Manx Grand Prix

This article is about the course. For the video game, see Manx TT Superbike.
Manx Grand Prix
Venue Snaefell Mountain Course
First race 1923
Previous names Manx Amateur Road Races
Most wins (rider) Bob Heath (11)

The Manx Grand Prix motorcycle races are held on the Isle of Man TT Course (or 'Mountain Circuit') every year for a two-week period, usually spanning the end of August and early September. The 'MGP' or 'Manx' (as it is more commonly known) is considered to be the amateur rider's alternative to the Isle of Man TT Races held in May and June. The event also differs from the TT in that it does not cater for sidecars.

The event consists of six four-lap races of the 60.70 km (37.72 mi) circuit[1] which begins at the TT Grandstand in Douglas, the island's capital. The separate classes are the Newcomers Class, Lightweight/Ultra Lightweight Class, Junior Class, Senior Class and the Junior/Lightweight and Senior Classic races for older machines ('Classics').


The MGP began in 1923 as the 'Manx Amateur Road Races' or MARC. The MARC was held until 1930 when it was renamed the Manx Grand Prix. Problems were encountered initially over the definition of an 'Amateur' and indeed the first rules were extensive and open to various interpretations. Nowadays, many riders who have achieved success in the MGP move on to race in the TT but regulations prevent them from re-entering 'The Manx' unless they wish to do so on Classic machinery. Chris Palmer (former British 125cc champion) and the late Richard Britton both followed this route in 2005 aboard Manx Nortons.

In 1989 Gloria Clark became the first woman to race in the MGP, a full 66 years after it began. In 1991 she went on to gain an entry into the Guinness Book Of Records for being the fastest lady on the TT Circuit.

In 2009, 20 years after Gloria Clark became the first woman to race in the MGP, Carolynn Sells became the first woman to win a race on the Snaefell Mountain Course during the 2009 Manx Grand Prix. Carolynn also gained entry into the Guinness World Records in honour of this achievement.

The MGP is organised by the Manx Motor Cycle Club (MMCC) based on the rules and regulations of the Auto-Cycle Union (ACU) which governs most British motorcycle events.


The Newcomers class caters for riders who have no previous experience of the Mountain Circuit. Such a class does not feature in the programme of the TT and is thus the only opportunity for newcomers to race the circuit in competition. Classes are usually over-subscribed as a result. Riders are limited to machinery with a capacity not exceeding 750cc and must wear coloured bibs over their leathers during 'Practice' (see below). Newcomers are also permitted to submit an application for any of the other classes but may or may not be granted a ride depending on their levels of experience.

The Lightweight/Ultra Lightweight class is represented by machinery of 125cc, 250cc and 400cc capacity. This class featured at the TT until 2004 but is now defunct and so, like the Newcomers' class, is extremely popular. 'Lightweight' refers to the 250cc 2-stroke machines whilst Ultra-Lightweight is the 125 2-strokes and 400cc 4-stroke bikes. This class is run as two separate races on Race Days (see below) but all the machines leave the start line in the same 'Session' (see below)The Manx Grand Prix Ultra Lightweight class lap record is still held by a Yamaha fzr 400. 109.86.mph Still held by Keith Taylor. This was before tuned mini twins were made eligible.

The Junior Class features machines whose capacity must not exceed 750cc. Machines of any engine capacity between 200 and 750cc are permitted but the vast majority of entrants opt to race four-stroke 4-cylinder 600cc bikes. Some 2-stroke 250cc machines are entered and there is a separate award for the highest-placed 2-stroke finisher (see 'Awards' below.)

The Senior Class is the final race of MGP fortnight and allows for motorcycles with an engine capacity not exceeding 1000cc. Again 600cc bikes are more popular than any other but a number of 750s are sprinkled in the start list.

The Senior Classic race features the most diverse range of marques and is very popular, with a full quota of 105 entrants accepted in 2005. Entrants must field a machine with an engine capacity between 350 and 500cc. Most riders choose machines with a capacity of between 450 and 500cc and common marques include Norton, Honda, Seeley and Matchless with the odd BSA and Ducati.

The Junior/Lightweight Classic is open to machines of 350cc capacity or lower. Run as separate races for machines between 250-350cc (Junior) and under 250cc (Lightweight) all bikes are on-circuit at the same time during the race, but are released at separate class intervals. (This procedure also applies to the Lightweight/Ultra Lightweight.)

