2 min read
Race of Legends does what it says on the tin

The Frank Kennedy Classic Races 

The Armoy Circuit is a shade over 3 miles in length. It runs anti clockwise and is quite technical. It takes 3 or 4 years just to learn, and even longer to ride it quickly. It has fast sections, hairpins and hair raising jumps like Dunlops Leap. Experience counts here, you need to be an exceptional rider to get the best out of it. 

The outright classic lap record is held by Bert McCrum, set in 2013 on a Norton Westlake 950cc. Bert lapped the circuit at over 85mph in 2 mins 6.6 seconds. 

There's a wealth of talent on the grid for this years races. The Davies Motorsport Team are in town. Its not often a Professional Race Team are involved in Classic Racing at National Level. Its just shows the high regard in which the Armoy Races are held. The Frank Kennedy Memorial Race Trophies are sought after and rightly so, The Armoy Armada are responsible for some of the greatest road racers we will ever know.

Barry and Ed battling hard in the 350 race Armoy

Junior Race

The 250/350cc race was called to the line at 1pm. An extremely impressive entry with 27 riders including Dominic Herbertson the current classic TT 350 champion, Barry Davidson the Irish Champion, Mark Purslow the rising star of Welsh Road Racing, Ed Manly multiple race winner to name just a few. The classic fans were buzzing, could Ed and Barry run with the immaculate Davies Motorsport Honda of Herbertson, would Purslow push at the front despite being a newcomer. We were about to find out.

The flag dropped and it was disaster for Herbertson, the clutch let go and he was out, the team were devastated, Dom was devastated and we were devastated, But that's racing and it waits for no one. Lap one was over and it was Barry and Ed who appeared first, neck and neck there was nothing in it. Ian Thompson was third but George Stinson was on him, Mick Brady, Sean Leonard and Mark Purslow crossed the line like a train. The 250 race was also hotting up. Ford had taken pole but it was Brian Mateer who was leading, they would swap positions on lap 2 and again on lap 3. There was never more than a second in it. Philip Shaw was lying third but would retire on lap 5. Further back a 4 stroke battle was raging. Gary Hutton and Kyle Parkes were at it again, swapping places and loving it. Kyle got into third on lap 5 and would hold it for a podium place. Brian took the lead again on lap 4 and would take the win by just .3 of a second from Ford.

Back to the 350's and Barry and Ed were still together on the road, there was nothing in it lap after lap. George Stinson was up to third and would hold that spot to the line. The last lap and Ed was charging, he would set a new 350cc lap record of 2.09 at 83mph but was beaten over the line by .3 of a second. A brilliant race and a pleasure to watch

Mark Purslow Tab II Classics Honda 500-4

Senior Race

18 on the grid with some of the finest machines ever assembled for a national classic race. 4 x Honda 500-4's, including Dominic on the Davies Motorsport. Mark Purslow on the Tab II Classic, Ben Rea on the Steadplan Primus and Ian Thompson on the MIB. Bob Jackson Nortons, Manx Nortons, Yamahas and Drixton Honda's all featured. Two lap records would go in this one. This is real road racing on superbly built machines. We went out to the back section to Dunlops leap to watch this one and it was a good decision. We could hear them coming at Church Bends and it was glorious. The pace was fast and even the marshals took a step back. These lads were not hanging back. Ben Rea lead a train of 6 with less than two seconds between them, there was no backing off as one by one, they took off over Dunlops. This is what we wanted, this is what we waited to see and it was fantastic. John Leigh Pemberton on the Manx hit it so hard that we all held our breath, but both wheels landed and he was back on terraferma and away. Seven laps of this was on the cards. Lap two and we worked out who was lying were. The unlimited positions were Dominic, Ben Rea second, Purslow was third and Richard Ford was fourth. In the 500 race, Barry had the lead, Manly was second and Pemberton was third. Lap 4 and every one was holding their places but moves were being lined up. Ed had a mechanical so John Leigh Pemberton was up to second on the 500. Lap 5 and Mark Purslow made a move on Ben and took the place, Ford was also in the mix and on lap 6 took Ben Rea and moved into a podium spot. But he was not finished yet, on lap 7 he set a new outright classic lap record, clocking 2 min 4 seconds at over 87 mph. This was how good this race was. Lap records been set by the man in third place and he still was not catching Herbertson. Mean while Barry Davidson was breaking records of his own, he lapped the Gimbert 500 in 2 mins 9 sec and was setting the pace at over 83 mph. Barry would take the win, John Leigh Pemberton was second and Freddie Stewart was third.

The unlimited race ended with Dominic Herbertson on the top spot, to be honest he controlled the race from start to finish and rode the bike beautifully. Welshman Mark Purslow was a well deserved second,and Richard Ford took third.

A brilliant weekend of racing, the circuit was in great shape, the club ran a flawless meeting and the riders did the crowds proud.

Man of the meeting is a tough call, Barry Davidson clocked up another amazing double but Mark Purslow pushing the 500-4 to second place was also a bit special. Mark was a newcomer to the meeting so hats off to him.

Images #drummerthethird

Words Gavan Duffy