Isle of Man TT: Gary Pinchin's blog - I'm pleased Bruce Anstey dominated the supersport race

Published: 04 June 2008

I’m so pleased Bruce Anstey and the Relentless by TAS Suzuki team dominated today’s Supersport race  It proved what everyone said after Monday’s disqualification:

Bruce Anstey is superb round the Isle of Man TT and he didn’t deserve to be the victim of someone else’s mistake. And to win the race with a new lap record in the bag too was pure class.

I’m also pleased with the way the TAS Suzuki team held their hands up and apologised to everyone for their mistake. I believe it was a human error, simply that the engine builder didn’t measure the camshaft when he took it from the packaging.

Engineering types I’ve spoken to here, including Guy Martin, who builds race engines for a living (as well as working on lorries!) all said you wouldn’t notice the discrepancy once you were setting the engine up with the cams in place. The only way to tell would be to measure the camshaft out of the engine and TAS admit that was the error.

Don’t get me wrong. I think the Clerk of the Course Eddie Nelson did exactly the right thing in chucking Anstey out of the results on Monday. The bike was illegal and there was no other decision left open to him.

Like Plater said, there’s too much manufacturer support riding on the TT races to let anyone flaunt the rules, whether it’s intended or not.

On that count, I think Steve Plater was a worthy winner of Monday’s race.  He more than proved himself in the race taking time out of John McGuinness over the Mountain to claim second place before Anstey’s disqualification bumped him up to first. Plater did a 123mph lap too and averaged 122.33mph.

You could argue McGuinness had a blown steering damper but Plater’s times were still incredibly respectable for only his second time at the Isle of Man TT. Plater has worked so hard at learning everything about the mountain course, the same sort of total commitment he always gives whether it be the North West, Macau, World Endurance or short circuits.

Today’s race had a weird feel to it though with all three of Monday’s podium – Plater, McGuinness and Keith Amor - sidelined by problems with Guy Martin also struggling with a gutless engine.

But at least Ian Hutchinson finally got a decent race under his belt on the AIM Yamaha. He initially gave chase to Anstey but had to be content with second place on the day – a real result after all the hassles with bike problems, that to be frank, kicked off at the North West and just carried over to the Island.

Hard to imagine he was one of the biggest players in last year’s TT.

For me, Ryan Farquhar has been one of this year’s unsung heroes, the only rider to finish in the top six of every solo race this year: sixth in the Superbike race, fourth in the Superstock and first Supersport and then third today in the second Supersport.

All out of a tiny awning for his small team in the main paddock, not the top paddock where all the major teams are.

The other unsung hero of the solo races has been Gary Johnson. Fourth in the Superbike, sixth and fifth in the two supersport races and major player in superstock until he ran out of gas.

The thing I like about him is that he’s so laid back about the whole thing and keeps saying, ‘yeah, but this is part of my three years plan.’ I guess he means to win one, but in everyone’s he’s already so competitive.

And they reason that he’s so impressive is that he made so little effort to learn the course last year – like two laps in a car. He really is so naturally gifted on the roads and has all the hallmarks of becoming one of the TT greats in the future.

It’s all down to the Senior on Friday now and the way Johnson’s TT has been building I’m sure chasing a podium this time. He just needs to get an earlier starting slots.

Coming of number 16 or 18 means he’s always going to fighting through traffic.
The Senior has all the hallmarks of being once of the all-time classics if everyone’s bikes keep running. This is the last chance for either McGuinness or Martin to chalk up their one and only TT win of 2008.

One of the will be disappointed – or even both. But Martin did 128.42 with his rebuilt Hydrex Honda today in practice after the sidecars and McGuinness was third quickest at 127.35 – neither of them having any troubles with their bikes.

The way Anstey and Donald have been riding this year it could end up being a scrap between two Suzukis. But I think we ‘ll see Hutchy in the mix too, his confidence restored after today’s Supersport.

He clocked second quickest time in practice today at 127.54mph. And even Plater could be in there now he’s sorted handling issues he’s had with his superbike all through the week.

Just hope the decent weather hangs on a bit longer to finish this year’s TT races on really huge high.