Michael makes history... but brother's health is what matters
This is how you make history — and make it look easy. It was no real surprise when Michael Dunlop joined TT legends Steve Hislop and Phillip McCallen on 11 wins yesterday, taking the Senior TT with 14 seconds to spare over Manx man Conor Cummins, with Guy Martin almost 10 seconds further back in third.
A gracious McCallen was among the first to congratulate a man he describes as the best road-racer in the world, and who could argue with that?
Yesterday Michael became the first man to win four races in a week two years in a row — and on different matchines; those statistics are worthy of any plaudits going.
His success was, however tempered by the news that brother William had crashed heavily on the Mountain on the third lap when challenging for a podium.
He was taken to Nobles Hospital with a double leg fracture but was well enough to be discharged last night.
And, after his chequered flag, Michael hit out at those people who had built up a supposed feud between the brothers all week saying, “I could not give a toss what they say.
My thoughts are with William; he means more to me than the race.”
When he did get back to talking about the race, Michael said: “This was my main target for the week.
“Saturday was for BMW, but this was for me personally although I have to admire what BMW have done.
“They came here with no experience; I put my faith in them and them in me and it has all worked out perfectly.
“To win this famous race for the first time and to join Steve and Phillip on 11 wins is incredible.
“My dad (Robert) always told me Steve Hislop was the best he had ever seen around here.
“My boards showed me seventh on the first lap, but we just kept plugging away, got to the front and controlled things to the chequered flag — you don’t have to win TT races by 50-odd seconds, but keep things under control and bring the bike home.”
Things had not looked good for the factory BMW rider as he was down in seventh position at Glen Helen, the first timing section, on lap one with the Tyco Suzuki of his elder brother William leading the six-lap, 226.38mile marathon race in perfect conditions, with Cummins second and Martin, Dean Harrison, John McGuinness and Dan Kneen all ahead of Michael.
William was still ahead at the Bungalow, but Michael was on the move, up to third behind Cummins and by the end of a stunning opening lap was leading the race less than a second ahead of Martin with Cummins third and William back in fourth ahead of Harrison — all having lapped at over 130mph.
On lap two at Glen Helen, William was back in second while Michael was now three seconds clear going through Sulby speed trap at 190.6mph on his way to a new class lap record of 131.668mph, with William, who had set his fastest ever TT lap at 130.853mph, over seven and a half seconds behind.
But on the next lap, William did not appear on the timing screens at the Bungalow and everyone held their breath until it was announced that the 28-year old Ballymoney rider had crashed at Graham’s on the Mountain, but was conscious with a suspected broken leg.
Meanwhile Michael was in control of the race pitting at the end of lap four for his second fuel stop almost 10 seconds clear of Cummins with Martin back to third and Bruce Anstey fourth, fractionally ahead of James Hillier after Harrison had retired at Sulby Bridge on lap three.
Dunlop took a 9.8 secs lead onto his sixth and final lap — a high speed 130.517mph cruise to win his first Senior TT.
Anstey and Hillier swapped places several times on the final lap before the New Zealander flew down the Mountain for the final time to overhaul Hillier and take fourth by just over a second while John McGuinness rode a steady race to finish sixth.
Peter Hickman finished the race in 11th position, but finished with a sensational lap of 129.104mph to become the fastest ever newcomer around the 37-mile Mountain Circuit.
Belfast Telegraph Digital