Belfast Telegraph

Tenth win puts Michael Dunlop level with TT legends

By Paul Lindsay

Michael Dunlop made it a hat-trick of wins at TT2014 — and 10 in total — with a faultless display in yesterday’s Monster Energy TT Supersport Race Two, handing his former employers Honda their only victory to date at this year’s event.

A standing start lap of 126.256mph afforded the Ballymoney man just over a four second advantage at the end of the opening lap, then an increase in performance to 127.403mph on lap two put Micky D right on the rear wheel of second placed Bruce Anstey.

From there, with a nine second lead, he maturely and strategically followed the Kiwi for the final 76 miles of racing — only pulling out to take the chequered flag to be first on the road at the end of lap four.

Dunlop, who runs his Supersport machine under the MD Racing banner, took his career TT tally into double figures with yesterday subliminal victory, joining the legendary Italian Giacomo Agostini on 10 TT wins; just one behind Portadown’s TT ace Phillip McCallen.

Dunlop’s brother William finally got his TT off and running, handing Moneymore-based Tyco Suzuki their second podium of this year’s TT with a solid third place, 13 seconds down on Anstey.

Following a celebratory burnout in the winners’ enclosure, taking the last bit of tread off his hard-working Dunlop rear tyre, Michael beamed: “That was class. The wee bike never missed a beat.

“We built the engine last night and thanks to ‘Big Man’ Mark Kelly for helping me re-invent the wheel. I wish we’d done that for Monday’s race,” he added, referring to Supersport Race One, the only contest this week in which the 25-year-old TT master hasn’t stood on the top step.

Kiwi Anstey has also posted a hat-trick at this TT, but unfortunately for the 45-year-old Valvoline Honda man it has been a glut of second placed finishes.

As always, the Windsor-based rider was magnanimous in defeat, saluting the efforts of his fellow Honda pilot.

“I rode flat out, but once Michael got me in his sights, I knew he would reel me in,” he laughed.

“I knew William was not too far away in third so I continued to lead on the roads.

“I had no moment and no slides unlike Tuesday’s Superstock race, but yeah… it’s second place again,” he said.

William Dunlop held second behind his brother on the opening lap after nine miles, but once Anstey pushed in front, the Tyco Suzuki rider held firm in third to take his first podium of TT2014.

Paying credit to his team, William said: “I can’t fault the bike — the wee engine was flying and the boys did a great job for me. I just had two better men in front of me.

“I’ve just been building it up all week and I think there’s a 131mph lap in that Superbike of mine — so I’m looking forward to Friday’s Senior TT. We just need to start strong like we did today.”

Bradford’s Dean Harrison was the immovable object just behind the podium men, taking a fine fourth place, his second finish in the same spot for TT newcomers Mar-Train Racing.

Team owner Tim Martin seems to be enjoying the TT experience more than his team’s regular ‘day job’ in the British Supersport Championship.

So don’t be surprised if the Ulster-based team is back at the TT in 12 months, with a full stable of competitive machinery. Could we possibly see a Mar-Train and RC Express racing collaboration?

Aussie Josh Brookes, in only his second TT, had held fifth place throughout for Milwaukee Yamaha, but an incident involving Fermanagh’s Lee Johnston on the final lap at Creg ny baa saw both men crash out — thankfully uninjured.

The incident elevated James Hillier to fifth, 34 seconds down on Harrison, Falkirk’s Keith Amor was sixth (+11sec), with Ivan Lintin (+9sec), Dan Kneen (+9), Dan Stewart (+2) and Tyco Suzuki’s Guy Martin (+19) rounding out the top 10.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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