Brilliant Bruce Anstey has one almighty day despite weather
Bruce Anstey was the rider who shone brightest at a weather-hit Ulster Grand Prix meeting. The opening Supersport race was eventually won by Anstey but it had to be halted after less than half a lap following a spill involving three riders in the damp and windy conditions.
Dean Harrison, Dan Kneen and Keith Amor crashed at Ireland’s Bend causing the race to be red flagged.
All three were transferred to the Royal Victoria Hospital — Amor with suspected broken ribs, Kneen a broken foot and Harrison a dislocated shoulder, four broken ribs and a suspected broken wrist.
After a lengthy delay the race eventually ran and was again a thrilling encounter in sketchy conditions with William Dunlop making a lightning start and leading Guy Martin, Anstey, Lee Johnston and Michael Dunlop by four seconds at the end of lap one.
A lap later Anstey was into second at Joey’s and at the end of the lap William’s lead was being reeled in by the flying New Zealander and his Valvoline Padgetts Honda.
Going into the Deers Leap on lap three the pair were elbow to elbow, pulling clear of Johnston in third, who was now well ahead of Martin in fourth, Michael Dunlop having retired to the pits at the end of lap two.
Behind Martin, James Cowton, Russ Mountford, Daley Mathison and Ivan Lintin were battling in close proximity, just two seconds separating them.
Anstey seemed to have the edge down the ‘Flying Kilo’ while William had the grunt up the hill from Leathemstown, never more than a 10th of a second separating them.
On the last lap Anstey took the lead through Rock Bends, but as the pair came across a tailender at Deers Leap, Anstey was momentarily blocked, allowing Dunlop back into the lead and seemingly on his way to victory.
However it wasn’t to be, as on the final climb up towards Wheelers the engine of the Tyco Suzuki let go and Dunlop was forced to retire in a cloud of smoke, handing victory to Anstey by over six seconds from Johnston with Martin 12 seconds back in third.
Lintin got the better of the battle for fourth, four seconds clear of Cowton and Mountford.
Anstey, who had set the fastest lap of 126.088mph on lap five and stepped onto the top step of the rostrum for the ninth time at the UGP, said: “I had a couple of places I was going to make a move then his bike blew and it was a good job I had a good advantage over Lee, as my visor got covered in William’s oil and visibility wasn’t great for the last few miles.”
A gutted William commented: “That was hard to take. I’m disappointed.”
Johnston said: “This is my fourth UGP podium — I don’t know what I have to do to win one.”
Meanwhile, James Cowton won the Lisburn City Council Lightweight race by over half a minute from John Ella.
Belfast Telegraph Digital