After a frustrating delay of over an hour due to cars being left parked on the course, the 2017 Classic TT Races presented by Bennetts finally got underway on the Isle of Man at 6.30pm.
Eleven newcomers had the honour of being first on the track with their obligatory speed controlled ‘sighting’ lap, under the guidance of experienced campaigners John Barton, one of the Rider Liaison Officers, and 1993 Formula 1 TT Race winner Nick Jefferies.
With the newcomers first Mountain Course laps untimed throughout the evening, the action really got underway shortly before 6.30pm and it was local rider Dan Kneen on the Mistral Racing Kawasaki who was first away in the Superbike session.
In the absence of Michael Dunlop, who switched to a four-wheeled challenge in the weekend’s Ulster Rally and who will begin his qualifying campaign on Monday, Austrian Horst Saiger, riding the Greenall Racing Kawasaki, clocked the fastest lap of the evening with his opening lap of 117.18mph.
Double Manx Grand Prix race winner Andrew Dudgeon, also riding a Kawasaki, was second fastest on the night with 115.39mph from Australian David Johnson (114.67) and the returning Lee Johnston (114.14) on the Team York and Team Classic Suzuki’s respectively.
In the Lightweight class Kiwi Bruce Anstey, on the Padgetts Motorcycles Honda, predictably picked up where he left off last year with an opening lap of 113.07 while former British 125 Champion Dan Cooper showed his two-stroke experience with a lap of 109.84.
Jamie Coward posted the fastest (108.04) and third fastest laps (105.69) in the Senior Class, which got underway shortly after 7.10pm with Alan Oversby (106.52) separating his two laps while Maria Costello signalled her intention to follow up last year’s Senior Classic TT podium with an opening lap of 103.31 on the Team Beugger Racing Paton and Dominic Herbertson (103.22) on the Davies Motorsport Honda completing the top five.
In the Junior Classic TT session, Australian Cameron Donald put down his TV microphone and clocked 94.65mph on the much anticipated McIntosh Racing Norton with Lee Johnston, the 2014 Race winner opening up with a lap of 93.98 on the Black Eagle Racing MV Agusta.
Monday evening sees the Lightweight and Superbike machines away at 6.20pm with the Senior and Junior bikes scheduled to be away from 7.10pm before the newcomers’ session shortly before 7.50pm.