Wayne Hamilton has taken victory in the Manx Grand Prix 'Newcomers' race to firm his status as a potential road racing star for the future.
First run as part of the MGP programme in 1957, the newcomers races give riders the chance to experience the challenge of the famous Isle of Man mountain circuit, without having to deal with the pressures associated with TT week.
Having produced such greats as Robert Dunlop, Phillip McAllen and Ryan Farquhar in recent years, road race fans now look to this amateur event for the next crop of TT stars to emerge.
This year, the Steam Packet backed races were unusual in that a favourite had already emerged for the 'A' race, in the shape of 20-year-old Wayne Hamilton from Portadown, who had already won a raft of races in just his second year on the pure roads, including the Supertwin class at the Dundrod 150 where he beat Farquhar himself.
Hamilton more than lived up to his growing reputation in the three lap race, by taking his Yamaha R6 to a 14 second lead over Jonathan Woodward by Ramsey hairpin on the first lap. He then stopped for fuel and, despite trouble with his pit lane speed limiter, still led down Bray Hill as news came through that Leicester man Woodward had crashed at Governors' dip.
Meanwhile, in the 'B' race for smaller machines, Wayne Axon led at the end of lap 1 from American Travis McNerney. While Axon from Weston-super-Mare, opted to not to pit, McNerney pulled in, handing second place to Gavin Lupton and third to Scott Smyth.
Back to the 'A' race and Hamilton was flying, hitting 165mph on the Sulby straight and increasing his lead to over 20 seconds from new second place man William Davison on a Honda 600 with Karl Foster in third.
Once all the pit stops had been completed, the 'B' race order going into the last lap was Lupton first on his Honda 400, then Smyth followed by Axon. Although Smyth pushed hard and managed to pull back four seconds on Lupton between Ballaugh and Ramsey hairpin, the order stayed the same to the flag giving 31-year-old Lupton his first taste of victory on the Island and the Braddan Bridge Trophy.
The last lap for the 'A' race saw local man David Kennington move up to third place but at the finish it was an Ulster 1-2 with Hamilton winning at an average speed of 112mph, from Kilrea man Davison and Kennington third.
“People were saying that I was favourite for this race but I was never going to say that I was going to win it because that's when things start to go wrong for you,” Hamilton declared afterwards. “I was just happy to go out and do what I knew I could do and keep it steady.”
By Graham Edwards