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Newcomer John Simpson wins Senior Manx Grand Prix

'I didn't know I'd won until I came in at the end and they directed me to the winners' enclosure and then it was even more unreal when I found out I'd won' - John Simpson
Manx Grand Prix newcomer John Simpson claimed a dream victory in the feature Senior race yesterday for Splitlath Racing.

The 21-year-old thought his chance of claiming a coveted win on his debut at the event had passed him by after he was ruled out of the Newcomers A race last Saturday while holding third place.

But the Northern Irishman could scarcely believe his luck after he crossed the finish line on the famous Glencrutchery Road to learn he had won the showpiece race of the festival on his Triumph 675.

Irish rider Wayne Kirwan looked a safe bet to complete a double after his success earlier in the week in the Junior event, but as conditions worsened on the final lap of four, Simpson clawed back a huge deficit of over one minute.

Kirwan eventually finished third as Andrew Soar - another newcomer - made huge inroads on the final lap of the 37.73-mile Mountain Course to snatch the runner-up spot.

Simpson - the current British Supersport Cup champion - told the Belfast News Letter: "There was absolutely no way I could have imagined winning the Senior race.

"I thought my chance had gone after the Newcomers race and to go and win the Senior is a bit special.

"Conditions on that last lap were really tricky because it was virtually wet all around and it was really slippery.

"I didn't know I'd won until I came in at the end and they directed me to the winners' enclosure and then it was even more unreal when I found out I'd won."

Simpson is set to make his full Isle of Man TT debut with British Superbike team Splitlath Racing in 2013.

He added: “It's obviously been a great week in some respects but it's been a very sad one as well with the deaths of Steve Osborne in practice and then Trevor Ferguson.

"This is a risky business and it's a mad sport, but we love it and I'm sure Trevor was enjoying himself right until the very end."

Simpson - ninth at the end of lap one - also had the honour of becoming the first rider to win the Senior Manx Grand Prix on a Triumph since 1948, with his final lap at 99.736mph on wet roads enough to secure a shock result.

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