Isle of Man TT: McGuinness and Donald up the ante

By Phil Wain -

TT & road races

 30 May 2012 09:50

Competitors were met with yet another dry, sunny evening for the third practice session of the 2012 Isle of Man TT Races with conditions described as dry and clear all the way around the course, although the lack of adhesion flags were on display at Cronk y Voddy, the 23rd Milestone and Guthrie’s.

After setting the quickest lap the previous night, all eyes were on John McGuinness and the 17-times TT winner didn’t disappoint. Quickest on his opening lap with a speed of 127.385mph, he then upped his pace with 129.411mph, but Australian Cameron Donald wasn’t far behind and he ended up second quickest with a lap of 129.023mph.

“Everything’s as good as gold at the moment,” said the Wilson Craig Racing rider.

“It’s a nice night again and conditions are perfect so I’m really enjoying myself. The bikes are working really well and I’m enjoying every session at the moment.”

Next quickest was Guy Martin, the Tyco Suzuki upping his pace from the previous night to 127.54mph followed by Michael Rutter on 126.83mph and Michael Dunlop on 126.602 whilst Bruce Anstey, Gary Johnson, William Dunlop and Daniel Kneen were all working their way up the leaderboard.

The session was also significant as it saw the first appearance of the Norton with Ian Mackman taking it round at a more than respectable 112.36mph.

“It was just a gentle lap really, more of a shakedown than anything else but I enjoyed it. We’ve got some work to do but the straight line stability was as good as my ZX-10 Kawasaki and it wasn’t bad at all over the bumps.

"I just wanted to get a good, troublefree lap in and now we’ve done that we can start to make a few changes.”

Meanwhile, the progress of the newcomers could clearly be seen with Jamie Hamilton lapping at a very impressive 116.56mph. Jimmy Storrar and Karl Harris were also going well at 114.01 and 113.72 respectively.

The 1000cc machines only had a 35-minute session before being flagged off and it was then the turn of the Supersport and Lightweight machines, the latter having their second outing of the week.

Kneen was first back at 120.006mph with Michael Dunlop, having his first outing on a new R6 Yamaha at 117.784mph but it was brother William who was the quickest at 122.505mph.

However, Michael’s second lap was 124.65mph to send him to the top of the leaderboard but only briefly as William posted 124.77mph. Anstey was only slightly further back on 123.68mph.

The potential of the Lightweight Supertwins could clearly be seen with race favourite Ryan Farquhar taking his KMR Kawasaki round at an impressive 115.398mph.

However, it won’t be a foregone conclusion with James Hillier, Michael Rutter and Cameron Donald not too far behind lapping at 113.190, 113.149 and 112.860mph. In total, 10 riders broke the 110mph barrier.

In the Formula Two sidecars, Tim Reeves/Dan Sayle were quickest, on the night and for the week, at 112.808mph followed by Dave Molyneux/Patrick Farrance (109.958), Conrad Harrison/Mike Aylott (109.520) and John Holden/Andy Winkle who completed their first lap of the week at 108.281.