Monday, June 8

KIWI CLAIMS TENTH TT AT RECORD PACE


Wellington's Bruce Anstey, already New Zealand's most successful rider at the Isle of Man, claimed his tenth TT win on Sunday in tremendous style - setting a new race record on his way to the chequered flag.


Anstey took his Padgett's Honda CBR1000 to victory in a thrilling six-lap Superbike race, overhauling long-time race leader Ian Hutchinson (Kawasaki/Paul Bird Motorsport ZX-10R) after the pit-stops at the end of the fourth lap to clinch the win.

His winning margin was 10.97 seconds, the Kiwi setting a new race record of 1 hour, 45 minutes 29.902 seconds for the six laps, an average of 128.749mph - including two pit stops.

Originally scheduled for Saturday, predicted high winds caused dangerous conditions so the race was postponed until Sunday as the medical helicopter would not be able to tend to any crashes around the island should it be needed.

But what transpired on Sunday was worth waiting for.  From the start it quickly emerged that there would be a tussle for victory throughout all six laps of the 37.733-mile course. With pre-race favourites Anstey, Ian Hutchinson and Michael Dunlop all in the mix, there was a surprise on the opening lap when 30-year-old James Hillier Kawasaki/Quattro Plant Muc-Off Kawasaki ZX-10R) emerged out in front as he reached Ramsey Hairpin with less than a second covering the top three.

By the end of the first lap, Hutchinson, Hillier and Anstey had all taken turns out in front, and the top five all completed their first lap from a standing start at over 130mph average with Hutchinson ahead by 1.2 seconds.

Hutchinson extended his lead to over four seconds as they field came in for their first pit stops at the end of the second lap, and by the end of the third Dunlop had overhauled Hillier to take third and set his sights on the front two.

However, the fourth lap saw Anstey begin to reel in Hutchinson despite the latter flashing through the Sulby speed trap at 194mph, and when the pair dived into the pits for a second and final time, Anstey had closed the lead down to just 0.2889 seconds.  The New Zealander took the lead with a quicker stop than Hutchinson, and the race was on for the final two laps.

Anstey was to prove unstoppable: by the end of his fifth lap had stretched out a 5.307 second lead over Hutchinson, with Dunlop dropping away in third.  

Although for most of his final lap Anstey was riding at the record pace he set last year, he came up short of breaking the 132.298mph lap record he set last year; his final lap was 131.797mph.

Dunlop, on course for a potential record-breaking lap on his final circuit and catching Hutchinson at an alarming rate, collided with a fallen back-marker’s stranded bike at the Nook and the race was red flagged as a result.  Race organisers reported that Scott Wilson was believed to be the other rider involved, the Kent-born 25-year-old said to have suffered a broken collarbone.

James Hillier thus completed the podium.

After the red flag, positions from seventh downwards were awarded according to the riders' place at the end of the fifth lap.

"I can't believe it - I've been waiting a long time for this," said a delighted Anstey after the race.

"I almost ran into Michael (Dunlop) on the last lap, which put me off my rhythm a bit, but I managed to get my head together again.  I've won all the other classes but this is the one I wanted. The bike ran perfectly."

Hillier finished 48.5 seconds in arrears of Hutchinson on the Quattro Plant Kawasaki, with John McGuinness fourth on his Honda, William Dunlop fifth on the Tyco BMW and Michael Rutter sixth.

Deprived of practice time on his BMW after switching from the Milwaukee Yamaha team on the Thursday of practice week, Michael Dunlop increased his lap speeds as the race went on and joined Anstey in crashing through the 131mph barrier on his fourth circuit.

Ultimately, the 26-year-old Northern Irishman came off just a short distance from the finishing line after colliding with another rider, causing the red flags to come out.

There was disappointment for Guy Martin, who retired early on the first lap.

For full results, click here