Belfast Telegraph

Big guns fire as Classic Manx TT hots up

By Paul Lindsay

This Bank Holiday weekend the Classic Manx TT Races will capture the imagination in the Isle of Man on the famous TT Course, so it’s no surprise that last night’s practice session was dominated by some of the TT’s biggest names.

Michael Dunlop, Bruce Anstey and John McGuinness — who set an unofficial new lap record in the 500cc Classic class aboard his Team Winfield Paton at 112.031mph — caught the eye.

Despite saying he was “taking it easy to bed in new tyres”, McGuinness’ lap was some 10 seconds quicker than his Winfield Paton team-mate Ryan Farquhar (111.102mph), who holds second place on the 500cc Classic TT practice leaderboard going into today’s four-lap race, scheduled to start at 12.30pm.

Top TT rider Ian Lougher, now retired from the modern classes, was third quickest overall with a lap of 109.282mph, albeit 20 seconds back on Farquhar, with Jamie Hamilton fourth quickest (107.327mph) on an MV Agusta.

The Classic TT paddock was buzzing yesterday with an ’80s theme, which caught the imagination of both riders and fans alike, but when the serious stuff kicked off the global TT stars made all the pre-race headlines.

Other big names in contention for today’s 500cc Classic podium include Michael Rutter (107.067mph), Bruce Anstey on the McIntosh Norton (106.487mph), William Dunlop (105.739mph) and Michael Dunlop on the Molnar Manx Norton (106.431mph), all having useful shakedowns last night.

The Formula 1 and 2 race on Monday is the one all the leading riders want to win and last night Bruce Anstey (120.968mph) and last year's winner Michael Dunlop (120.505mph) continued to stamp their authority on the field.

Dunlop’s opening lap was all the more impressive as it was clear that he lost a significant amount of time on the final sector and he later reported that his F1 machine was stuck in fourth gear on the run in from the Bungalow.

Anstey, on his Valvolene by Padgetts’ Motorcycles YZR500 Yamaha, then went quicker on his second lap, posting the fastest of the week — 122.888mph — inside his time from Wednesday.

Today’s features include the Bennetts 500cc, which follows a qualifying session for the Formula 1 and 2 plus 350cc machines.

The Joey Dunlop Parade lap then takes place at 4.30pm.

With Joey having won a record-breaking 26 TT races, 26 of his rivals have been selected to be part of the parade lap. Jim Dunlop, Joey's brother, will be appearing on an ex Joey Dunlop race bike.

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