Isle of Man TT: McGuinness hits 130 before mist calls a halt to practice

By Phil Wain -

TT & road races

 31 May 2012 09:42

Competitors were met with considerably different conditions for the third night of practice at the 2012 Isle of Man TT Races powered by Monster Energy and although dry, the temperature was down on the previous two nights whilst there were also a lot of grey clouds overhead.

That suggested that lap speeds could be quicker than the previous night and with John McGuinness and Cameron Donald having set the pace on Tuesday evening, would that be the same again on Wednesday?

First to complete a lap was the Tyco Suzuki of Guy Martin with a lap of 128.448mph with James Hillier crossing the line soon after at 127.811mph, his best ever lap around the Mountain Course.

McGuinness was quickest through the Sulby speed trap at 190.1mph but ended the lap with 127.919mph and so it was Donald who was quickest at 129.075mph, a fraction up on his Tuesday night time.

However, with sector times suggesting he would match McGuinness on the second lap, he ground to a halt at Windy Corner and so it was McGuinness who notched up the first 130mph lap of the week with 130.079mph.

“To be honest, it didn’t feel the best of laps and whilst they were both obviously going well, I did get held up slightly by Ian Mackman and William Dunlop up on the Mountain otherwise it would have been quicker,” said McGuinness.

“There’s still more to come from a lot of riders but I’m happy with the bike and the team’s working well. Saturday’s the day though and that’s when we’ll need to be really on it.”

McGuinness’ prophecy about being more to come from other riders came true late in the session when Bruce Anstey, who started the session on his Superstock machine, put in two quick laps on his Superbike, the last which, despite being a short lap, was the second quickest of the week at 129.566mph.

Martin improved to 128.866mph to go fourth quickest with the leaderboard completed by Hillier, Michael Dunlop (127.546), the ever consistent Dan Stewart (127.453) and the impressive Simon Andrews (127.376mph). BSB regular Michael Rutter was tenth with a lap of 127.094mph.

“I’m happy enough,” said the Midlands rider ‘The first night was the usual shock and a little bit of an eye opener but once you get up to speed it feels good to be back.

"I’ve been swapping quite a bit between the Superbike and Superstock bike and we’ve made quite a few changes to the Superbike. You never go in the right direction straightaway but we’re working our best to get them right.”

Meanwhile, William Dunlop was flying on the 600cc bike with a lap of 126.184mph with the newcomers again improving well, Jamie Hamilton the quickest once more on his KMR Kawasaki at 118.563. He was followed by Jimmy Storrar on 117.731, Lee Johnston 117.527, Michael Niblett 115.899 and Karl Harris 115.820.

Unfortunately though, the mist began to roll in through the Douglas area as the session draw to a close and that resulted in the cancellation of the F2 Sidecar practice.