Oil spill shortens TT Final Qualifying
After Thursday’s cloudy conditions, competitors were greeted with blue sky and warm sunshine again for the final practice session of the 2012 Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy.
Course conditions were described as good all round although caution would again have to be exercised on the run towards Ballacraine, particularly through Greeba, Appledene and Gorse Lea where the low, setting sun was its worst. Lack of adhesion flags were also on display at Governor’s Bridge due to damp patches in the dip.
Like Thursday, the sidecars were again first away at 6.25pm and with Dave Molyneux/Patrick Farrance setting off eighth, Tim Reeves/Dan Sayle set off first swiftly followed by John Holden/Andy Winkle, Conrad Harrison/Mike Aylott, Ben and Tom Birchall and Gary Bryan/Jamie Winn. However, Holden’s poor week continued as he only got as far as Quarter Bridge while Reeves didn’t fare much better, retiring at the Wagon and Horses. The Wright family were out of luck as well; Eddy stopping at Ballig Farm and son Dougie at Parliament Square.
Harrison was the first to complete a lap at 109.622mph although Bryan posted the fastest on the night at 110.311mph. Birchall did 108.896mph with Molyneux on 109.799mph and all of these pulled straight in, happy with their lap and, no doubt, having used the session to bed in tyres, chains and the like. Rob Handcock/Ken Edwards, whose engine expired at Sulby earlier in the week, did continue and were fastest on the second lap at 106.742mph. They were the only crew to squeeze in three laps with their final one being the fastest at 106.934mph.
The session came to an end at 7.10pm and five minutes later, the Supersport/Lightweight session, brought to a premature end the night before, got underway with Guy Martin the first to leave the line. James Hillier, Ian Mackman, Gary Johnson and Ian Hutchinson were all Supersport mounted with Michael Rutter taking out the KMR Kawasaki Supertwin.
Cameron Donald was the first to complete the lap with a speed of 123.862mph and he had Dan Kneen and Martin for company, the duo lapping slightly slower at 123.081mph and 122.056mph respectively. However, it was once again William Dunlop who was quickest with a lap of 124.895mph whilst brother Michael was second at 124.175mph. The three Dans – Stewart, Cooper and Hegarty – were also impressive, all three lapping at more than 119mph.
They all continued on their second lap as Hillier set the fastest lap of the Lightweights at 114.872mph. Ryan Farquhar was second quickest at 114.174mph but reported oil flags at Barregarrow had slowed him down and teammate Rutter was third on the timesheets at 112.796mph. Ten riders in total broke the 110mph barrier with newcomer Jamie Hamilton setting the sixth fastest time on 111.417mph. Fellow newcomer Jimmy Storrar was also out in the session on his Superstock machine and lapped at 119.122mph, just edging out Karl Harris as the fastest newcomer for the week.
The majority of riders continued for a second lap but Donald, Kneen and Martin were also slower no doubt as a result of the oil while Michael Dunlop was out at Ballacraine. Gary Johnson experienced clutch problems and pulled off the course at Ramsey, taking the scenic route through Laxey back to the paddock.
However, with oil on the course at both Barregarrow and Ballaugh, the session was brought to a premature end and the oil also resulted in the cancellation of the Superbike session, which was due to start later. So, John McGuinness will head into Saturday’s Superbike race as the fastest rider of the week but with the latter half of the week blighted by various issues, we’re yet to really see who’s on form and who isn’t. All will be revealed tomorrow!
— Honda TT Legends Report
Practice week of the 2012 Isle of Man TT drew to a close today with 17-times TT winner John McGuinness at the top of the timesheets ahead of tomorrow’s six-lap Superbike race. Team-mate and 2011 fastest newcomer Simon Andrews posted the ninth fastest lap.
The week began well for the Honda TT Legends, with McGuinness setting the fastest laps in dry and sunny conditions in the first three superbike sessions. By Wednesday the ‘Morecambe Missile’ had broken the 130mph barrier with a 130.079 lap that remained the fastest of the week. Thursday’s superbike practice was cut short due to sea mist, while this evening’s was cancelled after an oil spill at Barregarrow.
Andrews made impressive progress throughout the week as he continued to get to grips the 37-mile TT circuit. He posted his quickest Superbike lap of 127.376mph on Thursday evening, which places him in the top ten fastest riders in the class. Andrews will head out 17th in tomorrow’s race while McGuinness starts in the number one spot. The race is due to begin at 11am.
We hit the ground running this week. We went out there on the first night when the conditions were great and we just got stuck in. I didn’t feel like I was sticking my neck out, I was just hitting all the apexes and cruising around feeling really relaxed. I was hitting 128s, 129s, 130s so we’re definitely in the ball park. It’s not going to be easy but I’m ready to race and I’m well up for it. I’m starting number one so it’s just down to me, the stop watch and the track and hopefully we can stand in the winner’s enclosure.
We’re at the end of practice week now and I’ve done a few laps so I’m feeling ready to pitch myself against everyone and see how it goes. We’ve done a good time on the superbike and the superstock and I’m just enjoying it. I’m still trying to find my way around in the fast sectors where I’m five seconds off John so I’ve still got quite a bit to find, but it just needs practice. I’ve got to keep going and do as much as I can. Hopefully the weather will stay nice, we’ll have a bit of sport and I’ll do alright.
In the Superstock class, Gary Johnson and Simon Andrews posted the fifth and 13th fastest laps respectively.
— Team Suzuki
An oil spill called a premature halt on tonight’s final practice session at the Isle of Man TT, leaving all of tomorrow’s main contenders for the Dainese Superbike TT without valuable track time to make last minute adjustments.
The solo session had commenced in glorious sunshine at 7.15pm with both Tyco Suzuki riders Guy Martin and Conor Cummins putting down some important laps on their GSX-R600 machinery. Martin posted a standing-start lap of 122.056mph with Cummins parking his Supersport machine after just one lap of 119.17mph, looking to get much-needed time on the Superbike.
The Manxman, who has been nursing a throttle-hand injury sustained at the International North West 200 last month, was in good form. He said: “It’s hard to explain how the hand feels. It’s not typically painful but just constantly throbs and I don’t want to be taking any painkillers or injections – it’s too dangerous around here to be doing that as you have to know how tight you’re holding on. We’ll just work around it and do the best we can. It’s just a matter of gritting my teeth and getting on with the job.”
Martin completed a second lap on his Supersport machine, but with yellow flags being waved on various parts of the circuit and difficulty with low sun, a tentative lap of 120.814mph was posted.
Unfortunately the oil spill on the Barregarrow section of the circuit forced a premature end to Friday night’s session, curtailing any further laps for all competitors.
The next action on the TT Circuit will be tomorrow’s six-lap Dainese Superbike TT which gets underway at 11am. Supersport Qualifying continues after the Sidecar Race 1 [approx 4pm]