Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 10 July 2014

Michael Dunlop to lap it up at Manx GP

All eyes will be on Michael Dunlop at the Manx Grand Prix today.

Dunlop is the only Irishman ever to lap the 37-mile Mountain Circuit at over 130mph — during the TT races back in June — and he set Manx practice week alight with a number of blistering laps.

Riding a replica 1981 XR69 Suzuki, Dunlop simply got faster and faster on the Isle of Man as the week went on, eventually having to settle for a lap at 119.590mph, just shy of his 120mph target.

Strongest opposition to the Ulsterman should come from Ollie Linsdell and Mark Buckley, but it is Dunlop who has captured the imagination with his high-speed exploits that look set to continue this morning.

Dunlop, who cruised around in the final practice on Saturday at just under 100mph in poor conditions, said: “My target was 120mph in practice and I was disappointed that I didn’t get it. However the race win is important and that is what I’m here for.

“The organisers have quite rightly rescheduled our starting time behind the newcomers — just because the speeds we have been doing have been way beyond what people thought we would do and quicker than these machines went around here nearly 30 years ago.”

First away this morning are the competitors in the Newcomers A class and Banbridge rider Shaun Anderson has been setting some impressive times in practice, ending up third fastest behind Manxmen Andy Fenton and Tim Venables.

Local interest is also high in the Post Classic Junior race won last year by Lisburn rider Brian Mateer and he has had a good practice week although Chris Palmer has unofficially broken Mateer’s lap record in practice.

The Junior and Lightweight Classic races start at 1.15pm and local riders Nigel Moore, Davy Morgan and Barry Davidson should figure prominently.

Further afield at the weekend Banbridge rider Geoff McMullan won the Post Classic Junior Belgian TT at the Gedinne Circuit riding a TZ 350cc Yamaha.

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