In 2008 the Manx Motor Cycle Club recognised the emergence of Post Classic racing These machines manufactured in the 1980s have also had a history of being raced on the Isle of Man TT course. The 2009 Post Classic Race was introduced with regulations designed to test machine availability. They stated “it has been agreed to keep these regulations as flexible as possible, but they may be subject to change in 2010”.

Whilst being encouraged by the interest in the 2009 Post Classic Race the number of four stroke entries were fewer than expected. The reasons were perceived to be certain restrictions, and the cut off date of 1981.

The Formula Classic race is to allow 750cc pre-1973 Classic four stroke machines (now 850cc pre 1974 as for the 2011 meeting) to compete alongside the 500cc “Senior Classic” machines. The Senior Post Classic: for 601 to 1050cc four stroke machines and 351 to 750cc two stroke machines, cut off date 31 December 1985. The Junior Post Classic: four stroke machines up to 600cc, cut off date 31 December 1985 and two stroke machines up to 350cc, Grand Prix Factory Bikes Steel frame or period aluminium frame, any brakes, any wheels, cut off date 31 December 1984. Standard frames, Standard fairing, any ignition, no airboxes. Any brakes. Cut off dates 1 January 1985 – 31 December 1991.

Both the Senior Post Classic and Junior Post Classic are being run concurrently meaning one race with 2 separate classes.

By 2011, the Senior Post Classic was renamed as the Classic Superbike race or "Polo Class" and the introduction of a Twin Cylinder (Super Twin) MGP Race incorporating 650cc four stroke and 250cc two stroke machines and the reworking of the Lightweight MGP Race, limiting the race to 400cc four stroke, 125cc two stroke and the exciting new 450cc single cylinder machines.

As mentioned previously, newcomers must wear a coloured bib (usually orange or yellow) during practice sessions to distinguish themselves to other riders. Similarly, classic riders are obliged to wear white bibs. This does not apply during races as all the riders are obviously in the same class.

Format of the races

The first week of MGP fortnight is devoted to 'Practice.' Riders are given the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the course and must complete a minimum number of laps at a satisfactory speed in order to qualify for the races held in week 2.

Practising always begins on a Saturday evening (19 August in 2006) and is held the following Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Marshals around the course 'Close the Roads' at 6pm and practising begins at 6.15pm, with roads re-opening to the public at around 8.15pm. Practice is split into two 'groups' – 'All classes except Classic and Ultra Lightweight' and 'Classic and Ultra Lightweight only.' Session times are 6.15pm to 7.10pm and 7.15pm to 8.10pm and throughout the course of the week these groups interchange between the sessions, so for example Classic/Ultra L'Weight may start at 6.15 on Monday and 7.15 on Tuesday.

On the first evening of Practice, Newcomers are escorted around the course on a speed-controlled lap by the Traveling Marshals (8 marshals on bikes who lap the course regularly to check for problems.) They are then at liberty to circulate at their desired pace.

Racing then begins 2 days later on the Monday (28 August in 2006.) Practices are NEVER held on Sundays but continue into 'Race Week' for some of the later classes in the 'Race Programme' (see immediately below.)

The Race Programme is identical every year, with two races held on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of Race Week to make up the six classes. All classes cover four laps of the course, a distance of 242.8 km (150.9 mi).

Saturday: Newcomers Race Class A & Class B 17.30pm 3 Laps 113.00 miles

Monday: 350cc/250cc Classic Grand Prix 10.15am and Junior 1.15pm

Wednesday: 500cc Classic Grand Prix/Formula Classic Race 10.15am and Supertwin/Lightweight 1.15pm

Friday: Senior Manx Grand Prix 10.15am and Classic Superbike/Junior Post Classic Superbike 1.15pm

In the event of bad weather races can be delayed for later on the same days or even re-scheduled for Tuesday or Thursday. In the past racing has extended beyond Friday and race distances can also be reduced by the organisers.

Famous MGP names

The Manx Grand Prix has been the stepping stone for many great riders who have gone on to become internationally famous. The likes of Martin Finnegan, Davy Morgan, Ray Porter and Kenneth McCrea are now well-established TT stars who also compete in road racing events elsewhere in the British Isles, especially the Irish road racing circuit.

Other famous names from bygone decades include Freddie Frith, Phil Read and the great Geoff Duke and the great Mike Casey winner of 1995, all of whom raced at the TT – indeed Duke and Read went on to become multiple world champions.

'King of the Mountain' Joey Dunlop, the most successful TT rider of all time with 26 victories, also tried his hand at the MGP on a Classic Aermacchi and achieved a podium finish.


