Full grids are guaranteed at the Blackford Financial Services Pre TT-Classic Road Races with 294 entries having been received for the prestigious Classic event which celebrates its 30th Anniversary this year, having been introduced as the opening event of the Isle of Man TT Festival back in 1988.
The nine-race programme caters for single cylinder 250cc & 350cc machines, Lightweight 250cc, Junior 350cc, Senior 500cc, 850cc Classics, Classic Superbike's and Sidecars.
The Solo races remain the same as the successful format of the previous years, whilst the Sidecar competitors once again have two four-lap races, one on the Saturday afternoon with the second being run on the Monday morning, which will include Post TT Classic machines.
As in previous years a Solo Support Race has been included in Monday’s race programme to cater for the number of entries received.
Bill Swallow - Gleeve 499 Moto Paton Mike Hose - Ripley Land 350 Honda
At the end of the 2017 Blackford’s Pre-TT Classic Road Races two riders, Huddersfield’s Bill Swallow and Morton, Wirral man, Mike Hose had duelled throughout the event to become the most successful Classic Racer at Billown.
Mike was first to draw equal to Bill’s total of 15, then Bill went one ahead to 16 only for Mike to draw level again one race later!
The two friends will renew their rivalry once again, once the action gets underway on the 4.25-mile Colas Billown Course in May.
With entries having closed of the 155 individual competitors entered, 23 are newcomers, with a further 12 making their debut the Pre-TT Classic races but have raced on the course previously at the Southern 100 International Road Races.
Some 14 competitors are making the journey from Europe, including ex-world Championship Grand Prix racer Bernard Fau who will have a brace of Yamaha's in his stable, a 250 twin and a 750 four.
Bernard competed in the world championships (now MotoGP) between 1975 and 1983, with a best championship position of 11th in the 500cc (Premier) class in 1981 and second privateer rider.
His best race result was a fourth in the 1979 West German Grand Prix 500cc race.
Eight of the 14 are in the Sidecar races which will, as usual add extra spice to the ‘slideys’ as they negotiate their way around the tight and technical southside course.
In addition to the 16-wins apiece duo of Bill Swallow and Mike Hose other names to watch include, Barry Davidson, Brian Mateer, Ewan Hamilton, Rich Hawkins, Jamie Coward, Chris McGahan, James Cowton, Alan Oversby, and Ivan Lintin to name just a few.
One thing is for certain, however, every one of the entries in the 2018 Blackford’s Pre-TT Classic Road Races will be giving their all once the action starts and racing will be close and exciting as it has been over the previous twenty-nine years!
The Blackford’s Pre-TT Classic Road Races gets underway with the first of two practice sessions on Friday Evening 25th May, at 6.00pm with roads opening at 9.35pm.
Saturday Afternoon 26th May sees the continuation of qualifying plus two races, the Office Equipment Centre Singles Race followed by Sidecar Race 1. The action takes place between 12.10pm and 4.15pm
Sunday 27th May sees the final seven races being held between 1.00pm and 8.30pm at the latest.
(Should force majeure cause the cancellation of the Saturday evening practice on the TT Mountain Course, the Sunday Races on the Colas Billown Course, will be moved to Bank Holiday Monday 27th with a morning session 9.10am - 12.20pm and concluding with the Afternoon session 1.05pm and 4.10pm.)
The unique Prize Presentation and Concourse D' elegance takes place on Monday 27th May in Castletown Square between 1.45pm and 4.00pm. (Tuesday 28th May if Racing takes place on Monday.)
(Photographs courtesy of Richard Radcliffe)