Timing is cut as Isle of Man TT gets back on track
After the disappointment of Monday night's cancellation due to gale force winds on the Isle of Man, last night's TT practice meeting got under way as planned but was run as an untimed session.
Michael Dunlop led the pack off at 6.25pm onboard the raspy-sounding factory-backed Milwaukee Yamaha YZF-R1M, and while the 11-time TT winner and many of his peers had a steady opening lap, five-in-a-week man Ian Hutchinson was the first back after the opening 37.73-miles for Superbikes at TT2015.
The Bingley rider looked to be back to his best at this year's Vauxhall International North West 200 onboard Paul Bird's PBM Kawasaki, and for many in the know, is being tipped to add to his eight career wins on the island this year.
Wind and rain halted the session 20 minutes early at 7.40pm after an announcement by Clerk of the Course Gary Thompson MBE, and according to TT legend and 21-time winner John McGuinness, it was the correct decision.
"I've done three laps out there tonight and I feel like I've gone a few rounds with Mike Tyson," said the Morecambe based factory Honda racer.
"It's cold and bit dodgy up on the Mountain, but that's the TT for you."
His Honda team-mate and Isle of Man local Conor Cummins also voiced concern, stating: "It's very windy up on the Mountain and Windy Corner is certainly living up to its name."
Dungannon's Ryan Farquhar was back on a 1000cc machine at the Isle of Man for the first time since 2012, and although he enjoyed the experience, he said candidly, if not a little out of breath: "It was good to get out there but a big shock to the system."
"You could really get caught out in the wind. There were also a few damp patches out there and it needs treated with respect," said the KMR Kawasaki team owner who was fastest in the opening session on Saturday night aboard his Supertwin ER6 with a 117mph lap.
Current World Superbike Championship leader Jonathan Rea was taking in the action at the grandstand last night. The Ballyclare lad is based in the Isle of Man and will be taking in a parade lap next week.
"It's always nice to be here," said the factory Kawasaki Racing Team number one.
"Sadly it's not long enough, as I have to head off to do my day job tomorrow, as we are racing this weekend at Portimao.
"But I will be back next week to ride in the Monster Parade lap on a ZX-10R and I can't wait."
The session was eventually abandoned at 8.05pm after the Clerk of the Course announced a huge oil spillage at the Laurel Bank section of the circuit, and combined with what he described as "soaking wet" conditions on the Mountain, we will be almost five days into TT2015 before a premier class time will likely be recorded.
Fingers crossed for better conditions this evening, which is set to get under way at 6.20pm with the Superbike, Superstock and Supersport sessions.