Belfast Telegraph

Emotional Anstey proud of triumph after cancer battle

Winning feeling: Bruce Anstey celebrates his victory in the Dunlop Lightweight Classic TT on the Isle of Man
Winning feeling: Bruce Anstey celebrates his victory in the Dunlop Lightweight Classic TT on the Isle of Man
Winning feeling: Bruce Anstey celebrates his victory in the Dunlop Lightweight Classic TT on the Isle of Man

By Roy Harris

Kiwi Bruce Anstey recorded one of the most popular wins in the history of racing around the 37-mile Mountain Circuit on Saturday evening when he triumphed in the Dunlop Lightweight Classic TT following a two-year absence battling cancer.

Riding the Milenco by Padgetts 250cc Grand Prix Honda, Anstey dominated the three-lap race from start to finish to claim his sixth Classic TT victory, his third in the Lightweight class.

An emotional Anstey said in the winner's enclosure: "It's awesome to win. I just can't believe it.

"Everyone - the team, Clive Padgett, my family - has just been amazing. I was right in the zone today, but on that last lap I was really nervous and short-shifting, not trying to go fast, saving the engine, just getting the bike to the end.

"The last two years have been really tough and if it wasn't for Anny (his partner) I wouldn't be here."

Team owner Padgett summed up the achievement by simply saying: "What a man - the whole world should applaud him."

In a great race for the Milenco Padgetts team, Davy Todd brought his Honda home in second position over a minute behind Anstey, who set the fastest lap of the race from a standing start of 117.053mph to open up a first-lap lead of 18 seconds.

James Hind (19) took an impressive third despite having a disaster pit stop at the end of lap one when he struggled to get the fuel cap back into place after refuelling.

In frustration, he incurred a 30-second pit lane speeding infringement which dropped him from second position to eighth before he fought back with a 116.601mph final lap to claim third.

Earlier in the day, 23-time TT winner John McGuinness delivered a dominant performance to win the re-started three-lap Bennetts Senior Classic TT race which had been red-flagged on the opening lap after an incident at Ballaugh Bridge that unfortunately claimed the life of 37-year-old New Zealand rider Chris Swallow.

On the re-start, McGuinness, riding the 500cc Winfield Paton, led by six seconds at Glen Helen on lap one from North West 200 winner Stefano Bonetti of Italy and Maria Costello, also Paton-mounted.

McGuinness' opening lap of 111.679mph took him into a 17-second lead over Bonetti, who was 25 seconds clear of Costello. The latter dropped back into the clutches of Jamie Coward (Norton), who overhauled the Paton by Ramsey on lap two.

At the chequered flag, McGuinness was 27 seconds clear of Bonetti, who secured his first Mountain Course podium, with Coward third and Costello fourth.

Derek Sheils stopped for a quick splash and dash at the end of lap two, but held onto sixth and was the only Irish finisher in the two races on Saturday.

It may be a different story this afternoon when injury-plagued Michael Dunlop goes in the four-lap RST Classic Superbike TT scheduled for a 2.15pm start.

Dunlop set the fastest speed of the week on his second lap of Saturday's practice at 125.751mph on the Team Classic Suzuki.

With Dean Harrison out of action after his incident on Friday - he clipped the wall at Doran's Bend, stayed on the LayLaw 250cc Yamaha but stopped and was taken to hospital with broken ribs - Dunlop has a chance to win his fourth F1/Superbike Classic TT.

• CHRIS Swallow, who died following the incident at Ballaugh Bridge in the Classic Senior TT, was the son of Bill Swallow, who graced many of the Irish road circuits in classic races mostly riding Aermacchi machinery and was riding in the same race as his son.

Chris had earned two runner-up places in the 2012 Classic Manx Grand Prix and was fourth in last year's Senior Classic TT race.

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