Belfast Telegraph

Dunlop on the up at last as Johnston takes nasty tumble

 

By Roy Harris

It was a case of good news and bad news for local competitors on the Isle of Man yesterday. The bad news was that Lee Johnston tumbled out of a sidecar driven by Dean Harrison at Jurby in preparation for their Parade Lap during the Classic TT.

The Fermanagh man suffered hand injuries that will keep him from riding the Team Classic Suzuki, although he still plans to ride the smaller and lighter Black Eagle MV in Monday's Junior Classic.

Holding a possible broken finger, lost skin and finger nails, Johnston said: "I thought all my bad luck was out of the way after my TT practice crash, but apparently not."

The good news was that at last Michael Dunlop got in his first Superbike qualifying laps of the week ahead of Monday's Superbike Classic TT.

His opening lap on the Team Classic Suzuki XR69 proved to be the second fastest of the week at 124.920mph, about five seconds slower than Bruce Anstey, who recorded a 125.486mph on Thursday evening.

Dunlop said: "We pulled a bike out of nowhere.

"It had a different chassis that I had never ridden before and then on lap two I think I had a fuel surge at Hillberry and stopped, but finished the lap to qualify."

Fellow Ballymoney man Darryl Tweed continued improving his times in Manx GP Newcomers 'A' to top the leaderboard at 115.317mph, while William Dunlop only managed one lap on his Classic Superbike Kawasaki at 117.392mph for 13th fastest.

William said: "Four evenings on the bounce has left my injured wrist pretty sore. I'll rest it for tomorrow's race."

The second practice session last night never completed a lap when red flags were shown after Manx GP Junior rider Mark Foster from Scunthorpe crashed between the Bungalow and Brandywell and was taken to hospital by ambulance with suspected leg injuries. Debris on the track prevented the session continuing.

Racing begins this morning with the Bennetts Senior Classic TT four-lap race at 11.30am with Michael Dunlop (MV), William Dunlop (Honda), Josh Brookes and Maria Costello (Paton's), Michael Rutter (Seeley) and Dean Harrison (MV) likely podium contenders.

The Dunlop Lightweight Classic four-lap race is scheduled for 3.30pm with Anstey clear favourite on his Padgetts 250cc Honda after unofficially breaking the class lap record in practice, but the Classic TT machines can prove fickle around the torturous Mountain Circuit, and Ian Lougher, Rutter, Michael Dunlop (250cc Yamaha) and Dan Cooper should all be in contention.

Between these two races Michael Dunlop is to re-enact the 60th anniversary of Bob McIntyre's first 100mph lap of the Island on a replica of the 500cc Gilera the Scotsman rode in 1957.

During practice yesterday ahead of this weekend's British Grand Prix at Silverstone, Marc Marquez crashed his Repsol Honda twice - fortunately without injury - while Briton Cal Crutchlow was fastest.

Belfast Telegraph

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