Ian Hutchinson won today’s TT Superbike race on a Padggets Hondas.
The six-lap race was delayed by three and half hours by swirling mist but once it got underway it was a typical six-lap TT race, filled with drama and a tinge of controversy.
In the early stages John McGuinness led by eight hundredths of a second at Glen Helen on the HM Plant Honda but by the time the bikes had gone through the timing point at Ballaugh, Conor Cummins had taken control and was three seconds up on McGuinness with Hutchinson third, another two seconds back with the Padgetts Honda.
He was followed followed by Guy Martin on the Wilson Craig Honda, Cameron Donald on the TAS Suzuki, Adrian Archibald and Dan Stewart.
But McGuinness was clearly in trouble, clocking just 136mph on the Sulby Straight and soon after was posted as a retirement.
Cummins posted a sensational 131.511mph first lap on his McAdoo Kawasaki to lead the race while Hutchinson went 130.945mph – both riders inside the existing Superbike lap record. Cummins led by eight seconds from Hutchinson.
Martin was third 5.08s back and then came an impressive Archibald on the AMA Suzuki, from Stewart with the Wilcock Honda, Ian Lougher, Michael Dunlop, Ryan Farquhar, Keith Amor, Bruce Anstey, Gary Johnson and Cameron Donald who had overshot at the Nook and lost considerable time.
Cummins clocked a 132mph Ramsey to Ramsey lap which became a 131.311mph second lap and led from Hutchinson (130.050mph second lap) by 16.48s as the first round of pit stops began – the riders on tenterhooks running through the pit lane, mindful of the new 60kph speed restriction.
Hutchinson was still second, from a charging Dunlop who was seventh on the previous lap. Archibald was fifth from Lougher and Donald had clawed back to seventh with a 129mph lap.
Gary Johnson had been posted as a retirement at Joeys with the AIM Suzuki.
Cummins increased his lead to 21.13s after Hutchinson had been pegging him at 18s but then got held up in Ramsey by three backmarkers. Martin was still third, 10s from Dunlop, Archibald and Donald.
Cummins was still pushing on with a 130.028 fourth lap but his bike stalled as he tried to leave the pitstop. People assumed it was Cummins’ fault but it was an engine problem that would eventually rule him out of the race. Hutchinson was 21.77s behind at the end of the lap but leaving the pits, the gap had shrunk to four seconds. Martin, in turn, had taken three seconds out of Hutchinson in the pits.
The complexion of the race changed when Cummins retired at Laurel Bank. That handed the lead to Hutchinson. And Guy Martin was slapped with a 30s penalty for exceeding the pit lane speed limit. That dropped the Wilson Craig Honda from a second to fourth behind Dunlop and Archibald.
By the end of the lap, Hutchison was leading by 50.57s from Dunlop who had five seconds on Archibald. Donald was up to fourth from Martin and Amor – the three on them going into the last lap on the road together.
Hutchinson didn’t put a wheel wrong on the final lap to cross the line with a ‘cruising’ last lap of 127398 to claim his first-ever Superbike win at the TT and the fourth TT win of his career.
Michael Dunlop held on to third, ten seconds ahead of Donald while Guy Martin had to be content with fourth place, three seconds adrift of the Relentless Suzuki.
Adrian Archibald finished fifth with Amor sixth on ther surviving HM Plant Honda, followed by the Blackhorse Kawasaki of Ian Lougher, Michael Rutter on the Bathams/SMT Honda, Dan Stewart, and Ryan Farquhar on an MSS Kawasaki.