by Ian Groat
With more visitors than ever before to the iconic worlds best motorcycle road racing festival, the trump card of near perfect weather was played out in early June with throngs of international bikers and the races were broadcast to some 30 million global tv enthusiasts worldwide which adds up to all the makings of a happening for one and all.
With only two of the six sessions of evening practise being any good, riders in the senior class were left perplexed as to just how their machines were set up so the only XXXXX came from the clerk of the course who made a programme change to run the Superbike TT on a schedule of XXXX Sunday’s rest day after rain stopped play. But in the practice week already the pace of Michael Dunlop and his brother William showed that between many of the TT aces like Cameron Donald, Gary Johnson and the maestro John McGuinness their plus 130 miles per hour laps showed that the weeks TT races in prospect showed a brilliant pace was on the cards.
Superbike TT - Dunlop Day
Michael Dunlop won the most iconic TT race of the modern era in Sunday’s Dainese Superbike event, 30 years after his late uncle Joey scored his first major TT victory for the same Honda factory in the corresponding F1 race of 1983.
In a thoroughly absorbing and dramatic six-lapper, that made the Monaco Grand Prix look like a go-kart race around a supermakret car park, the young gun of the most famous family dynasty in road racing fittingly topped a Honda podium.
Australia’s bearded wonder, Cameron Donald, finished runner-up for the thrid Superbike TT in succession with a typically solid ride on the Wilson Craig Fireblad.
Far from hanging up his King of the Mountain mantle, John McGuinness recovered from a 60 second penalty for a pit lane infringement to nick the final place on the podium from Suzuki’s Guy Martin in the closing stages of a pulsating race.
Riding in the same colours that Joey Dunlop wore to win his final F1 race in 2000 (when John McGuinness was his team-mate) the Morecambe Missle pulled out all the stops on the final circuit to ensure a Honda 1-2-3 and, in doing so, bettered the outright lap record he set in 2009 with a new standard of 131.67mph.
After coming of age with his first superbike win, the normally ebullient Michael Dunlop was quite lost for words. “It was a dream of mine to win the Superbike TT and Honda have helped me achieve it. the bike ran perfectly and I had two good team-mates in John (McGuinness) and Michael (Rutter) who made it easy for me.
“Following John was quite surreal. I never had the opportunity to race against my uncle Joey, but today came pretty close to that with John in the same colours and riding inch-perfect and so smoothly.”
Cam Donald said it was the hardest second place he had ever recorded. “I had a few minor issues early on and it took me two or three laps to get to grips with it. I road round with John and Michael for a while and got a tow. My beard had definitnely helped.”
McGuinness was gracious in his first defeat on a superbike since 2003 but chastised himself on the ‘school-boy error’ existing the puts. “It defintely cost me second place. I’ve never worked so hard for six kaps and never pushed so hard as I did on that last lap. The record lap was some consolation I suppose, but perhaps it should have been Micahel in Joey’s colours today, not me!”
Monster Energy Supersport Races
Michael Dunlop equalled Phillip McCallen on four Tt wins in one week with victory in Wednesday’s Supersport and can now draw level with Ian Hutchinson’s overall record of five if he wins Friday’s Senior.
Ot was another late show from the Ballymoney man that completed his Supersport double and took his rapidly growing tally of TT wins to seven.
And he did it in style with another record lap of 128, 667mph on the final circuit to snatch victory out of the grasp of Bruce Anstey.
John McGuinness completed a Honda 1-2-3 ousting Yamaha’s William Dunlop for third in the closing stages.
“I?have to apologise to the people at the Bungalow as I lost the front-end there on the final lap and very nearly came off,” said Michael.
“I?had to fight to correct it. To be honest I was having problems with the front end earlier in the race and the wee bike didn’t feel great at the start - but four wins in one week. What more could you ask for?”
Under the weather earlier in the week, Anstey looked strong in the early stages as he worked hard to build up an advantage over the Dunlop brothers.
At Glen Helen on lap one of the Monster Energy-sponsored race he was four tenths of a second up on Michael, with William another second behind. First on the road, James Hillier had his Kawasaki fourth, two tenths up on McGuinness, with Dean Harrison and Gary Johnson within another second. Ten seconds covered the top 10.
“We’ll have to see what we can do on Friday to stop the Dunlop show.”
Behind William Dunlop, Cam Donald, James Hillier, the persistent and consistent Dean Harrison, Guy Martin, Gary Johnson with MV’s best “Junior” result for 41 years, leading local Conor Cummins, Dan Steward, Jamie Hamilton and Australian David Johnson tool the remainder of the silver replicas.
Dan Kneen didn’t finish, spending time in the puts at the end of the opening lap trying to sort a problem with a handlebar on his Marks Bloom Suzuki, but brother Ryan Kneen finished a fine 23rd at an average of very nearly 118mph.
Si Fulton was 34th, grabbing a bronze rep, while resident Ulsterman Ryan McCay was 36th, Dave Madsen-Mygdal 39th (in his 99th TT finish) and Paul Duckett one place behind in 40th.
