John McGuinness made it TT win number 19 when he led the Royal London 360 Superstock race from start to finish. After numerous podiums, it was his first win in the class and he led home Michael Dunlop by 7.8s, the Northern Irishman overhauling fellow countryman Ryan Farquhar in the closing stages.
“It was a tough race but I concentrated really hard and having come close before, I really, really wanted it today. It was close early on and I pushed and pushed as hard as I could but I had a major scare on the second lap when the bike started to run low on fuel. I had to nurse the bike home over the last few miles and I’m surprised I didn’t lose much time. I had a bit of a buffer and was able to ease away in the final two laps and then take it steady over the Mountain for the last time just to make sure we had enough fuel to get home.”
“It’s the bike I ride in the British Championships and, deep down, I felt that this would be my best ever chance in the Superstock race so it feels fantastic to finally do it. It was certainly tough and the sun was a real issue, especially through Greeba, Appledene and Gorse Lea but we managed to do it and it’s superb.”
Riding the Padgetts Honda, McGuinness led through Glen Helen on the opening lap but, like the morning’s Supersport race, it was again tight and his lead over second placed James Hillier was just half a second. Gary Johnson was a further eight tenths of a second back with Farquhar right on his tail, the gap between the two only 0.03s.
As the lap progressed, it was clear it was becoming a fight between McGuinness and Farquhar and as they flashed across the line for the first time, the Morecambe man led but it was close, the gap between the two a tiny 0.17s! Guy Martin on the Tyco Suzuki was up to third as the morning’s Supersport winner Bruce Anstey, Michael Rutter and Hillier completed the top six. Dunlop, meanwhile, was down in eighth after a slow first lap.
By Ramsey on the second lap, McGuinness had eked out a 2.88s lead and it appeared that he was just beginning to edge away. However, fuel problems meant he had to nurse the bike home on the run down the Mountain but, nevertheless a lap of 128.806mph meant he had a near four second lead coming into the pit stop. Anstey had now taken over third and, with a 128mph+ lap, Dunlop was up to fourth pushing Martin, who changed a tyre at his stop, down to fifth with Rutter now in sixth.
At Glen Helen for the final time, McGuinness’ lead was up to 14.6s whilst the gap between Farquhar and Dunlop was now down to 5.9s. Indeed, Dunlop was putting a superb lap, which would eventually be 129.253mph, the fastest of the race, and at Ramsey the deficit was down to half a second. With Farquhar suffering an oil leak, he had to slightly reduce his pace and that, combined with Dunlop’s effort, meant he got ahead on the final Mountain climb.
“I just wasn’t quick enough on the opening lap,” said Dunlop. “It’s not been the best of weeks and after this morning’s breakdown I didn’t think I’d ever get to stand on the podium this week and when I saw ‘P10’ on the first lap, I was beginning to wonder what I was doing. The bike never missed a beat and I kept plugging away and really went for it on the last lap. The gap to me and Ryan was getting smaller and smaller so I kept chipping away and although I don’t want to be finishing in second, I’m still pleased to be here.”
Dunlop’s 129mph lap saw him get his first podium of the week with Farquhar doing the same. The KMR Kawasaki man got his first finish of the week, less than five seconds behind Dunlop.
Anstey, Martin and Hillier took the next three places with Rutter, Gary Johnson, Dan Stewart and Cameron Donald rounding out the top ten.