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Michael Dunlop revved and ready

By Paul Lindsay

Published 26/08/2015

King of the road: Michael Dunlop at Quarterbridge during the opening night’s qualifying for the Classic TT on the Isle of Man
King of the road: Michael Dunlop at Quarterbridge during the opening night’s qualifying for the Classic TT on the Isle of Man

Practice sessions for the Classic TT and Manx Grand Prix were abandoned last night due to weather conditions on the Isle of Man, but a resumption is expected this evening (6.20pm).

The weather didn't cause any major concerns in the earlier sessions, with Michael Dunlop on his F1 Team Classic Suzuki first away in qualifying with David Johnson on the Team York Suzuki following shortly afterwards.

Australian Johnson has the honour of the number 1 plate and will be first away in the Motorsport Merchandise Formula 1 Race on Bank Holiday Monday.

William Dunlop got his first laps on the distinctive sounding Team National Motorcycle Museum/Crighton Racing Rotary Norton, while last year's F1 winner Bruce Anstey was one of the first away on the Valvoline Racing by Padgetts YZR500 Yamaha.

Nostalgic race fans were then treated to their first sight of Michael Rutter riding an identical machine to the one his father Tony achieved podiums on in the 1984 Formula 1 TT and TT Formula 1 World Championship.

Dungannon's Ryan Farquhar posted the fastest lap at 117.70mph on the Team Winfield Yamaha with Gary Johnson (116.84mph) and Team Classic Suzuki's Michael Dunlop (116.11mph) also putting in good opening night efforts.

In the 500cc class five riders posted laps in excess of 100mph, with last year's race winner Ian Lougher on Giovanni Cabassi's Flitwick Motorcycles CMM Paton clocking the fastest time of 104.20mph.

John McGuinness (Team Winfield Paton), Michael Dunlop (Norton/Team Molnar Manx), Jamie Coward (Craven Honda K4) and Olie Linsdell, on the Flitwick Motorcycles Royal Enfield, were the other riders breaking the 100mph lap barrier.

In the concurrent 350cc session Michael Rutter on the Ripley Land Racing Honda, Bill Swallow on the AJS and MV Agusta/Black Eagle Racing duo Lee Johnston and Dean Harrison posted the four fastest times.

The Classic TT Lap of Honour is set to be one of the highlights.

This year's lap of honour, which takes place on Bank Holiday Monday, is a celebration of some of the UK's finest ever road racers, as well as the career of TT legend Geoff Duke, and the line-up includes riders with a combined total of 95 TT victories and 209 TT podiums.

Four Northern Ireland TT legends - Brian Reid, Phillip McCallen, Con Law and current star Michael Dunlop - will appear.

Belfast Telegraph

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