Michael Dunlop wins SBK Classic and JNR Classic TT

Michael Dunlop and the Team Classic Suzuki guys celebrate winning the Motorsport Merchandise Superbike Classic TT on the 1100cc Suzuki XR69 replica
Michael Dunlop and the Team Classic Suzuki guys celebrate winning the Motorsport Merchandise Superbike Classic TT on the 1100cc Suzuki XR69 replica
Motorsport Merchandise Superbike Classic TT

After three excellent races the scene was set for the climax of the 2016 Classic TT Races presented by Bennetts – the four lap Motorsport Merchandise Superbike Race.

Michael Dunlop starts the Motorsport Merchandise Superbike Classic TT
Michael Dunlop starts the Motorsport Merchandise Superbike Classic TT

Michael Dunlop, riding Steve Wheatman’s Team Classic Suzuki XR69, didn’t disappoint the huge crowd lining the Mountain Course with the 13 time TT Race winner thrilling the fans with a new lap and race record to win his second race of the day after his victory in this morning’s Okells Junior Classic TT Race.

After the race an elated Michael Dunlop shared just how hard he had worked to win:

“It was really hard but I kept at it. The big girl was working really well. I’ve got to thank Steve Wheatman and the boys for that. People don’t understand how hard it is to ride that. Realistically it is hard work and the bike is a pig but it’s my pig!”

Michael Dunlop at the Creg-ny-baa on his way to winning the Motorsport Merchandise Superbike Classic TT on the 1100cc Team Classic Suzuki XR69 replica
Michael Dunlop at the Creg-ny-baa on his way to winning the Motorsport Merchandise Superbike Classic TT on the 1100cc Team Classic Suzuki XR69 replica

Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson described conditions as excellent, as they had been all week, with the exception being damp patches on the exit of Laurel Bank.

Steve Mercer, fresh from competing at the World Endurance Championship 8 hour at Oschersleben, was first away on the Mistral Racing Kawasaki at the scheduled 2pm start time, under the watchful eye of GP Racer and 3-time TT Race winner Graeme Crosby who started the race.

James Hillier, riding the Greenall Racing Kawasaki, passed Mercer on the road and was first to Glen Helen but was quickly overtaken on the clock by Michael Dunlop who led by 2.4 seconds from Hillier and a pack of chasing Kawasaki’s. Dean Harrison, on the Silicone Engineering 750 Kawasaki, was less than a second behind Hillier in third with Ivan Lintin, on the Devitt RC Express Racing machine a further second back in fourth and Dan Kneen on the Mistral Racing bike completing the top five.

Bruce Anstey, last year’s runner up in the corresponding race, was back in eighth on the Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Motorcycles YZR 500 Yamaha, already nine seconds behind Dunlop at the first timing point.

The top three remained the same at Ballaugh although Kneen had moved ahead of Lintin at the seventeen mile point.  Harrison swapped places with Hillier by Ramsey to move into second but was already almost six seconds behind race leader Dunlop.

It was clear that Steve Mercer had problems on the Mistral Racing Kawasaki, going through the Sulby speed trap at only 34mph and the Kent rider duly retired at Sulby Village.

Dunlop’s opening lap of 125.872/ 17:59.094 gave him a lead of almost 7 seconds from Dean Harrison (125.026/ 18:06.394) who nevertheless clocked the fastest ever 750 Mountain Course lap, beating Jim Moodie’s time from 1999.

James Hillier held onto third place with his opening lap of 124.492/ 18:11.056 with Kneen fourth after his lap of 123.853/ 18:16.689 and Ivan Lintin (123.602/ 18:18.914) completing the top five.

James Hillier on the Greenall Racing Kawasaki ZXR750 at the Creg-ny-baa during the Motorsport Merchandise Superbike Classic TT
James Hillier on the Greenall Racing Kawasaki ZXR750 at the Creg-ny-baa during the Motorsport Merchandise Superbike Classic TT

Dan Kneen was reported to have retired at Glen Darragh, which meant that Michael Rutter moved into the top five on the Team Winfield Harris Yamaha and the Midlander upped the pace to pass Lintin to go into the top four on the second lap.

