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Dunlop revved up for double as McGuinness sets new mark

By Paul Lindsay

Published 29/08/2016

Top man: John McGuinness after his first Classic TT victory when he set a class lap record of 113.342mph
Top man: John McGuinness after his first Classic TT victory when he set a class lap record of 113.342mph

The Isle of Man Classic TT Festival continues today with the Junior and Superbike Classic races with Michael Dunlop the man to beat in both having topped the practice sheets for the two four-lap events.

Riding a Team Classic 1100cc Suzuki, Dunlop set the fastest speed of practice week with the only 125mph lap on Friday evening and following his TT double Superbike success back in June, the fastest man ever around the 37-mile Mountain Circuit aims to repeat his victory of last year in this class.

His main rivals in this afternoon's race will be Dean Harrison riding a Kawasaki and flying Kiwi Bruce Anstey, who rides the awesome YZR 500cc GP Yamaha that he won the 2014 F1 Classic TT race on.

Anstey has only managed two practice laps on the Yamaha, but both have been over 120mph and he should be a front runner.

Dunlop has also set the fastest speed of the week for today's opening race, the Junior Classic TT, taking the Black Eagle 350cc MV Agusta round at 102.567mph, 12 seconds faster than the Honda of Jamie Coward, while William Dunlop, also Honda mounted, cannot be discounted having set the third fastest time in qualifying.

Racing is scheduled to get under way at 10.15am with the Junior Classic TT over four laps. The Superbike Classic TT, also over four laps, is set to start at 2pm.

Racing got under way on Saturday with two record breaking events with John McGuinness, 23-times a TT winner, getting his first Classic TT victory when he won the opening Senior event having retired in his three previous attempts to win the race.

Riding a Winfield Paton, McGuinness set a class lap record of 113.342mph on his second lap to get the better of Dean Harrison (MV Agusta) by 21 seconds with fellow Paton rider Maria Costello a brilliant third.

In the Classic TT Lightweight race Anstey turned in a stunning performance on his 250cc Valvoline Padgetts Honda, posting the fastest ever lap recorded by a 250cc machine around the Mountain Course when he lapped at 118.744mph on his way to a 1m 04.409sec victory over Ian Lougher.

Meanwhile during the opening races of the eighth round of the MCE British Superbike Championship at Cadwell Park yesterday Newtownabbey's Andy Reid saw his Supersport Championship hopes take a knock when he crashed out uninjured on the opening lap of 12.

Fellow Co Antrim rider Andrew Irwin finished a terrific fourth, just missing a podium position on the Gearlink Kawasaki by seven one hundredths of a second, the race won by Bradley Ray, taking his maiden Supersport victory. Reid has a second race today to make amends.

Despite crashing at the chicane with two laps remaining, Glengormley rider Aaron Wright clinched the prestigious Santander KTM British Junior Cup yesterday.

Wright battled through from a poor start, coming from seventh to a podium position with the fastest lap, but exited the race on lap six.

However his main championship rival Will Lathrope also bit the dust on the last lap, handing the title to 17-year-old Wright with races to spare.

Racing continues at Cadwell Park today where local riders and teams in Superbike, Supersport and Superstock races will all be chasing podium finishes.

Belfast Telegraph

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