Ian Hutchinson had to smash the lap record on the final lap of Saturday’s opening Superstock race at the Ulster Grand Prix to beat local favourite Ryan Farquhar.
The race was run in two parts after a red flag brought the first attempt to a halt as the riders came out of Dawson’s – the final corner – to start their fifth of seven laps.
Farquhar led Hutchinson in the tricky conditions after heavy rain early in the morning.
There was a dry line in the open areas of the course but under the trees it as still damp so riders had agonised over whether to run dry tyres and hope the track conditions continued to improve – or go for intermediates.
By the time the race was restarted everyone had gone to dry tyres and after an epic scrap, Hutchinson clocked a 130.117mph last lap on his Padgetts Honda (the previous record was 127.954) to clinch the race from Farquhar’s Kawasaki by just three tenths of a second on aggregate time.
Hutchinson said: “I was a fair way back on the first lap of the restart (he was seventh) but I got my head down.
"It was all safe, even though Ryan and I locked arms together at 180mph. That felt scary. I had a fair amount of commitment into the Hairpin the final time and when I looked back after crossing the line I was surprised how much of a gap I had.”
Farquhar added: “I had a big wobble over Deer’s Leap and Keith Amor came beside me and I thought we were both going down.
Ian was stronger up to Jordan’s Cross and our bars tangled there. That scared the crap out of me. I done my best though.
I wish it had finished the first time under the red flag (when Farquhar was leading).
Keith Amor finished third, some 13s adrift of the leading duo, struggling on top speed which meant he could slipstream other bikes but wasn’t able to pass.
1 Ian Hutchinson, Padgetts Honda
2 Ryan Farquhar, KMR Kawasaki
3 Keith Amor, Wilson Craig Honda
4 Guy Martin, Hydrex Honda
5 Conor Cummins, McAdoo Kawasaki
6 Bruce Anstey, Relentless by TAS Suzuki