Ian Hutchinson wins third consecutive Isle of Man TT supersport race
Ian Hutchinson won his third consecutive Isle of Man TT supersport race after winning Monday’s opening event, finishing nearly 15 seconds ahead of Saturday’s victor Michael Dunlop to join the Northern Irishman on the same number of wins around the TT course.
After winning both supersport races last year on the Team Traction Control Yamaha R6, Hutchinson was the favourite heading into Monday’s opening race and the Yorkshireman fully justified his billing, leading from start to finish to claim his first win of the week and set himself up perfectly for the afternoon’s superstock race.
“Well I just seem to have a bit of a connection with this bike and I got away and knew I had to pull away in the first two sectors,” Hutchinson said afterwards.
“There were more backmarkers than ever on that final lap but I knew that Michael would come across them too and you just have to accept you’re going to lose time.
“The run from Glen Helen to Ballaugh I was held up all through Barregarrow. I nearly high-sided because I tried to rev my engine to let him know I was there and nearly ended up upside down.”
While Hutchinson set a new race record for the 600cc event, he was unable to beat the outstanding lap record set back in 2013 by Dunlop, with Hutchinson’s fastest lap coming within 1mph of the 128.666 that Dunlpp set three years ago.
Hutchinson joked: “All the records have been going this week except the 600 and I’ve been scratching my head and telling the team this bike was brilliant last year, but it was brilliant today.”
The race proved to be a short one for both Peter Hickman and Michael Rutter as neither made it to Glen Helen on the opening lap, with both stopping in the opening stages – Hickman would later limp back to the pits. Hutchinson had started quickly though and immediately built a lead over Dunlop and Dean Harrison.
By the end of the opening lap, Dunlop was trailing Hutchinson by over 10 seconds, and the ‘Bingley Bullet’ was showing the same dominant form that saw him win both supersport races last year. Before the leaders had reached the Ramsey Hairpin, Hutchinson was in front on the road after passing John McGuinness on the Sulby Straight, meaning he had eradicated the 30-second difference between the two in just a lap and a half.
McGuinness was involved in a mighty scrap for fourth though, with James Hillier, Conor Cummins, McGuinness, Lee Johnston and Bruce Anstey all covered by less than eight seconds.
As the field headed to the pits at the end of the second lap, Cummins had taken a slender 2.2 second lead over Hillier for fourth, with McGuinness a further second back, while both Johnston and Anstey had struggled and dropped back as a result.
Hutchinson’s stop went without drama to send the Yamaha R6 on its way. Lap three proved kinder to Dunlop as he took a couple of seconds out of Hutchinson on the run out to Ballaugh Bridge, with Anstey retiring from the race shortly after leaving the pits.
Hillier meanwhile benefitted from a lightning stop to leapfrog Cummins into fourth, while Harrison was experiencing a rather lonely race as he trailed second-place Dunlop by 19 seconds with the same gap back to Hillier.
Dunlop took another second out of Hutchinson on the run over the mountain, but the run to Cronk-ny-Mona saw Hutchinson pull away again to stretch the lead back out to 11 seconds as they embarked on the final lap of the race.
Dunlop’s fightback proved to be brief, and Hutchinson pulled away on the final lap to come home first on the road and first on the timesheets to take a dominant victory on the Yamaha R6, with Dunlop taking second on his MD Racing Yamaha to back up Saturday’s superbike victory while Harrison claimed an impressive third place for the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki outfit.
The victory represented the 12th time Hutchinson had topped the podium, putting him level with Dunlop in tied-fifth on the all-time race winners, with only Joey Dunlop, McGuinness, sidercar rider Dave Molyneux and Mike Hailwood ahead of the pair.
1. Ian Hutchinson
2. Michael Dunlop + 14.303 seconds
3. Dean Harrison + 52.912s
4. James Hillier + 1:10.962 minutes
5. Conor Cummins + 1:11.698m
6. John McGuinness + 1:16.478m
7. Lee Johnston + 1:55.896m
8. William Dunlop + 2:14.876m
9. Steve Mercer + 2:36.082m
10. Gary Johnson + 2:57.819m