Dazzling Dunlop secures fourth win of week
Unstoppable Michael Dunlop has yet another record in his sights – Yorkshire rider Ian Hutchinson's five TT wins in a glorious week.
Michael goes in today's Superbike Senior TT as hot favourite to equal hero Hutchinson's feat and cap an incredible week of thrill-a-minute high achievement on the island.
It was the late, late show from Dunlop as the Ballymoney rider took his fourth win from four starts in Wednesday's Monster Energy Supersport Race 2.
The 24-year-old smashed more lap and race records in the process, and has now matched the same feat of fellow Ulsterman Phillip McCallen, who chalked up a TT racing quartet back in 1996.
The Maverick, as he's aptly name, was his usual mischievous self in the post race interviews, poking fun at former racer Simon Buckmaster, whose PTR company built and maintain the race winning 600cc MD Racing Honda, that the youngster put on the top step.
"Big thanks to Honda and not least Simon Buckmaster. He's sunning himself in Portugal but he must be pleased. At least the PTR team has some wins now, as they are not doing much winning in World Supersport."
Kiwi Bruce Anstey, who was still suffering the remnants of a heavy flu, led the race from the first checkpoint at Glen Helen on lap one, aboard his HM Plant Padgetts Honda.
The Dunlop boys Michael and William were fighting it out in second and third places respectfully, with John McGuinness hovering menacingly in fourth, also HM Plant Padgetts mounted.
Anstey impressively took a four second lead into lap two and extended that to nine seconds over Micky D exiting pit lane after the fuel stop, with William 16 seconds behind Michael on the Milwaukee Yamaha.
Dunlop reduced that deficit to just four seconds over Anstey as they flashed through the start finish line on Glencrutchery Road at the end of lap three, as the battle for the victory entered the final 37.73-miles of racing.
The 44-year-old Windsor based Kiwi still held a slender margin nine miles into the last lap at Glen Helen, but Dunlop –who was on lap record pace – had taken over the lead as the action reached Ballaugh Bridge.
Behind Anstey and Michael Dunlop, William Dunlop and John McGuinness were neck-and-neck fighting out the final podium spot. McGuinness did take over from the Milwaukee Yamaha mounted Dunlop at the Bungalow with just seven miles of racing remaining by half a second – but all eyes were on Governor's Dip and the bikes of Anstey and Dunlop to see who would flash across the line to take the win.
The top five all posted laps in excess of 127mph on that final circuit, but Dunlop's phenomenal lap of 17 minutes 35.659 seconds equated to 128.667mph, giving him his fourth victory of TT2013 and a new lap record to boot.
Recounting the last lap Dunlop beamed: "I kept losing the front and I lost it big time on that last lap at the Bungalow, but I knew I had a 128mph lap coming. The bike didn't feel great at the start, but it all came together and four in a week – what more could you ask for. To win both 600 races is great."
Anstey was content with second place, and said: "I gave it everything I had in that race, but Michael rode awesome on the last lap."
McGuinness stole in to take third from William Dunlop by just one single second, but like Dunlop, had a big moment on the run down the mountain while trying to fight off Cameron Donald. The Aussie eventually finished fifth.
"I was nearly off at Cronk ny Mona. I was pushing hard and had a big slide with both feet off the pegs. That's the fastest I've ever been around here on a 600, so I'm happy with that, but Michael is on a different planet at the minute."
Guy Martin nursed a mis-firing Tyco Suzuki to eighth with KMR Kawasaki's Jamie Hamilton 12th and Saintfield's Davy Morgan 19th on the CSC Racing Yamaha.
Earlier, Michael Rutter took his third career SES TT Zero electric bike race win. It was the narrowest of victories for the MotoCzysz rider, edging out Mugen Honda's John McGuinness by just 1.6sec after 38 miles of racing. Rob Barber took third on the Ohio State University machine.
McGuinness was bitterly disappointed afterwards, and having led by eight seconds with just seven miles left, he was frustrated to miss out on TT win number 20.
"I'm pretty sore to lose. I think I rode a bit stronger, but to see Michael disappear into the distance over the Mountain was soul destroying." Poking fun at his mate Rutter, he added: "I think if we had been on equal bikes he wouldn't have seen the way I'd gone."
Rutter said: "I did think John was going to win, but it was a fantastic race."
Looking ahead to today he said: "I just want to get out there now in Friday's Senior and have a go at this 130mph lap. The conditions look like they will be good, and I'm only four seconds off the pace, so it's certainly possible."