Belfast Telegraph

Harrison hails Classic triumph, but more woe for Dunlop

 

By Roy Harris

The fastest road racer in the world, Dean Harrison, added the Classic Superbike TT title to his CV yesterday with a start-to-finish win in the four-lap race, in which he and Kiwi Bruce Anstey both broke Michael Dunlop's lap record.

The disappointment of this year's Classic TT event continued for Dunlop, who was forced to retire in the pits at the end of lap one. He was running in the top three until Ramsey before he dropped off the leaderboard and ultimately lost his lap record.

Anstey was the first to break the record. He did so on lap two at 126.995mph, but only held it for half a minute before Harrison registered 127.212mph.

Anstey, on the YZR 500cc Padgett Yamaha, lost time to Harrison at the fuel stop but on his final lap he broke the record once again, leaving the new mark for the class at 127.496mph.

The four-stroke Kawasaki of Harrison proved unbeatable, however. He said: "I got stuck in at the start and was getting good boards. I was feeling a bit under the weather today and with a good lead was able to cruise around the last lap.

"This is my first time winning this particular race - it's the one everybody wants to win."

In the earlier Classic Junior TT, Lee Johnston, who was riding with an injured right hand, led the three-lap race on the Black Eagle MV Agusta from Glen Helen on the opening lap until he had to pit at the end of lap two for a splash and dash fuel stop.

That handed the lead to Michael Rutter on the Ripley Land 350cc Honda, and he won by 10.25 seconds from Johnston.

Rutter was able to complete the three laps on one tank of fuel and turned a 25-second deficit into a 12-second lead over the Maguiresbridge rider at Glen Helen on the final lap, a lead he never relinquished.

Rutter, who was disqualified from second position in Saturday's Lightweight Classic TT for a technical infringement, said: "It's been a hard week, and this makes up for the disappointment of Saturday.

"You have to ride the wheels off these bikes through the corners to keep up the momentum. I had one or two people giving me the thumbs up on the last lap and I just kept my head down."

Johnston, who was wearing his own specially designed helmet on the first anniversary of his father Everett's death which depicted the pair, said: "I didn't want to take my glove off after that as I didn't know what I'd find.

"The bike ran like a dream, it was having to make that pit stop that did it. I was a bit lethargic in the early stages but when I got a board saying I was leading that perked me up a bit after what has been a tough old year."

Belfast Telegraph

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