Padgetts Honda-mounted Ian Hutchinson won the action packed Relentless Supersport race one yesterday on the Isle of Man, but the most distraught rider on the Island was 40-year-old Kiwi Bruce Anstey.
JOY AND PAIN: , while (inset) Bruce Anstey shows just how much fuel was left in his tank before he had to stop. MATT MACKEY/ PRESSEYE
The Relentless Suzuki rider had put the disappointment of breaking down in Monday’s Dainese TT Superbike race behind him, taking yesterday’s middleweight race by the scruff of the neck in the opening nine miles to Glen Helen. But it was Hydrex Honda-mounted Guy Martin and Scottish rider Keith Amor who eventually joined Hutchinson on the podium in second and third place, after four frantic laps.
Martin had led at the end of lap one, setting a new class lap record at 125.375mph with Ian Hutchinson slotting in to second place just three seconds down and Anstey in third a further two seconds adrift.
Ballymoney lad Michael Dunlop’s hopes of a debut TT win were dashed when his Street Sweep Yamaha gave up the ghost as early as Snugborough on lap one, and his team will now have a race against time to get his bike prepared for today’s second four-lap Supersport race.
Dungannon’s Ryan Farquhar had been up there fighting for a podium place early on lap one, but the KMR Racing Kawasaki slipped out of podium contention at the end of lap two, eventually finishing in a creditable sixth place. Ryan’s fastest lap was recorded on the second circuit at 124.341mph.
Anstey upped his game on lap two, extending his lead of less than a second at Glen Helen to 10 seconds at Ballaugh. Hutchinson did his best to peg the Kiwi back over the mountain, reducing the deficit to seven seconds into the race’s only pit stop, but Bruce had enough in reserve, breaking Martin’s lap record that had stood for less than 18 minutes.
Anstey’s lap of 125.682mph set him up well for the final 75.5-miles of racing, but there was plenty of drama to come. Guy Martin was doing his best to ride around a head gasget problem, with his faltering Hydrex Honda covering him in water on the final laps and was fortunate to finish.
Anstey also wasn’t getting as much grip from his record breaking rear Pirelli tyre on the final circuit, but even the Kiwi couldn’t have predicted a wiring loom problem would rob him of victory only five miles from home although it had been incorrectly rumoured that he ran out of fuel.
“It’s a pity as I’d caught them quite comfortably, but I didn’t need to be racing with these guys and mixing it with such a good lead. I’m gutted but that’s the TT,” he said.
The riders Bruce ended up circulating with from lap three were Hutchinson, Amor and John McGuinness, but Hutchy couldn’t believe his luck when the Relentless Suzuki slowed on the run for home, handing the Padgetts man his second TT win.
Hutchinson said: “Bruce came flying past me on the third lap and it demoralised me a bit. It was manic out there riding with Bruce and Keith on the last couple of laps and it was a bit messy but you have to fight to the end. A lot of people win one TT, but to win two is great, so thanks to Clive and the whole team.”
William Dunlop took ninth place on his CD Racing Yamaha with AMA Suzuki-mounted Adrian Archibald in 15th, Andrew Neill and Davy Morgan were 19th and 20th with Derek Brien 26th.