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Dunlop hails Senior TT victory as Hutchy suffers broken leg

 

By Roy Harris

Michael Dunlop took advantage of a red flag in yesterday's Senior TT race to make a change to his completely new Bennetts Suzuki, and in the four-lap re-start he led from start to finish to record his 15th TT victory and a fastest lap of 132.903mph.

The original start of the race saw Peter Hickman and Ian Hutchinson locked in a high-speed duel over the first lap and a half, with Dunlop back in fifth.

At the 27th Milestone on the second lap, however, Tyco BMW ace Hutchinson crashed heavily and the race was immediately stopped, bringing to an end what was shaping up to be an epic encounter.

Hutchinson was conscious, but taken to Nobles Hospital by Air Med with a broken femur.

In the break between the red flag and the re-start, Dunlop's team changed the shock in the Bennett Suzuki and what a difference that made. He took the race by the scruff of the neck from the re-start, and was one and a half seconds clear at Glen Helen - the first timing point - from Bruce Anstey, Dean Harrison, Hickman and Michael Rutter.

Hickman got into second place, but he was over four seconds behind Dunlop with Anstey third and Harrison less than a second back.

After the second-lap pit stop, Dunlop just kept easing away at the front to take the chequered flag 13 seconds clear of Hickman with Harrison a further 10 seconds back in third after Anstey retired.

A jubilant Dunlop said: "The bike served us well. The team did a miracle job getting the Bennetts Suzuki ready and I knew I could do the job. We got the second chance and you know that everybody remembers who won the Senior TT.

"It was a decent TT at the end of a difficult fortnight for everybody. I had two good races, two good wins; for me the best thing was winning the Senior TT on the new bike.

"After the red flag we sat down and were on the verge of meltdown as to what to do. Credit to the team though, we changed the shock and won the race. If I'm honest I took it easy on the bike on the last lap to bring it home. I asked Stuart (Hicken, team boss) if he thought we could win the race and he said he'd dreamt about it. Every TT win is special, but the Senior TT is extra special."

Hickman won the Joey Dunlop Trophy, and with it a cheque for £10,000, as the week's best performer after netting five podiums from five starts.

Earlier in the day, Ben and Tom Birchall made it a double sidecar success with a 26-second victory over John Holden and Lee Cain, while in the single-lap low emissions TT Zero race Bruce Anstey - deputising for the injured John McGuinness on the Mugen Shinden - took a comfortable 41-second win over team-mate Guy Martin.

Martin did not ride in the Senior TT after Honda withdrew. He said: "I came to win for Honda, but a lack of practice on the new bike left us on the back foot and not at a pace to be competitive.

"Despite lots of testing we are not doing the times to be competitive and as a team agreed it wasn't right to compete in the Senior TT. We aim to be back for the Southern 100 and the Ulster Grand Prix."

Belfast Telegraph

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