Isle of Man Superbike Tt Results 2013
1st - Michael Dunlop (Honda) 128.747mph
2nd - Cameron Donald (Honda) 127.920mph
3rd - John McGuinness (Honda) 127.102mph
4th - Guy Martin (Suzuki) 126.964mph
5th - Connor Cummins (Yamaha) 126.333mph
6th - Michael Rutter (Honda) 126.260mph
7th - James Hillier (Kawasaki) 126.063mph
8th - Bruce Anstey (Honda) 125.690mph
9th - William Dunlop (Yamaha) 124.642mph
10th - Joshua Brookes (Suzuki) 123.863mph.
TT Zero Electic Bike Race A Hattrick for Michael Rutter
Michael Rutter claimed a dramatic last-gasp third successive Victory in the Ses TT?Zero on Wednesday morning to deny John McGuinness a 20th TT win.
The Bridgenorth rider overhauled McGuinness’s nine-second lead by storming over the Mountain to clinch victory by just 1.672 seconds at the Grandstand.
Rutter won the TT?Zero race in 2010 before shattering the 100 mph lap barrier in last year’s event and only just missed out on a lap of more than 110mph in this year’s race after posting a superb effort of 109.674 mph.
For a long time, victory for Rutter looked unlikely as McGuinness was quickest off the start line in 32.7 mph and the 19-time TT winner quickly opened up a 9.2 second lead aboard his Mugen Shinden electric bike, racing to Glen Helen in a time of five minutes 11.33s.
Rutter’s MotoCzysz team-mate Mark Miller was a further second back with Bury rider Rob Barber 1m 4.3s back on McGuinness and Kingston University’s George Spence in Fourth some 17 seconds ahead of leading local Chris McGahan riding for Vercarmoto.
Supersport TT Another Dunlop Day in Both Legs Set the Event
Man of the moment, Michael Dunlop, reaffirmed the dawning of a new era when he became the first rider to win three TT’s in the space of 24 hours on Monday.
Three hours after winning the first Supersport race and 22 hours after claiming his maiden Superbike victory, the 24 year old rode the lap of his life to win the Royal London 360 Superstock race.
Trailing Gary Johnson by 2.9 seconds going into the fourth and final circuit, he pulled the pin on the Hunt’s Motorcycles Honda Fireblade to produce on of the fastest laps in TT history and ultimately finish 16.577 seconds ahead of the same man.
His average speed of 131.220 mph, on his own superstock bike fitted with treaded tyres, was 0.209 fast than he had ever gone before, that being the second lap of the previous day’s Superbike event on the full factory Honda, shod with full slicks at 131.194 mph.
Michael Dunlop drew level with his father Robert’s tally of five TT wins when he powered to his second victory of the week on Monday.
His elder sibling William made it another proud day for the Dunlop family when finishing third behind Bruce Anstey in the Monster Energy Supersport Race 1.
Indeed it was William who made the early bow waves on his Milwaukee Yamaha, leading Anstey by 1.6 seconds at Glen Helen, with Michael a further tenth of a second down in third.
At Ballaugh William continued to lead by 0.198s but Michael had leap-frogged Anstey as was ust 0.03 off the front.
James Hiller won a record breaking Lightweight TT on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki and smashed the existing lap record in the process breaking it three times in the four lap race. Hillier in perfect conditions raced to his TT race victory ahead of Dean Harrison by some 33.5 seconds with Manx man Conner Cummings romping home in third.
Held in fantastic weather after the previous weeks blustering rain the side car brigade didn’t disappoint. Tim Reeves four-time world champion dominated the first three lap race held on Saturday when he led to overcome the superquick Dave Molyneux and Patric Farrance on the 600cc Kawasaki outfit to win comfortably by some 4.5 seconds. Harrison and Aylott had eventually got ahead of Molyneux and took second spot on the podium by just a second advantage.
But it was the world champions, the Birchell brothers who after hitting the bank at Keppel Gate in the first leg took the second race to win the 90th anniversary TT race on Wednesday’s race programme. Riding their LCR 600 Honda to win by 17 seconds ahead of Dave Molyneux and Patric Farrance’s Kawasaki, while Conrad Harrison and Mike Aylott rounded out a very successful week with another podium for third place in the weeks racing.
Senior TT King of the Mountain is John McGuinness
John McGuinness spoilt his team mates attempt to make a clean sweep of STI wins for the week when he took main honors in the Senior TT finale event. He did it by just 10 seconds against Michael Dunlop on TT legend Honda racing machinery as yet another CBR 1000 Honda was third on the rostrum with Bruce Anstey on the HM?Plant Paget Honda making the clean sweep of Honda machines on the podium. “It feels fantastic to win a race after the weeks second and third place results but with thousands of waving fans and near perfect conditions all the way it was a brilliant win for me and?I hit all my apexes on the final lap. Today’s Honda 1-2-3 is a dream result.”
The Senior was delayed after a ref flag incident after a rider crashed and injured spectators at Bray Hill. Gary Johnson led for two full laps but suffered fortrest problems on the Lincs lifting Kawasaki. Dunlops race was enjoyable bu he said John rode lovely so fair play to him. Bruce Anstey came home third after posting the fastest lap of the day at 131.531 mph but his heroics could only land him third spot on the podium and so the curtain came down on theis years absolutely outstanding race week with short circuit dicing and intense rivalry being the order of the day. It was a memorable week for all the riders and spectators alike.