Isle of Man TT: McGuinness fights off Martin to seal win
Honda TT Legends rider John McGuinness rounded off a successful TT 2011 with a tremendous victory in yesterday’s blue riband six-lap Senior race that had been delayed for five hours due to inclement weather conditions.
It was the Morecambe man’s 17th career TT win from a phenomenal record of 51 finishes and 33 Glenclutchery Road podiums; edging a tad closer to the late great Joey Dunlop’s record of 26 top steps.
Guy Martin, the TT’s perennial bridesmaid led for the opening two laps, much to the delight of the huge sun-baked crowd.
But despite throwing everything he had at McGuinness, including a standing start lap of 131.038mph, the Relentless Suzuki pilot just didn’t have enough in his armoury for the Honda man — losing out by a mere seven seconds after almost 230 miles of racing.
It was the Lincolnshire rider’s 13 TT podium, four of which have come from this year’s event with his Moneymore based team.
Padgetts Honda rider Bruce Anstey was third just eight seconds down on Martin.
“I rode as hard as I could on that opening lap only to see P4 on my first pitboard,” said a bewildered McGuinness.
“I knew after that I was really in a race, but it took me a lap to get dialled into the Superbike again after riding the 600.
“I made the odd little mistake running wide here and there on the opening lap, but we had a mega pit stop at the end of lap two; then on laps three and four I pushed really hard and it started working for me.”
Leaving the pits after a dash for fuel at the end of lap four, McGuinness had built up a 12 second lead over Martin, thanks to a lap of 131.248mph.
After that he controlled it to the finish.
“I rode at a pace after the second pit stop so Guy couldn’t catch me. It’s the first time in a long time I’ve had to push that hard and I nearly broke into a sweat!” he joked. It’s nice to win the Joey Dunlop Trophy after a consistent fortnight here on the Isle of Man and I have to say I’m really enjoying my racing and I’m proud of winning my 17th TT.”
Martin hid his disappointment well at the finish, and despite being a little awkward during the week with his army of fans, hiding away in a friend’s lock-up in Douglas, the Suzuki man admitted: “I’m a bit shy of all the attention I receive.
“But by heck the amount of folk shouting and waving at me around the circuit is just crackers. I could even hear them through my ear plugs!”
On the race he added: “The job was going alright out there.
“How many people can say they led John McGuinness on the first lap of a Senior TT at Glen Helen?
“I still haven’t won a bugger, but I can go to bed a happy camper tonight.
“The bike never missed a beat and it was good to push John today. I’ll just have to come back next year and beat him.”
Aussie Cameron Donald riding for local team Wilson Craig Honda enjoyed a race-long battle with Honda TT Legends Scottish rider Keith Amor, the pair swapping positions on almost every lap.
After the six-lap tussle Donald edged the Falkirk man out by just one second for third place, with Michael Dunlop sixth on his Street Sweep Kawasaki, a further 32 seconds down on Amor.
Gary Johnson, William Dunlop, James Hillier and Michael Rutter filled the top 10 and Simon Andrews was the first newcomer home in 11th place with an outstanding final lap of 125.174mph.
Dungannon’s Ryan Farquhar put in a brave performance despite the injuries he sustained during practice last week to bring his KMR Racing Kawasaki home in thirteenth place.
Crumlin’s Stephen Thompson was 20th.