However, Anstey was forced out of the lead at the first pit stop with mechanical problems whilst Donald had an oil leak on the final lap and all of this allowed McGuinness to take the win by an eventual 51.95seconds. Ian Hutchinson followed up his second in Wednesday’s Supersport race with third.
Conditions were again ideal for some high speed winds with dry, sunny weather all around the course whilst riders were warned of cement dust on the surface between the Bungalow and Brandywell. The first two laps were certainly some of the finest ever witnessed on the Island and there was only a matter of seconds between the top few riders at all of the timing points. It was McGuinness who led at Glen Helen on the opening lap but only by the almost unbelievable margin of 0.04seconds from Hutchinson. Anstey was 0.64 back in third, Donald 0.86 behind Anstey and Guy Martin only 0.54 behind the Australian – indeed, just 2.86seconds split the 6!
It was almost as close at Ramsey but whilst McGuinness still led, Anstey was up to second, just 0.15seconds behind, with Hutchinson dropping to fifth behind Donald and Martin who were still only a second apart. Anstey got over the Mountain the quickest and with an opening lap of 128.631mph, he led McGuinness by 0.46seconds. Donald and Martin were still right in contention though with the flying four still only split by 2.56seconds.
Anstey really motored on the second lap and he was beginning to edge ever so slightly clear. His best ever lap of 129.445mph saw him move almost 2 seconds clear as they came to the pit stop but there was drama when the Supersport winner climbed off the bike – his race was over with both chain and clutch problems. The drama didn’t end there either as 4th placed Martin’s bike refused to fire, and he had to be helped at the end of pit lane. After was seemed like an age he eventually got going but the engine note signalled that all was not well and he pulled in a mile down the road at Quarter Bridge. Hutchinson was still in fifth when they came into the pits with Farquhar just getting the better of Gary Johnson for sixth.
With two of the main protagonists out, the race was now a straight head to head between McGuinness and Donald and with the Englishman having the edge over the run to Glen Helen and the Australian being the quicker to Ramsey, the gap between the two was never more than a few seconds. At two-thirds race distance, Donald was back in the lead but the gap was only 0.47seconds – simply stunning! Hutchinson was secure in third and with Farquhar beginning to edge away from Johnson and Steve Plater, all eyes were on the fight for the lead.
The duo were matching each other almost mile for mile but as they went into the 6th and final lap, Donald looked like he may just be celebrating a TT hat-trick as he was now almost 5 seconds ahead. The drama wasn’t over though and as they swept through Glen Helen, McGuinness had overturned the deficit into a 9 second lead. Donald’s bike had sprung an oil leak and his chances were over as he had to nurse the machine home.
With the fastest lap of the race, 129.517mph, on his final 37 ¾ miles, McGuinness surged ahead and he wheelied over the finish line to become the joint second most successful rider in TT history along with the aforementioned Hailwood. Donald was still delighted with second, and his week’s work, whilst Hutchinson was also pleased to be on the podium once more in third. Farquhar’s brilliant week also ended on a high in fourth, ensuring top six finishes in all five of his races, whilst a final lap charge by Plater saw him get the better of Johnson, the latter named without doubt one of the stars of the week.
Ian Lougher finished in 7th, ahead of the impressive Carl Rennie, Daniel Stewart, Michael Dunlop (who became the fastest Dunlop ever around the TT Course at 124.773mph), Mark Parrett and Ian Pattinson.