Competitors at Classic TT Races presented by Bennetts enjoyed their first full qualifying session this evening as the Mountain Course was bathed in sunlight and riders were even warned about glare.
The F1/F2 and 500cc’s were first on the track with Michael Dunlop and Michael Rutter, as they did in last night’s session, managed to get to the front of the queue of bikes in pit lane and got away first at the scheduled start time of 6.20. Dunlop went out on the F1 Team Classic Suzuki while Rutter opted for a lap on the Seeley /Ripley Land Racing machine that he will race in Saturday’s Bennetts 500cc Race.
Dunlop in particular was able to put the weather frustrations earlier in the week behind him, and indeed his TT experience earlier in the year, blasting a standing start lap of 122.96 mph, the fastest time of the night and the first 120+mph lap of the meeting.
Ryan Farquhar, riding the Team Winfield Harris Yamaha, reminded his countryman that he will face significant competition in Monday’s Motorsport Merchandise F1 Race posting 122.134, 8 seconds back on his opening lap.
Behind the Northern Ireland pair, the next nine riders in the session all clocked laps in excess of 117mph, finally getting the chance to put their F1 machines properly through their paces with the Kawasakis of James Hillier (Greenhall Racing) and Ivan Lintin (Steelcote Solutions Ltd), notably to the fore at 118.59 and 118.563 respectively and Australian Dave Johnson on the Team York Suzuki continuing his form from the TT in June with 117.817
Bruce Anstey went out on the Valvoline by Padgetts Racing YZR Yamaha 750 that he won last year’s race on and completed a steady first lap before stopping at Sulby on his second lap while James Cowton and Chris Moore both clocked 107mph laps in the F2 Class.
John McGuinness topped the 500cc leader board with two sub 21 minute laps (110.634 and (108.79) and the Morecambe Missile will be looking to add his first Classic TT victory in Saturday’s Bennetts 500cc Race to his 23 TT Race wins and put the disappointment of breaking down in the last two 500cc Classic Races in 2013 and 2014.
The sun, and temperature, dropped for the 350’s who went away in the second session at 7.30pm. Lee Johnston, riding the Black Eagle Racing MV, showed the form that won him last year’s Okells 350cc Race topping the session with 102.321, the only lap over 100mph.
Classic racing specialist Alan Overby on the Davies Motorsport Honda was second on the night with 98.283 mph from Jamie Coward (Ted Woof Craven Honda K4) and Danny Webb, a late replacement for the injured Cameron Donald, who enjoyed a notable run on the Molnar Manx Norton in fourth (96.791). Keith Amor (Dunnell Racing Manx Norton), who missed last year’s race with injury, completed the top five.
Tomorrow’s session sees the 500’s out first at 18.20 with the F1 and F2 machines due to go out at 19.25 and the riders will be hoping for another clear session ahead of Saturday’s first race, the Bennetts 500cc.