McGuinness powers home in Centenary Victory and Molyneux overcomes problems to record 12th TT victory.
Postponed from Saturday and further delayed by two hours due to damp and misty conditions, the race eventually got underway at 12.45pm and the HM Plant Honda rider put in his usual quick first lap to head the field.
With an opening lap speed of 127.804mph, despite a few damp patches, McGuinness led Martin by 4.5 seconds with Hutchinson in third ahead of Martin Finnegan and Ian Lougher but the Hydrex Honda of Martin was making a fight of it and the gap had only extended by half a second at Ramsey Hairpin. However, a blistering run over the Mountain saw him break the class lap record at 128.279mph and a perfect pit stop saw his lead rocket up to 17 seconds - from here on in his lead was never under threat.
Martin suffered at both pit stops and having done the hard work of overhauling Hutchinson and Finnegan on the road, on both occasions he had to do it all over again but he managed to achieve the feat and continued to press hard. McGuinness, whose lead was up to 36 seconds at the end of lap four, rode to his signals for the remaining 75 miles though and allowed his advantage to drop down to 26 seconds at the chequered flag.
It was win number 12 for the Morecambe man, the third highest total in history, and he led home Martin and Hutchinson with the top six being completed by Finnegan, Lougher and Ryan Farquhar. Adrian Archibald took seventh ahead of Conor Cummins and Ian Armstrong whilst the excellent newcomer Steve Plater won the last of the silver replicas. There were also impressive performances from fellow first timers Keith Amor in 14th and Gary Johnson in 20th. Indeed, the honour of the fastest lap speed ever set by a newcomer fell to Amor whose last lap was a superb 123.750mph.
McGuinness’ total of 12 wins was matched just a few hours later when Dave Molyneux came from behind to take the opening F2 Sidecar race, making it a doubly successful day for the HM Plant Honda team. Partnered for the first time by Rick Long, who equalled the late Wolfgang Kalauch’s passenger record of 7 TT wins, the duo overcame all their problems in practice to overhaul long time race leaders John Holden and Andrew Winkle on the final lap, winning at an average speed of 111.668mph.
The Manx pairing of Nick Crowe and Dan Sayle led in the early stages but after catching and passing Molyneux on the road, they were soon reported as touring at Quarry Bends and retired just a mile up the road at Sulby Crossroads whilst another pre-race favourite Klaus Klaffenbock and Christian Parzer only got as far as Ballacraine. Holden and Winkle then seized the lead and they led the field by just under 9 seconds at the end of the opening lap with Molyneux overtaking Steve Norbury and Scott Parnell for second.
However, Moly had now got the bit between his teeth and as he got more and more dialled in with both the circuit and his machine, he began to eat into Holden’s lead and going into the final lap it was less than two seconds. Norbury was holding on to a safe third ahead of Allan Schofield/Peter Founds and Simon Neary/Stuart Bond whilst Conrad Harrison/Kerry Williams and Nigel Connole/Jamie Winn were flying through the field from their start numbers of 24 and 25 respectively.
At the head of the field though, Molyneux and Long were in the ascendancy and with the fastest lap of the race, 112.736mph, they were able to not only reel in Holden and Winkle but also to pull away and they completed the three laps exactly six and a half seconds clear. Norbury and Parnell held on for third, the Yorkshire driver’s seventh successive podium and tenth in total, with Neary getting the better of Schofield for fifth. Connole came home in sixth ahead of Harrison with the top ten completed by Tony Elmer/Darren Marshall, Glyn Jones/Chris Lake and Andy Laidlow/Patrick Farrance.