Sabden racer Alistair claims Manx GP crown

Alistair Haworth on the way to Manx Grand Prix victory
Alistair Haworth on the way to Manx Grand Prix victory

Sabden racer Alistair Haworth’s incessant need for speed has resulted in a perfect season and renewed ambition.

The real road racer, equipped with his Yamaha FZR 400 motorbike, finally scooped the Manx Grand Prix championship after eight years of trying.

Haworth finished the showcase amateur event - which takes place on the 37-mile Isle of Man Mountain course - 16 seconds ahead of Colin Martin while recording a fastest tournament lap in the lightweight category of 22:11.314 at 102.026 mph.

Haworth had gone agonisingly close to taking the title in previous years. In 2011 he finished second to Billy Smith while last year Haworth was leading the pack part way through the race when the conrod on his bike snapped.

“It’s taken me a while to achieve my goal,” he said. “It really has taken time and effort so it was superb to finally win it. It’s the one thing you want to win as an amateur rider. It’s our Olympics basically.

“It was incredibly tough. After putting in some good practice times and heading towards the top of the leaderboard I was confident I could do it. But then the race was delayed because there was mist on the mountain, and then it was delayed again because visibility was reduced.

“It just kept getting worse. In the end I just had to ride the white line because I couldn’t see any reference points. It was raining and we were using dry tyres so I just had to take a leap of faith at times. They were the worst conditions I’ve been subjected to.”

In fact the conditions proved so detrimental that only two competitors - Haworth included - broke the 100mph bracket during the race. The following race in the senior division, the culmination to the two-week meeting, was then abandoned.

Earlier in the campaign Haworth won his first national level Irish meeting at Cookstown, a feat magnified by beating the decade-long course lap record when clocking 78.919 seconds. That brought Ryan Farquhar’s previous best record of 77.962 to an end.

“To win was great, but to take that record off one of the sport’s masters is phenomenal. It had stood for 10 years so to be the one to beat it was fantastic. I was thrilled to bits. It’s been a perfect season for me.”

Haworth now plans to focus more on 600cc events and utilise his Suzuki GSXR 600. Though he plans to take a break in 2014, Haworth is still expecting to compete at Olivers Mount in Scarborough, the International Southern 100 on the Isle of Man, where he has previously secured three international wins, and Aberdare Park in Wales where he holds the Forgotten Era lap record.