DUNLOP WINS HIS THIRD TT RACE IN MONSTER ENERGY SUPERSPORT 2 THRILLER
The Ard na Mara Homes/McAdoo Racing rider took over the lead halfway round the first lap when brother William retired and he gradually pulled away from Cameron Donald who took his third runner-up spot of the week. The battle for third went all the way to the chequered flag though and it was Ryan Farquhar who got the better of Bruce Anstey by just one hundredth of a second.
The decision to hold the race later in the evening clearly paid dividends as the clouds gave way to clear blue skies and sunshine although it did present its usual hazard of bright sun from the Union Mills to Ballacraine section. Lack of adhesion flags were also being displayed at Glen Helen and Governor’s Bridge where a few damp patches remained.
It was 6.25pm when John McGuinness headed off down Bray Hill but at Glen Helen it was William Dunlop who led, the Wilson Craig Honda rider keen to improve upon his third place of two days ago. He led Michael by a healthy 2.6s with Donald a second back in third and he in turn held the same lead over the fast starting James Hillier. Anstey and McGuinness held onto fifth and sixth but Gary Johnson was in trouble and he was later given as a retirement at Ballaugh.
William Dunlop didn’t even get that far though retiring at Kirk Michael and with an opening lap of 124.391mph, Michael’s lead over Donald was 5.49s. Anstey was six seconds back in third although he was only 2.06s clear of team-mate McGuinness. Farquhar was up to fifth but there was little to choose between him, Hillier and Guy Martin. Ian Hutchinson and the exciting youngsters Dan Cooper and Dean Harrison rounded out the top ten.
Dunlop extended his lead over Donald to seven seconds at Glen Helen on the second lap with the same gap back to Anstey in third and at the end of the lap, the leading two were keeping each other in check. Meanwhile, Farquhar had opened up a gap over Hillier and was now closing in on McGuinness for fourth.
The Australian Donald reduced Dunlop’s lead to 6.5s at Ramsey on the third lap and he was now leading on the road having overhauled both Farquhar and McGuinness. The KMR Kawasaki rider sat with the Honda rider and it enabled him to get the better of not only McGuinness but also Anstey who he had now relegated to fourth. It was still close though with just 0.46s between them.
At the head of the field, Dunlop responded to his signals and didn’t allow Donald to get any closer. Indeed, with the fastest lap of the race 125.629mph, he extended his lead throughout the final lap to take his second Supersport win and third TT win in total, his eventual winning margin being 13.26s. Donald was secure in second but Farquhar had to race all the way to the bitter end and he got the better of Anstey for the final podium spot by the tiny amount of 0.01s.
McGuinness had to settle for fifth on this occasion and Ian Hutchinson came through for sixth, the Swan Yamaha rider getting stronger as the race progressed. That meant that Hillier and Martin were in seventh and eighth with Dan Stewart and Dan Cooper rounding out the top ten, the latter scoring his best ever TT result.
The results mean there’s everything to play for in the TT Rider’s Championship with just 8 points now separating McGuinness (74), Anstey (67) and Donald (66). However, the race for the Privateer’s Championship has now been decided with Stewart leading on an unassailable 83 points. The battle for second is wide open though with Cooper on 44 and Stefano Bonetti on 42 currently occupying second and third.