Hutch eyeing a fab five at Isle of Man TT
Ballymoney’s Michael Dunlop came agonisingly close to his second Isle of Man TT career victory in yesterday’s TT Supersport event — setting a new lap record of 127.836mph — but the 21-year-old was narrowly defeated after four pulsating laps by Ian Hutchinson.
The Yorkshireman’s 1.45 seconds victory over Dunlop was his fourth from four starts at TT 2010, equalling local man Phillip McCallen’s feat in 1996.
The 28-year-old Padgetts Honda rider will now get the chance to make it five from five during today’s six-lap blue riband Senior TT on the Mountain Course — something that has never been achieved in over 100 years of racing at the TT.
“That was a tough, tough race,” he admitted.
“I have been struggling badly with a heavy cold and if it had been the big bike I was riding I don't think I could have ridden as well.”
Hutchinson’s Supersport win also wrapped up the overall TT Championship in which he has an unassailable lead, and will now collect the Joey Dunlop Trophy and a handsome cheque for efforts.
Already a triple winner before yesterday’s action, Hutchinson was the early leader at Glen Helen ahead of Guy Martin, Michael Dunlop and Bruce Anstey.
John McGuinness and Ryan Farquhar were also in the early mix.
At the end of the opening lap, Hutchinson had eked out a 5.3 second lead over Dunlop who was five seconds to the good over Martin with Kojak Racing Honda mounted Keith Amor fourth, a further seven seconds adrift.
On the ‘twisty bits’, as the 21-year-old affectionately refers to them, from the start/finish through to Ramsey Hairpin, Dunlop was simply sublime, taking almost four seconds out of Hutchinson on lap two, reducing the deficit to 1.4 seconds.
At the end of lap two, where riders pit for fuel and a visor change, Hutchinson’s lead had grown to eight seconds but the dogged determination we have come to expect from young Dunlop trimmed it back to less than two again at Ramsey Hairpin.
At the end of lap three Hutchinson was still 3.3 seconds to the good over Dunlop but the bullish youngster used all his physical power through to Glen Helen and from Ginger Hall to Ramsey to take the lead by 1.82 seconds.
The last lap throw of the dice for both men was up through Waterworks and over the Mountain on the final circuit, but short circuit scratcher Hutchinson threw caution to the wind, re-taking the lead at the Bungalow and holding on to take the win.
“I lacked enough speed on the Mountain section where Ian was really strong — that comes from his short circuit experience,” said Dunlop.
“I will just have to try harder next time.”
Amor took the final podium spot from Martin, with McGuinness fifth, Conor Cummins sixth and William Dunlop seventh.
The action was overshadowed by the death of Paul Dobbs (39) from New Zealand after an incident at Ballygarey in TT Supersport race 2.
Paul, who lived on the Isle of Man, was an experienced TT rider and was married with two children.