Michael Dunlop, who won four races at this year’s TT Races, produced a sensational pair of laps in the first timed session in the inaugural Classic TT Races presented by Bennetts. The Ballymoney man clocked 119.511, which he followed up with a blistering 120.894 (18:43.52) on his Team Classic Suzuki XR69.
Conditions were reported as dry all round but with high winds on the mountain as Race fans were treated to the stunning sight and evocative sound of a pair of Patons leaving the line first with Olie Linsdell and John McGuinness first away ahead of Saturday’s Bennetts 500cc Race.
However, TT and Classic TT rider liaison officer John Barton, who set off ten seconds behind the pair, was first back to the Grandstand on his Kawasaki ZXR that he’ll campaign in Monday’s Motorsport Merchandise Formula 1 Race, posting a lap of 113.112mph (20:00.82).
Linsdell (111.285mph) and McGuinness (111.193) were both approximately 20 seconds back on Barton on the opening lap with Linsdell’s time the fastest 500cc lap of the evening. Kiwi Bruce Anstey, riding the McIntosh Racing/Mobil 1 Norton, was third fastest in the 500cc class (106.066) marginally ahead of Australian Cameron Donald, who posted 105.949 on his second lap on the Ripley Land Racing Matchless G50.
Mick Godfrey, riding a Ducati 888 Corsa went marginally quicker than Barton on his second lap with the fastest lap of the dedicated Classic session with 113.2125 (19:59.76). However Dunlop’s laps in the Manx Grand Prix session, with Formula 1 machines allowed out with the modern machines, were notably quicker. Conor Cummins also took advantage of the opportunity to take his Team Classic Suzuki Formula 1 machine out in the later session clocking an impressive 113.123.
Other notable laps in the Formula 1 Classic session included Nick Jefferies’ 108.844 – 20:47.91 – on his Honda RC30- his first timed lap since the 2002 TT Races finishing marginally behind fastest American at the TT Mark Miller (108.952mph) representing the Yamaha Classic Racing Team on an FZ750 OU45. Jamie Coward (116.549), Steve Mercer (115.856), Paul Owen 113.705), and Gary Johnson (109.850) also went out on their Formula 1 machines in the later MGP session and posted fast times to signal their intent.
In the Formula 2 Class Chris Moore on the Yamaha TZ250 was the quickest with a 106.124 lap, ahead of James Cowton’s 105.574 while in the Formula Classic Mark Parrett topped the board with 104.586 from Gavin Lupton, riding a ’71 Triumph Trident, with 100.280. Chris McGahan and late entry Dean Harrison, who achieved his first podium at this year’s TT in the Lightweight Race, posted the third and fourth fastest times of the class respectively.
In the Okells 350cc Class experienced campaigner Chris Palmer was quickest on the night on the Honda Drixon (100.495) while ex British 125cc Champion Dan Cooper was also up to speed on the Molnar Manx Norton (97.831). In the 250cc class Peter Symes and Dave Edwards topped the board with the pair posting the four fastest times between them.
Tomorrow’s session sees the Classic machines out at 19.05.