Michael Dunlop joined legendary names Giacomo Agostini, Stanley Woods, Rob Fisher and Ian Lougher on 10 wins when he led the second Monster Energy Supersport TT race from start to finish. Riding his own MD Racing Honda, Dunlop gradually reeled in Bruce Anstey, who started ten seconds in front of him on the road, and the pair circulated together for the second half of the race, the gap at the end 10.089s as the Kiwi, in a display of sportsmanchip, let Michael take the chequered flag first. William Dunlop took third on the Tyco Suzuki.
The trend for the 4-lap was set from the off with the two Dunlop brothers and Anstey spilt by just a second at Glen Helen with Dean Harrison only a tenth of a second back in fourth. The early sensation of the race was privateer Ivan Lintin in fifth. Two early contenders were reported as retired on the opening lap – Ian Hutchinson at Glen Darragh Road and Conor Cummins at the Highlander.
Michael was able to eke out a slight lead by Ramsey, the gap to Anstey clocked as two seconds as William slipped back to third albeit only half a second adrift of the Valvoline Racing/Padgetts Honda. Harrison was a further two seconds back with Lintin maintaining his fifth place ahead of Australian Josh Brookes and Northern Ireland racer Lee Johnston.
An opening lap of 126.256mph gave Dunlop a lead of 4.5s over Anstey with the top four remaining the same. Brookes overhauled Lintin with Guy Martin, Keith Amor, James Hillier and Russ Mountford, another privateer having a great ride, in tenth. Michael Rutter was an early visitor to the pits though as he made adjustments to the Smiths Triumph.
Dunlop had the magnets on Anstey and he was getting closer and closer to his back wheel, the gap at Glen Helen on corrected time second time around 6.9s and by Ramsey, he was with him. With his lead up to nine seconds, he could now afford to sit with Anstey for the remainder of the race.
The 25-year old completed the second lap at 127.403mph, the fastest lap of the race, with the official margin to Bruce 9.36s. William Dunlop was six seconds back in third but was looking more secure in the position as Harrison was now also six seconds behind. Brookes and Lintin continued to hold station in fifth and sixth.
There was little change over the remaining two laps as the leading contenders were all secure in their positions but there was drama on the final lap when Brookes and Lee Johnston, holding onto fifth and seventh respectively at Ramsey on the final lap, went out after an incident at Creg ny Baa, fortunately both escaping injury.
At the head of the field though, there were no such problems and with Anstey showing great sportsmanship in allowing Dunlop to cross the line first, he took his third win of the week, and tenth in total, ahead of Anstey and brother William.
Harrison took another good fourth place finish with James Hillier enjoying a better race in fifth, eleven seconds clear of Keith Amor who made steady progression up the leaderboard throughout the race.
Lintin took seventh, and was comfortably the first privateer home, with Dan Kneen, Dan Stewart and Guy Martin filling the remaining top ten positions.
After setting a promising pace in other sessions Michael Rutter succumbed to bike problems on the Smiths Triumph; “After the handling issues on Monday and the lack of stability, we made a few changes to the bike and it was a lot better so things were looking good but the misfire put paid to our hopes of a better result. I pitted at the end of the first lap and we thought we’d cured it but it got worse and worse and I had little option other than to pull in. It’s a real shame as the team’s worked really hard and we haven’t had the results our efforts have deserved.”
William Dunlop, brother of race winner Michael took fourth place for Tyco Suzuki; “That was a lot better effort than Monday; we are getting there. Despite riding the GSX-R600 at the North West 200, it is new to me at the TT, but I can’t fault it at all. The ‘wee engine’ was flying today and the boys have done a good job. The mist in the closing stages on the Mountain was a bit off-putting: I saw the fans waving at me on the third lap and thought, ‘I must be leading this!’ but realised Guy was behind me. We have just been building up all week and I think there’s a 131mph lap in both me and the team’s Superbike, so I’m looking forward to Friday.”
Guy Martin rounded out the top ten, “Now then boy. I love riding my bike but I’d like to be riding it a little bit faster than we did today. There was no lack of effort on my part, but it is what it is. The bike was a bit ‘peeky’ and we couldn’t really pull top gear in the conditions, but yeah… Friday is another day.”
The results mean Michael Dunlop is now a clear leader in the Joey Dunlop TT Championship on 91 points followed by Anstey (69) and Harrison (54). Anstey needs to win Friday’s Senior to have any chance of overhauling Dunlop. Lintin’s second maximum haul of points has seen edge closer to the TT Privateer’s Championship as he’s moved on to a total of 81 points – only second placed Russ Mountford (64) can now overhaul him.
John McGuinness won his 21st TT race on Wednesday morning when he took the SES TT Zero race in record-breaking style. Riding the Mugen Shinden, McGuinness was always in the lead and with a stunning new lap record of 117.366mph, he came home 23.3s clear of team-mate Bruce Anstey. Rob Barber, on the Ohio State University Buckeye machine, took third.
With dry conditions all round the course, despite dark clouds looming overhead, McGuinness, number one on the road, swept through Glen Helen 4.9s clear of Anstey with Robert Wilson over a minute adrift in third. His advantage over Barber was only slight though at just 7.5s. University teams Paul Owen (Brunel Racing) and George Spence (Kingston University) were early reported retirements.
Through Ballaugh McGuinness had almost doubled his lead and went through the Sulby speed trap at 154.3mph with four seconds now the difference between Wilson and Barber in third and fourth although it was the latter who held the final podium position.
McGuinness was clearly in control, increasing his lead at every timing point, and by Ramsey Hairpin it was up to 11.8s and unless Anstey was operating a different strategy and planning on a quicker run up and down the Mountain, the win was seemingly his. Barber was still in third now some 2m45s behind.
McGuinness added another seven seconds to his lead at the Bungalow and as he swept along Glencrutchery road, he completed the lap at a brilliant 117.366mph (19:17.300), the first official lap under 20 minutes for an electric bike around the mountain course, shattering Michael Rutter’s lap record of 20:38.461 (109.675mph) set in last year’s race by over a minute.
When Anstey, who had started 30 seconds later, crossed the line, the official gap was 23.3s with the Kiwi also well inside the old lap record with a speed of 115.048mph.
The battle for third went all the way to the end and it was Barber, the 2009 race winner, who prevailed by the tiny margin of 0.370s with Wilson obviously disappointed to have missed out. Mark Miller was the only other finisher in fifth with Russ Mountford (Arc-EV3/ARC EV Engineering) and Timothee Monot also being forced to retire.
Speaking later, a philosophical John said: “The big bike took a lot out of me on Tuesday, more than I thought, and so I opted out of Wednesday afternoon’s Supersport race in order to give myself a chance of making Friday’s Senior. The Zero bike takes a lot less out of me as I’m not having to wrestle it around so much but I wasn’t hanging around and I was probably going through the corners 10-15mph quicker than what I was taking them on the Superbike! The bike was phenomenal and although it’s a shame there wasn’t more bikes out there, I gave it a real good go.”
“It’s so, so enjoyable to be able to ride the bike and be part of a project being driven by such clever people. I missed out on the win last year so it’s great to be have been able to take the win this year and when you consider we’ve lapped at 102, 109 and now 117mph in the last three years, the progress has been unbelievable.”
“I’ve obviously been having a tough time this week but I’ve kept plugging away and it’s meant a lot to me to have the fans stick by me so much. I’ve been feeling under the weather but I put my heart and soul into my racing and am just pleased to have taken the win today.”