The late Gary Carswell, Senior race winner in 1997, with the MGP Senior Trophy

Various awards are given at the MGP each year. The Manx Motorcycle Club relies exclusively on entry fees and donations to fund the awards. Many trophies and cups have been donated in the past and range from 'Fastest Lap of the meeting' to 'Most meritorious performance by a newcomer.'

All riders completing a race receive a Finisher's Medal, and any who finish a race within a certain percentage of the winner's overall time are given a 'Replica.' Replicas are either silver or bronze depending on how far behind the winner each rider finishes. Team awards are also raced for although they are not always awarded every year. Such awards are not only aimed at riders competing for the same sponsor but also riders from the same motorcycle club. In total there are about 42 separate awards and the list will doubtless continue to grow.

Other MGP fortnight events

The MGP is popular with many motorcycle fans and is viewed as having a more relaxed atmosphere to that of the TT. Throughout the duration of the races there are various club meetings (particularly of classic machines) and there is also a Classic Parade on closed roads. Unlike the TT there is no funfair on Douglas Promenade but various entertainments include visiting and local music acts and the Manx 3-day Trial.

Total overall Manx Grand Prix race winners (including Manx Amateur Road Race winners)

Bob Heath 11
Ryan Farquhar, Roy Richardson 10
Bill Swallow 9
Denis Parkinson, Richard Swallow, Bob Jackson 5
Michael Dunlop, Austin Munks, Ewan Hamilton, Alan 'Bud' Jackson, Chris McGahan 4
Ken Bills, James Courtney, Jason Griffiths, Dan Kneen, Ricky Mitchell, Chris Palmer, Doug Pirie, Dave Pither, Richard Quayle 3
Craig Atkinson, Gordon Blackley, Andrew Brady, Eric Briggs, Jimmy Buchan, Maurice Cann, James Courtney, Don Crossley, Barry Davidson, Tony Duncan, Chris Fargher, Jack Findlay, Alan Holmes, Tim Hunt, Tom Knight, Norman Kneen, Eric Lea, George Lindsay, Oliver Linsdell, Phillip McCallen, Dave Milling, Bernard Murray, Len Randles, Michael Russell, Craig Ryding, Dan Sayle, Martin Sharpe, Michael Sweeney, Geoff Tanner, Malcom Uphill, Brian Venables, Clive Watts, Barry Wood, Buddy Yeardsley 2
Rex Adams, Dave Arnold, Mark Baldwin, Brian Ball, Adam Barclay, Nigel Barton, Nigel Beattie, Simon Beck, Gavin Bell, George Bell,Peter Bell, Alan Bennallick, Dave Bennett, Alan Bennie, Gordon Blackley, Ellis Boyce, Colin Breeze, Derek Brien, Dave Broadhead, Clive Brown, George Buchan, Graham Cannell, Phil Carpenter, John Carr, Gary Carswell, Mike Casey, Alan Cooper, Paul Corrin, George Costain, Dennis Craine, Eddie Crooks, Dickie Dale, Harold Daniell, Gordon Daniels, Peter Darvill, Snuffy Davies, Nigel Davies, Robin Dawson, Tom Dickie, Wayne Dinham, Tommy Diver, H.G. Dobbs, Chris Dowling, Paul Duckett, Robin Duffy, Geoff Duke, Robert Dunlop, Samuel Dunlop, Joe Dunphy, Derek Ennett, Dave East,Micheal Evans, Bob Farmer, Gordon Farmer, Derek Farrant, John Findlay, Frank Fox, Freddie Frith, Simon Fulton, Alex George, Phil Gilder, Norman Gledhill, Grant Goodings, Seamus Green, Selwyn Griffiths, Billy Guthrie, Rod Harris, Phil Haslam, Paul Harbinson, Bob Hayes, Steve Hazlett, Russ Henley, Dave Hickman, Chris Hook, Ken Huggett, Dave Hughes, Paul Hunt, Alan Jackson, Bud Jackson, Nick Jefferies, Griff Jenkins, Geoff Johnson, Ross Johnson, Dave Johnston, Gordon Keith, Neil Kent, Wayne Kirwan, Mike Kneen, Tom Knight, Steve Kuenne, Con Law, Gavin Lee, George Linder, Darran Lindsay, Joe Lindsay, Gary Linham, Ernie Lyons, Dave Madsen-Mygdal, Tim Maher, Cromie McCandless, Bob McIntyre, Sam McClements, Philip McGurk, Stephen McIlvenna, Sean McStay, Harry Meageen, Ernie Merrill, Peter Middleton, Ned Minihan, Donald Mitchell, Dave Moffitt, Dave Montgomery, Nigel Moore, Davy Morgan, Ian Morris, Steve Moynihan, J.M.Muir, Ian Newton, Dave O'Leary, Alan Oversby, Mark Parrett, Len Parsons, Cliff Patterson, Ian Patterson, Dave Pither, Gary Radcliffe, Steve Rae, Brian Raynor, Phil Read, Paddy Reid, Frank Reynolds, Peter Richardson, Roy Richardson, Kevin Riley, Eddie Roberts, Nigel Rollason, Peter Romaine, Andrew Soar, Carolynn Sells, Martin Sharpe, Alan Shepherd, Robin Sherry, Danny Shimmin, Dave Silvester, John Simpson, Mick Skene, Billy Smith, Alan Steele, Keith Stewart, Steve Sturrock, Ralph Sutcliffe, Roger Sutcliffe, James Kelly Swanston, Peter Symes, Keith Taylor, Keith Townsend, Les Trotter, Peter Turnball, Nick Turner, Steve Ward, Ernie Washer, John Wetherall, Charlie Williams, David Williams, Steve Williams, J H 'Crasher' White, Frank Whiteway 1

