Belfast Telegraph

Michael Dunlop is delighted to raise the bar in Super Isle of Man TT triumph

Isle Of Man TT

Road warrior: Michael Dunlop leads the way
Road warrior: Michael Dunlop leads the way
Michael Dunlop giving the thumbs up after his triumph and enjoying the moment with sponsor DJ Carl Cox

By Roy Harris

Michael Dunlop (MD Racing Honda) scored a record-breaking victory in yesterday morning's Monster Energy four-lap Supersport race when he came home 10.2 seconds clear of Dean Harrison (Silicone Kawasaki).

On the second lap, Dunlop scorched around the 37-mile Mountain Circuit in 17 minutes and 31.328 seconds to shatter his own five-year-old lap record by over four seconds with a speed of 129.197mph.

Just like in Saturday's TT Superbike race, Harrison set off like a greyhound out of the traps to lead through the first timing point at Glen Helen by a second from Dunlop, James Hillier, Peter Hickman, Gary Johnson and Lee Johnston.

By Ballaugh Bridge, Dunlop had clawed the deficit back to 0.2 seconds, and by Ramsey Hairpin he had wrestled the lead from Harrison by a second, with Hillier a further eight seconds adrift in third and Hickman still in fourth, a mere fraction of a second ahead of local star Conor Cummins and Johnson.

As they blasted past the packed Grandstand and out onto lap two, Dunlop's speed was 128.265mph, just shy of the record, but he was 1.7 seconds ahead of Harrison, with Hickman and the Trooper Beer by Smiths Triumph taking third and pushing Hillier back to fourth.

In what was turning into a two-horse race between Dunlop and Harrison, the pair were now over 14 seconds clear of Hickman.

As they pitted for their only fuel stop of the race, it was announced that 29-year-old Ballymoney rider Dunlop had clocked 129.197mph for a stunning new lap record, giving him a healthy 6.4 second lead.

The closest battle on the roads now was for the final step on the podium with Hickman, Hillier and Johnston fighting it out.

A superb pit stop saw Hillier close to within two tenths of a second on 31-year-old Hickman at Glen Helen, with Padgetts Honda duo Cummins and Johnston 10 seconds further back in fifth and sixth.

By Ballaugh, Hillier was back into third, 0.6 seconds ahead of Hickman, a gap which he doubled by Ramsey.

Harrison still led on the road with Dunlop in his slip stream as the pair hurtled onto their final lap, the Ballymoney man knowing that all he had to do was sit on his rival's back wheel and the race was his.

This he did, with Harrison, in an act of sportsmanship, allowing Dunlop past on the run to the chequered flag, which nearly cost him second place.

Hickman had retaken third and finished just a quarter of a second behind Harrison, with Hillier 1.8 seconds behind the Triumph in fourth, Cummins fifth and Josh Brookes sixth on the McAms Yamaha.

Hickman joked afterwards: "Dean can thank his pal Lee (Johnston) for that second place as I got stuck behind him through Governors Dip."

Johnston finished in eighth, Derek McGee 11th, Davy Todd a brilliant 12th on his TT debut on the Cookstown BE Honda, Adam McLean 17th and Michael Sweeney 18th.

Dunlop said: "That's more like it, 17 wins, I'm starting to ride well and I genuinely think a 130mph Supersport lap is on in the second race on Wednesday.

"Dean is riding quick and is quick out of the blocks. He's the ideal size for these bikes, Peter's too tall and I'm too wide to get squeezed into a 600. The sun was out, the pace hot, so you have to up your game. We had decided to shove a new rear tyre in and it went perfectly in the pits. I got away with Dean and he dragged me along, so we just cruised round the last couple of laps."

Harrison commented: "I got a good start, although I was a bit hesitant getting past the riders in front and must have been like a red rag to a bull for Michael starting behind me. Honestly, I didn't think I had the pace on the 600 to stay with these boys. I'm really pumped for the Superstock race now."

Hickman admitted, "I probably went too steady at the start, then at the pit stop I got lost and didn't know which button to push for the rev-limiter.

"On the last lap there was an accident on the mountain and like everybody else I had to slow down, from fifth to second gear."

Belfast Telegraph


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