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Michael Dunlop powers to third overall on Isle of Man TT list with 18th win

By Roy Harris

Michael Dunlop moved to third overall in the TT all-time winners list yesterday by taking his 18th victory in a record breaking Bennetts Lightweight four-lap race on the 650cc Paton machine.

Dunlop, making it a hat-trick of wins this week, stormed to a strong victory in a contest that saw lap and race records shattered.

After his first victory in the Lightweight TT, Dunlop - whose legendary uncle Joey Dunlop has most TT wins with 26 - said: "People said that I couldn't ride a 'Twin - that'll shut them up."

Mullingar's Derek McGee, riding an IEG KMR Kawasaki for Ryan Farquhar, was half a second ahead of Ivan Lintin, with Dunlop a further one and a half seconds back in third, three seconds clear of Italian Stefano Bonetti at Glen Helen on lap one.

Lintin hit the front on the run to Ballaugh Bridge and was setting a hot pace with Dunlop into second by Ramsey just a third of a second ahead of McGee.

Lintin's pace was such that he eclipsed his own lap record with a speed of 121.603mph from a standing start to lead Dunlop by over five seconds, the Ballymoney man also under the old lap record.

On lap two, Lintin was flying and on course for another lap record, leading Dunlop by over eight seconds at the Bungalow with McGee a further four seconds back in third as they headed to their refuelling pit-stop.

Then drama as Lintin was reportedly stopped at Bedstead and Dunlop swept into his pit having broken Lintin's opening speed with a 122.257mph lap to lead McGee by four seconds, James Cowton on the McAdoo Kawasaki leapfrogging Michael Rutter, Peter Hickman and Bonetti into third.

McGee had a superb pit stop while Dunlop's was leisurely, the former building a two and a half second lead as they set off on their penultimate lap.

By Glen Helen, McGee was just over three seconds ahead, but Dunlop was on the move - one and a half seconds behind McGee at Ballaugh, and by Ramsey he had turned a three second deficit into a one and a quarter second advantage, taking a 1.692sec lead onto his last lap, a gap he extended mile after mile to cross the finish line over 14 and a half seconds clear of what was a superb ride from McGee, who was taking his first TT podium.

Dunlop's last lap time was 18m 26.543secs, breaking his own lap record with a speed of 122.750mph.

With the retirement of Lintin, Cowton and Hickman, the final step on the podium went to Rutter who was over a minute behind McGee.

Dunlop said: "Eighteen wins, that's good. When I saw Ivan (Lintin) was out, I got stuck in. After the fuel stop we had a fuel pressure issue and I saw Derek was coming, so I got a hurry on and pulled away to the win."

McGee commented: "I'm speechless. I missed last year and thought the best I could hope for was top six. When I saw a P1 board I thought 'what's happening?' I'm over the moon with this result and so happy for Ryan (Farquhar) and the team."

Earlier, Rutter became the first man to clock a 120mph+ lap of the TT circuit on his way to winning the TT Zero race on his Mugen in a contest started by His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge who later presented the trophy to Rutter.

Lee Johnston had been on course to make it a Mugen 1-2 until his machine shed its chain at the Bungalow, two spectators holding his bike while he made repairs before finishing third.

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