Current Manx Grand Prix lap records

Category Rider Machine Year Time Average speed
Outright Michael Dunlop Suzuki XR69 2016 17 mins 51.13 secs 126.808 mph
Newcomers Race 'A' Tim Venables Honda 600 cc 2010 19 mins 12.09 secs 117.897 mph
Newcomers Race 'B' Marc Ironside Kawasaki 650 cc 2016 20 mins 22.56 secs 111.101 mph
Superbike Classic TT Michael Dunlop Suzuki XR69 2016 17 mins 51.13 secs 126.808 mph
Lightweight Classic TT Bruce Anstey Honda 250 cc 2016 19 mins 03.88 secs 118.744 mph
Senior Classic TT John McGuinness Paton 500 cc 2016 19 mins 58.39 secs 113.342 mph
Junior Classic TT Lee Johnston MV Agusta 350 cc 2014 21 mins 30.66 secs 105.239 mph
Junior Manx Grand Prix Malachi Mitchell-Thomas Kawasaki 600 cc 2015 18 mins 46.60 secs 120.565 mph
Lightweight Race Nigel Beattie Honda 250 cc 2002 19 mins 53.8 secs 113.770 mph
Supertwin Race Rob Hodson Kawasaki 650 cc 2015 19 mins 45.75 secs 114.550 mph
Senior Manx Grand Prix Malachi Mitchell-Thomas Kawasaki 600 cc 2015 18 mins 31.33 secs 122.221 mph


Race winner trophies

Race Trophy Rider Machine Year Average speed
Senior Manx Grand Prix A.B.Crookall Trophy Tom Weeden Triumph 675cc 2016 118.400 mph
Junior Manx Grand Prix Douglas Pirie Trophy Tom Weeden Triumph 675cc 2016 118.216 mph
Lightweight Race The Motor Cycle Trophy Mick Jordan Honda 400 cc 2014 105.183 mph
Ultra-Lightweight Race Albert Moule Trophy James Neesom Kawasaki 650 cc 2014 109.658 mph
500cc Classic TT Race Francis Beart Trophy Ian Lougher Paton 499 cc 2014 104.481 mph
350cc Junior Classic TT Race Harold Rowell Trophy Lee Johnson MV Agusta 350 cc 2014 104.134 mph
250cc Classic TT Lightweight Race Phil Read Cup Tom Jackson Suzuki 249 cc 2014 93.062  mph
Newcomers Race 'A' Aitcheson Trophy Peter Wilkinson Yamaha 600 cc 2015 111.552 mph
Newcomers Race 'B' Braddan Bridge Trophy Gary Vines Yamaha 250 cc 2015 104.563 mph
Newcomers Race 'C' Wayne Hamilton Memorial Trophy Elwyn Fryer Kawasaki 400 cc 2015 101.051 mph
Formula 1 Classic TT Phink Trophy Bruce Anstey Yamaha 500 cc 2014 121.957 mph
Formula 2 Classic TT Ewan Hamilton Trophy Ian Lougher Yamaha 250 cc 2014 107.993 mph

See also

The races


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