Michael Dunlop completed a sensational hat-trick at the 2013 Isle of Man TT Races on Monday afternoon when he won a record-breaking 4-lap Superstock race.
The Honda rider was trailing long-time race leader Gary Johnson going into the final lap but with a stunning new lap record of 131.220mph, he was able to take his sixth TT win by 18.4s.
Johnson had to ease his pace slightly on the final 37 and ¾ miles when his Kawasaki suffered an oil leak but after two retirements from the two races held so far, he held on for a good second with John McGuinness completing the podium places in third.
“Aye, I’m having a good run at the moment,” was the understatement of the week from Dunlop after the race. “Gary kept me on my toes throughout but I really gave it my all on that last lap.
"Fair play to him, I’ve ridden a Kawasaki round here and know what it’s like running your own team but when someone like Clive Padgett comes up to you after the race and tells you it’s the best lap he’s ever seen, you know you’ve done something special.”
“Gary kept me honest and I really had to dig deep on the final lap. I knew I had to push and my balls were on the line for sure but I hit all my apexes and kept it as smooth as possible.
"There were a couple of hairy moves on a couple of tailenders but apart from that, it was a good, clean lap. Having lapped at that speed on my Superstock bike, I might have to have a think about what bike to use for the Senior!”
It was the Kawasakis of Johnson and James Hillier that led in the early stages with Dunlop down in fourth but by the end of the lap he’d worked his way up to second.
However, Johnson’s opening lap of 129.215mph gave him a 4.8s lead and it was Guy Martin who was now up into third, John McGuinness in fourth and Dean Harrison riding superbly in fifth.
Lap two and Johnson continued to lead but the gap was slowly shrinking and when they came into the pits for their fuel stop, the difference was just 1.5s, both riders lapping in excess of 129mph.
Martin did the same as he held onto third from McGuinness, Harrison and Hillier but the Tyco Suzuki rider was hit by a 30s speeding penalty as he left pit lane dropping him down the order.
Johnson was in determined mood though and, aided by a slick pit stop, he showed his Mountain Course prowess on the third lap when he doubled his lead to three seconds as they headed into the final lap.
Martin’s challenge came to a halt for good at Glen Duff on the third lap and so McGuinness was secure in third with Harrison likewise in fourth, the youngster on course for his best ever TT result.
Dunlop hit the front for the first time on the final lap, his margin of lead at Glen Helen just 0.137s but, with his foot having slipped off the pegs at Union Mills, Johnson’s charge for victory was all but over.
Indeed, when the riders swept round Ramsey Hairpin for the final time, Dunlop’s lead was almost three seconds and this became seven through the Bungalow.
Dunlop was setting a scorching pace and as he took the chequered flag, his final lap was confirmed at 131.220mph, comfortably inside the previous lap record of 130.741mph set by Ian Hutchinson in 2010 and just three and a half seconds outside McGuinness’ outright lap record set on Saturday.
His final winning margin was 16.4s with Johnson still delighted with second having pushed Dunlop for as long as he could.
McGuinness took a strong third, his 38th TT podium in total, with Harrison claiming an excellent fourth whilst Anstey edged out Hillier for fifth, the Kawasaki rider slipping back on the final lap as he began to lose power.
Steve Mercer took a superb eighth place, being the first privateer home in the process, with William Dunlop and Ben Wylie completing the top ten.