It was clear that Dunlop was on for a sensational second lap and, despite slowing down for the pits, Dunlop still broke Anstey’s outright Classic TT lap record of 126.261/ 17.55.769 with a new fastest ever Classic TT lap of 126.808/ 17:51.128. Harrison duly improved his fastest lap time, and the fastest ever 750 time to 125.512/ 18:02.189.

With Dunlop electing to change a rear wheel in the pits as well as refuelling, Harrison clawed back 10 seconds in the pits and had reduced the gap on Dunlop to two seconds at Glen Helen on the third lap.

Meanwhile Gary Johnson, in sixth place on the Team York Suzuki, over shot his pit at the end of his second lap and had to go back, losing almost a minute to his nearest rivals which dropped him down the board.

Dunlop’s third lap of 118.739/  19:03.925 reasserted his place at the front of the field and gave him a lead of thirteen seconds from Harrison with Hillier (118.877/ 19:02.593 maintaining third place a further 12 seconds behind the second placed man.

Bruce Anstey stopped at Glen Tramman on the last lap while Lintin, who was running in seventh was also reported to have retired at Signpost Corner only a mile from the finish line.

However, at the front of the field, Dunlop duly held on to win by almost twenty seconds from Harrison with a final lap of 125.348/ 18:03603 and a new race record of 124.108/ 1:12.57.750.

Classic Superbike TT 2016 - Michael Dunlop the victor and after the race both Harrison and Hillier disqualified after failing technical inspections
Classic Superbike TT 2016 – Michael Dunlop the victor and after the race both Harrison and Hillier disqualified after failing technical inspections

Harrison and Hillier’s race times of 123.564/ 1:13.17.009 and 123.087/ 1:13.34.051 respectively were also both inside Michael Dunlop’s old race record for the class set last year. After the event however, both Harrison and Hillier were excluded from the results after failing a technical inspection. Jamie Coward and Horst Saiger were similarly disqualified.

Australian Alexander Pickett, who finished in 11th place, was the leading privateer, but due to the penalties above was promoted to seventh place overall.

Classic Superbike TT 2016 - Alex Pickett
Classic Superbike TT 2016 – Alex Pickett
Classic Superbike TT 2016 – Revised results
  1. Michael Dunlop – Suzuki
  2. Michael Rutter – Harris
  3. William Dunlop – Kawasaki
  4. Conor Cummins – Yamaha
  5. Gary Johnson – Suzuki
  6. Danny Webb – Suzuki
  7. Alex Pickett – Kawasaki
  8. Tim Monot – Yamaha
  9. Kiaran Hankin – Honda
  10. Ryan Kneen – Kawasaki

 

Junior Classic TT

Michael Dunlop won a thrilling Okells Junior Race in today’s Isle of Man Classic TT Races presented by Bennetts, the opening race of the day.

The debate on the start line was focused on the impact of refuelling but ultimately it didn’t prove decisive with Dunlop, who pitted at the end of the second lap prevailing over Rutter, who didn’t.

The Northern Ireland rider clawed back a deficit of over thirty seconds to take the chequered flag in a new race record for the class of 103.061 (1:27.51.735) for the class, beating Chris Palmers time set in 2013 by over a minute.

Michael Dunlop in the winner’s enclosure later revealed that:

“The first couple of laps we had a bit of a problem with the throttle but I kept pushing harder and harder.  I didn’t think someone as fat as me could win a race like this.  I backed off a bit on the last lap once I’d got back in front.”

Michael Dunlop took first place in the Okells Junior Classic TT Race riding the Black Eagle Racing 350 MV Agusta replica
Michael Dunlop took first place in the Okells Junior Classic TT Race riding the Black Eagle Racing 350 MV Agusta replica

Michael Rutter clearly enjoyed the race, despite being pipped on the last lap and said:

“I rode the wheels off the Honda but couldn’t do anything about Michael.  I could see the boards coming down but didn’t want to over rev the Honda.  I saw Michael’s face smiling at me on the last lap. It was a brilliant last lap and an awesome race.  I kept Michael in the slipstream but couldn’t beat him on speed.”

Ex-GP World Champion Freddie Spencer got the race underway on time at 10.15 with Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson advising that conditions were excellent with good visibility all round the course apart from damp patches at Glen Helen, Ginger Hall and Ramsey Hairpin.

