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Michael Dunlop clocks 20th TT triumph on day scarred by tragic loss of Davy Morgan

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Michael Dunlop celebrates winning the opening Supersport race on his MD Racing Yamaha

Michael Dunlop celebrates winning the opening Supersport race on his MD Racing Yamaha

Michael Dunlop celebrates winning the opening Supersport race on his MD Racing Yamaha

Michael Dunlop toasted his 20th Isle of Man TT victory after edging out Dean Harrison to win yesterday’s opening Supersport race, which was overshadowed by the tragic death of Co Down rider Davy Morgan.

The 52-year-old died following a crash on the final lap on the Mountain section at the 27th Milestone.

Dunlop and Harrison battled all the way in the three-lap encounter, with never more than a few seconds between them throughout the 113-mile race.

However, a new lap record by Dunlop on the final lap was enough to break Harrison’s challenge as the Northern Ireland man took a hard-fought win by 5.6s.

Peter Hickman, who won Saturday’s Superbike race, finished third ahead of Fermanagh rider Lee Johnston.

A delighted Dunlop, who now joins his uncle Joey (26 wins) and John McGuinness (23) as the only TT riders to reach 20 victories or more, bettered his 2018 lap record with a new benchmark of 129.47mph on his MD Racing Yamaha.

“It was steady, a good race and there’s life in the old dog yet,” said Dunlop.

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“I can’t thank the boys enough for the work they have put in. It’s been a tough week, a hard week and I had to give my 600 mechanic over to the big bike, and we’ve been looking after the 600 all week.

“I got caught badly with the lads in front of me and they were sucking me back a bit as well with the tow from me, but Dean is fast. Somebody told me in the pits that it was Dean and I knew then that I had to get my groove on.

“It’s good to get another one and I love this place, so thanks to the team and it’s been a tough year.”

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Davy Morgan

Davy Morgan

Davy Morgan

Runner-up Harrison had closed the gap on Dunlop to a mere 0.140s on the last lap at Glen Helen, but that was as close as he got, with the Bradford rider unable to match the 33-year-old’s pace on his DAO Racing Kawasaki.

“We had a fuel pump problem and every time I hit the brakes, I had fuel coming out and going up my face, so I was almost high out there!” Harrison said.

“Fair play to Michael, the ZX-6 was going quite well but the R6 is really strong, we know that, so to get so close is a good start to the week with what we’ve just done.”

It was Dunlop’s 68th TT start and his 31st podium finish at the event, underscoring his standing as one of the greatest TT riders of all time.

Fellow countryman Johnston’s bid for the podium was hampered when he lost time during his pit-stop, but the Ashcourt Racing rider fought back on his Yamaha to pip James Hillier for fourth.

Jamie Coward finished sixth on the KTS/Steadplan Yamaha ahead of Milenco by Padgett’s Honda riders Conor Cummins and Davey Todd.

Magherafelt’s Paul Jordan brought the PreZ Racing Yamaha home in 11th despite incurring a 30-second penalty for speeding in pit lane.

In the rescheduled Superstock race, held in the evening after a delay following the fatal accident in the Supersport event, Hickman dominated from start to finish on his Gas Monkey Garage BMW by FHO Racing.

The English rider won by almost 13 seconds from Manx favourite Conor Cummins, who overhauled his Milenco by Padgett’s Honda team-mate Davey Todd to claim the runner-up spot.

Cummins set the fastest lap of the race and his personal best TT speed at 133.16mph on the third and last lap.

“The bike worked faultless right from the start and I felt really comfortable, it’s working so good and it makes my life easy really,” said Hickman.

Harrison was fourth ahead of Dunlop on his MD Racing Honda.

No racing is due on the island today, but the action is scheduled to resume tomorrow with the Supertwin (11.45am) and second Supersport (2.45pm) races.


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