Good conditions greeted competitors tonight at the 2013 Isle of Man TT Races, powered by Monster Energy, but a house fire at Kirk Michael led to a 45-minute halt to proceedings mid-way through the session causing further disruption to the week’s schedule.
It was the Formula Two sidecars who were out on track when the session was stopped at 7.05pm, meaning they didn’t complete their allotted time. Quickest on the opening lap, and for the week, were Dave Molyneux/Patrick Farrance with a lap of 114.00mph, comfortably quicker than John Holden/Andy Winkle on 111.09 whilst Ben/Tom Birchall and Tim Reeves/Dan Sayle lapped at a more leisurely 103.77 and 102.61 respectively.
Molyneux/Farrance pulled in after their lap, successfully having bedded in tyres and a new chain, but Holden/Winkle continued and were one of only a handful of crews to complete the two laps due to the aforementioned fire. Their lap was also their best of the week at 112.54 whilst French pairing Remy Guignard/Frederique Poux impressed greatly with a lap of 107.13.
However, the red flag came out to allow the emergency services onto the course and it was 8pm before practice could resume, a two-lap session for the Superbikes, whilst yellow flags were to be waved through Kirk Michael where water had been left on the road surface.
First away were Guy Martin and William Dunlop, swiftly followed by James Hillier, Cameron Donald, Dan Cooper, Gary Johnson and Dan Stewart. John McGuinness was in the ninth pairing away but Martin only got as far as Quarter Bridge before being forced to pull off the course with mechanical problems.
William Dunlop was first back with a lap of 124.86 but brother Michael upstaged him on 127.68 with Johnson the only other rider to break the 125mph barrier, the yellow flags clearly keeping speeds down. Most riders were around the 123mph mark including Hillier (123.93), Donald (123.22), Dean Harrison (123.47), Steve Mercer (123.26) and McGuinness (123.21).
Michael Dunlop flew round on his second lap with a speed of 128.52 with Donald next up at 123.90 but the cooler conditions in the late evening helped keep speeds down whilst the extra practice time on Saturday also meant there was less pressure on riders to post fast times.
The revised race schedule will now see the Dainese Superbike moved to Sunday to allow two solo qualifying sessions either side of Saturday’s Sidecar race, which will now start at 12.30pm