Dunlop, who topped the qualifying board on the Black Eagle Racing MV Agusta with 102.567, undoubtedly started favourite but Jamie Coward on the Ted Woof Honda Craven K4, brother William riding a Davies Motorsport Honda, Classic Racing specialist Alan Oversby on the Davies Motorsport Honda and last year’s race winner Michael Rutter on the ’72 Ripley Land Racing K4 Drixon Honda all posted 100+mph laps in qualifying.

Michael Rutter on the Ripley Land Racing Honda Drixton at the start of the Okells Classic TT Race
Michael Rutter on the Ripley Land Racing Honda Drixton at the start of the Okells Classic TT Race

As expected Michael Dunlop lead at the opening checkpoint by seven seconds from Rutter but there was disappointment for brother William who retired at Ballacraine on the opening lap.  Coward held third place by 2 seconds from Oversby with James Cowton riding a ’62 Honda completing the top five and Cameron Donald, riding the Ripley Land Racing AJS was back in sixth almost ten seconds behind Coward.

Dunlop moved ahead of Rutter to lead on the road by Ramsey by over ten seconds but behind the leading pair Donald moved into the top five when Cowton retired on the run into Kirk Michael on the opening lap.

Dunlop maintained his ten second lead with his opening lap of 103.775/ 21:48.864 from Rutter (102.913/ 21:59.836) who in turn had a lead of over 27 seconds from third placed Jamie Coward (100.818/ 22:27.253).  Oversby (100.458/ 22:38.31) and Donald (97.794/ 23:08.923) completed the top five with veteran campaigner Dave Madsen Mygdal on the Team Gimbert Racing Honda holding sixth a further 9 seconds back on the fifth placed rider.

While Dunlop was powering ahead at the front of the field on the second lap, his Black Eagle Racing teammate Dean Harrison was reported to have clutch problems and the Bradford rider duly retired in the pits at the end of the opening lap.

Rutter edged back in front of Dunlop on the road at Cronk-ny-Mona, reducing the deficit to under ten seconds in the process, and with Dunlop coming into the pits at the end of the second lap and Rutter running straight through, Rutter’s lead was over 35 seconds at Glen Helen on the third lap.

Michael Rutter took a well earned second place finish on the Ripley Land Racing Honda Drixton twin in the Okells Junior Classic TT Race
Michael Rutter took a well earned second place finish on the Ripley Land Racing Honda Drixton twin in the Okells Junior Classic TT Race

Coward (102.087), Oversby (101.728) and Donald (100.209) also ran straight through at the end of the second lap with the deficit between Coward and Dunlop reduced by Dunlop’s pit stop. Oversby maintained his fourth place, ten seconds off the final place with Donald over a minute behind Oversby completing the top five.

However, Dunlop was clearly on a charge on the third lap and Rutter’s lead was down to 23 seconds by Ramsey. Coward was reported as a retirement at Kerrowmoar, which saw Oversby slot into the final podium position, Donald up to fourth and Dan Cooper move into the top five.

Rutter lead was only fourteen seconds going into the last lap and was down to four seconds by Glen Helen.  The Northern Ireland racer duly moved into a two second lead by Ballaugh Bridge, moved in front of Rutter on the road and took the chequered flag by 10.053 seconds from Rutter.  Alan Oversby’s last lap of 101.116/ 22:23.294/ clinched third place in an overall time of 101.340/ 1:29.21.268 with Cameron Donald fourth in 98.844/ 1:31.36.622 and Dan Cooper (98.012/ 1:32.23.348) completing the top five.

Third place went to Alan Oversby in Monday's Okells Junior Classic TT Race. He was riding a Davies Motorsport Honda.
Third place went to Alan Oversby in Monday’s Okells Junior Classic TT Race. He was riding a Davies Motorsport Honda.

Alex Sinclair on the SCS Racing Drixon Honda took the prize for leading privateer finishing 7th overall in 97.531/ 1:32.50.684.  Maria Costello followed up her third place in the Bennetts Senior by winning the Phil Read Classic TT Trophy as the first 250cc to finish.

Cameron Donald on the Ripley Land Racing AJS, took the Peter Williams Trophy fashioned using a genuine titanium con rod from the original Wagon Wheels Matchless Arter.  The trophy was awarded to the highest placed AJS or Matchess in the Senior and Junior, with Cameron’s 4th place beating Hefyn Owen’s 11th from Saturday’s Bennetts Senior Classic TT Race.