Bruce Anstey broke the outright lap record twice in today’s Motorsport Merchandise Superbike Classic TT Race, the final race of the 2017 Isle of Man Classic TT presented by Bennetts but had to settle for second place as Dean Harrison won a thrilling race by sixteen seconds, breaking the race record in the process.
After the race Harrison revealed that he eased off on the last lap and had been feeling unwell:
“I could see that we’d got a lead of thirty seconds so I cruised a bit on the last lap because I’ve been under the weather so I was over the moon to win. The team has been together all year and we had a great pit stop – they are just getting slicker and slicker. I’d like to thank everyone for cheering me on and the marshals for doing a great job all week.”
At the end of the race, Bruce Anstey revealed that he’d had a few visibility problems, which caused him problems:
“I had a bit of dust kicked up so I just took it easy on the first lap and then we lost time in the pits because we have to take on more fuel than the four strokes. However I was pretty determined on the last lap and just thought I’d go for the lap record.”
At the start of the race, riders were advised of a number of damp patches around the course following yesterday’s rain ahead of the delayed Motorsport Merchandise Superbike Race, the final race of the 2017 Classic TT Races presented by Bennetts.
Australian David Johnson the Team York Suzuki was first away from the grandstand at 2.50pm followed by Bruce Anstey, riding the Padgetts Motorcycles.com Yamaha YZR 500 and Michael Dunlop, the fastest qualifier, on the Team Classic Suzuki machine.
Ahead of the start, Anstey stated that he intended to try and establish an early gap from Michael Dunlop but the Northern Ireland rider was ahead of Anstey, albeit only marginally by less than a second with Johnson a further six seconds back.
However, Dean Harrison, on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki ZXR 750 was the early race leader – almost four seconds ahead of Dunlop on the clock at the opening sector. Horst Saiger, promoted up the order from an original start number of 16 following a strong qualifying session, was fourth on the Greenall Racing Kawasaki, two seconds behind Anstey, with Jamie Coward on the 1992 Mistral Racing Kawasaki completing the top five.
Anstey moved ahead of Dunlop at Ballaugh with Dunlop clearly experiencing problems, dropping to eleventh place by Ramsey with Saiger moving into the final podium place but at the front of the field Harrison extended his lead to over six seconds. David was leading teammate Gary in a Team York Suzuki battle of the Johnsons for fourth and fifth.
Harrison’s opening lap of 126.387 put him almost eight seconds ahead of second placed rider Bruce Anstey (125.450) with Horst Saiger (123.837) completing the top three a further fourteen seconds back from Anstey. Jamie Coward’s lap of 123.258 put him in fourth place ahead of David Johnson (123.122) and Gary Johnson (122.549).
However, Michael Dunlop pulled in at the Grandstand at the end of the opening lap. James Hillier on the Oxford Products Ducati was also reported as a retirement at Ballacraine on his second lap when running in 13th place.
However, at the front of the field the top three were unchanged at Glen Helen on the second lap but behind the leading trio Jamie Coward was reported as a retirement at the Vaaish on the run in to Glen Helen moving David and Gary Johnson back into fourth and fifth respectively.
Anstey broke Michael Dunlop’s lap record from last year with his second lap of 126.995 but held the record for less than a minute with Harrison clocking 127.212mph on his second lap, giving the Bradford based rider a lead of almost ten seconds. The times were all the more remarkable as the leading pair were slowing down coming in to the pits.
Harrison’s Silicone Engineering team gained time on the Padgetts Motorcycles.com outfit in the pits with a fifty-seven second turn around to Anstey’s time of 1 minute 11 seconds, with the two stroke requiring more fuel than the four strokes, and Harrison’s lead duly grew decisively to almost thirty seconds by Glen Helen on the third lap.
Saiger maintained third place ahead of the Team York Suzuki pair David and Gary Johnson in fourth and fifth with Ivan Lintin on the Kraus Racing Kawasaki in sixth and Dan Kneen, Coward’s Mistral Racing Kawasaki teammate, enjoying a remarkable charge through the field up into seventh from seventeenth at the end of the first lap.
Josh Brookes, riding the Advanced Performance Coastings Rotary Manx Norton, retired at Glen Tramman when running 8th while Gary Johnson was also reported as a retirement at the ‘Mountain Mile’.
Harrison maintained his decisive lead with a third lap of 119.983 to Anstey’s 117.974 with Saiger (118.414) holding third place ahead of David Johnson. New fifth placed man Dan Kneen was almost thirty seconds ahead of fellow Manx rider Conor Cummins on the Padgetts Motorcycles.com Yamaha with Lintin reported as a retirement at the Mountain Mile.
Harrison’s last lap of 125.970 secured the race in a new race record (124.815/ 1:12.32.923) with Anstey having the consolation of regaining the lap record with a last lap of 127.496 to finish in 124.357/ 1:12.48.971. Horst Saiger held third place to gain his first Mountain Course podium with David Johnson fourth and Dan Kneen completing the top five.
Dan Stewart, riding the Wilcock Consulting Kawasaki was the leading privateer in 11th place.
Credits : Photos and content courtesy of Isle of Man Festival of Motorcycling.