Dunlop overhauled lap one leader Guy Martin and promptly romped away, putting in a second lap some 13 seconds quicker than his nearest rival giving him the cushion that allowed him to control the race after the pit stop. His eventual winning margin, the 9th TT win for Kawasaki, was 18.63s over John McGuinness, the Padgetts Honda rider overhauling Martin on the third lap. However, the Relentless by TAS Suzuki rider had the consolation of his second podium of the day.
The daytime sun gave way to cooler, cloudier conditions for the 6.30pm start and it was McGuinness who put in his trademark rapid nine miles and he led Martin. It was close though with just 0.2s between them whilst William Dunlop was only another half second back in third. Indeed, there was only 1s between the top 4 and 2.4s between the top 7, Gary Johnson, Bruce Anstey and Keith Amor all right on the pace.
At Ramsey, Michael Dunlop was in the lead from Martin and McGuinness but it had all changed by the Grandstand and it was now the Suzuki man in the lead, his opening lap of 127.953mph giving him a buffer of just under two seconds. McGuinness was still in contention, only another 1.7s in arrears with Johnson, William Dunlop and Amor completing the top six. Leading contenders Dan Stewart was out of luck though, the Cumbrian retiring his BMW at the end of the first lap.
The front three were edging away from the rest of the field with Martin circulating on the road with Amor but it was Dunlop who was surging clear at the front, his advantage over Martin 3.5s which, amazingly, he extended to almost ten seconds by Ramsey. McGuinness was still only two seconds off Martin but at the end of the lap, Dunlop’s lap of 129.709mph was way quicker than anyone else and his lead rocketed up to 13 seconds.
Johnson was out though having retired at Cregny Baa whilst William Dunlop and Dan Kneen were treating the fans all around the course to a terrific spectacle as they lapped wheel to wheel.
The pit stops all went smoothly for the front runners and by Glen Helen, Dunlop’s lead was over 15 seconds and, with another 4 added to that gap by Ramsey, it was his race to lose. Behind though, McGuinness was making a move and he was now ahead of Martin by almost two seconds, the latter still circulating – and swapping positions – with Amor. The battle for fifth was also hotting up with little to separate Wilson Craig Honda team-mates William Dunlop and Cameron Donald.
Dunlop maintained his advantage over McGuinness all the way to the chequered flag for his second TT win whilst the Morecambe man was delighted to have racked up yet another TT win. Martin, meanwhile, was again left to rue what might have been and had to settle for third, his 11th TT podium.
Amor enjoyed his second top four finish of the day in fourth whilst William Dunlop just got the verdict from Donald by 0.48s. Kneen, Michael Rutter, Adrian Archibald and James Hillier rounded out the top ten whilst newcomer Simon Andrews put in a brilliant ride to take 11th, also lapping well over 123mph and being the first privateer home.
Conor Cummins got his much deserved first finish of the week in 12th with newcomers Dean Harrison and PiotrBetlej also putting in their first 120mph+ laps in 27th and 29th.
McGuinness has opened up a 10-point lead over Amor in the TT Championship while Ian Mackman, 15th in the race, continues to extend his lead in the Privateers Championship.
To listen live to Radio TT’s commentary for all races and follow live timing at the 2011 Isle of Man TT Races go to www.iomtt.com
[Press Release and Photo Courtesy of Isle of Man Media Office]