Belfast Telegraph

Hutchy takes a step up but deaths cast cloud over TT

 

By Roy Harris

Ian Hutchinson became the third most successful solo TT rider in history yesterday when he took victory in the four-lap RL 360 Quantum Superstock race to make it two wins so far this week for the Tyco BMW rider.

It was the 16th TT win for the Bingley Bullet, putting him 10 behind Joey Dunlop's record of 26 wins and seven behind John McGuinness on 23.

But the racing was overshadowed by more tragic news as top Irish road racer Alan Bonner became the third rider to lose his life during this year's TT following an incident at the 33rd Milestone during a qualifying lap for Supersport and Superstock races.

Bonner was an accomplished road racer and had won the Grand Final at his local Kells Road Races in 2015.

The 33-year-old from Stanmullen, Co. Meath became the fastest ever rider from the Republic of Ireland during the 2015 TT when he lapped at 127.090mph.

Bonner, riding for the NW Racing Team, had finished 29th in Sunday's Superbike race and 30th in yesterday's Superstock race, earning bronze replicas in both.

Earlier in the day, 28-year-old Dutch rider Jochem ven den Hoek died following an incident at the 11th Milestone on the opening lap of the Superstock race, while 48-year-old Davey Lambert from Gateshead passed away in Aintree Hospital, Liverpool from injuries sustained in Sunday's Superbike race following a crash at Greeba Castle. ACU Events have launched inquiries into all three incidents.

Hutchinson took control of the race from Ballaugh Bridge on lap one, overhauling early pacesetter Michael Rutter before going on to win by some 22 seconds from Peter Hickman, who took his third podium in three races. Manxman Dan Kneen recorded his maiden TT rostrum as he finished 21 seconds further back.

Hutchinson said: "The whole dash on the bike went blank and I switched it on and off again and nothing happened, so I waved for my mechanic and he did the same and it came back on, not what you want 10 seconds from the start.

"With the track still being green and running with new tyres, this year it was a tough race. The pit stop where we changed the rear tyre and made a small suspension adjustment was crucial. It's thanks to Tyco BMW and everyone involved that got us here."

Rutter won his first petrol TT since 1998 (he did win the 2013 TT Zero race) when he rode an Italian 650cc Paton to victory in the Lightweight TT.

The 45-year-old veteran led the four-lap race from start to finish to win by 8.818 seconds from Martin Jessopp (Kawasaki), while Hickman got his fourth podium of the meeting on the IEG KMR Kawasaki of Ryan Farquhar.

Rutter, now a five-time TT winner, said: "Absolutely brilliant. These are not the fastest things in a straight line and you make up the ground through the corners. I didn't understand a thing the Italian mechanics were saying, but they did their job, I did mine and the Paton never missed a beat."

Farquhar was over the moon with Hickman's third place. He said: "To get a bike on the podium after what happened last year at the North West, I'm delighted. Peter is a big guy and these are not easily ridden. We made a lot of changes before the race and weren't sure what to expect, so for Peter to bring it home in third is amazing. Josh Brookes also rode a great race on my other machine to finish sixth. It has been a great day all round for the team."

The McAdoo Kawasakis of Michael Dunlop and James Cowton finished seventh and eighth, while Paul Jordan finished 19th.

Adam McLean was forced to retire on the third lap at Ballaugh Bridge when running an excellent ninth.

Racing continues today with the second four-lap Supersport race scheduled for 12.15pm, the first one won by Michael Dunlop on Monday.

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