Belfast Telegraph

Isle of Man mourns but show goes on after death of Stephen McIlvenna

By Paul Lindsay

Gutsy 45-year-old Bruce Anstey proved that age is no barrier with his double at last Saturday’s Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix, and last night on the Isle of Man the Kiwi set the fastest Classic TT Formula 1 lap at this year’s event with an effort of 122.523mph on Clive Padgett’s YZR500cc former GP racing Yamaha.

The racing continued but under a dark cloud after the tragic death of a former Manx Grand Prix winner on Tuesday.

Stephen McIlvenna, 39, from Randalstown crashed on the Mountain Mile section of the TT course.

An investigation into the circumstances of the accident is under way and he remained in the thoughts of riders yesterday.

The Manx Classic TT race doesn’t take place until Monday, but the stage is now already set for Bruce Anstey and Michael Dunlop (who set his fastest lap of the week at 122.173mph) to go head to head in a Yamaha versus Suzuki battle — with Dunlop on the super quick and reliable XR69.

Anstey said after his lap on the former GP two-stroke machine: “I've got a massive smile. The bike's handling pretty good, although once the fuel load lightens on the second lap it gets lively.

“We’re just slowly getting there, but we’re playing it safe. The bike was definitely on song tonight though and there's more to come from it.”

Other notable lap times came from James Hillier on the Jackson Racing ZXR 750 Kawasaki (119.396mph), Russ Mountford on the York Suzuki Racing XR69 (119.127mph), Mistral Racing's Steve Mercer on a ZXR Kawasaki (118.298), Ryan Farquhar on Roger Winfield’s machine (117.755mph) and Gary Johnson (113.127mph) on the Harris Yamaha.

Roy Richardson topped the F2 timesheets on the FCL Racing Martin Bullock Manxsport TZ250 with a lap of 110.349mph ahead of Classic TT F2 lap record holder James Cowton (109.893mph) with Chris Moore third fastest in the class with a lap of 108.401mph.

Dungannon’s Farquhar was the man in form in the 500cc Classic category, posting 111.660mph on the Team Winfield Paton.

His team-mate John McGuinness had to retire, leaving Alan Oversby to post the second fastest lap in the class at 107.239mph.

Michael Rutter wasn’t far off the pace on the single cylinder G50 Seeley with a lap of 107.067mph.

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