sheils, and Craig Neve who makes a welcome return from injuries sustained at the North West 200 riding for JK Construction.
Like his other races, Joey Thompson will again ride for the John Chapman Racing concern and sets off ten seconds behind fellow youngster Jordan, whilst the only other rider in the top twenty seeds not to be Honda mounted is former 125cc Grand Prix rider Danny Webb who campaigns the Dunnell Racing Norton for the third time.
All of the other seeded riders will be on board the favoured 350cc twin cylinder Honda with Hefyn Owen, Alex Sinclair, David Madsen-Mygdal, Steve Ferguson, Rob Hodson and Richard Wilson all more than capable of getting into the top six.
There are plenty of other riders who could threaten the top ten including Mark Herbertson (23), Dave Matravers (27), French visitor Lancelot Unissart (35), former Manx Grand Prix podium finisher Chris McGahan (45) and TT star Conor Cummins (36) who’ll have his regular 350cc Honda at his disposal.
A number of other TT runners are also entered including Barry Lee Evans (30), Dave Moffitt (37), Scott Wilson (44) and former Senior Manx GP winner Tom Weeden (47) who rides the Goathland Garage Norton. Current Manx GP front runner, and victor in the second Lightweight race last year, Andrew Farrell (29) will also be on the grid.
Charles Rhys Hardisty (31) will be on one of the few 250cc machines in the field, riding a 250cc Ducati for his regular Kaymac Marine/Wilson and Wilding team.
The four-lap race is scheduled to get underway at 10.15am on Monday 27th August.
The top 20 start list for the Locate.im Junior Classic TT can be found here.
For further information about the festivities across the Classic TT weekend, visit the Festival Pages.
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Images courtesy of Pacemaker Press