John McGuinness took his 20th Isle of Man TT race victory on Friday when he won the Senior race by ten seconds from team-mate Michael Dunlop, to make it a record 41 podiums in total. Bruce Anstey took third place, and set the fastest lap of the race at 131.531mph, as he got the better of Lightweight TT race winner James Hillier by 0.978s on the final run down the Mountain.
“It feels absolutely fantastic to win today and if there’s one race to win, it’s the Senior,” said McGuinness. “I’ve had a good week but a win’s escaped me so do it today with the sun shining and thousands of fans waving me all the way, is brilliant. I’ve saved the best until last and I pushed and pushed and concentrated right up until the very end. The conditions were incredible, the bike was fantastic and with two superb pit stops we got the job done. I still feel really sharp and I hit all my apexes on the final lap so with a Honda 1-2-3, the job’s a dream!”
After the initial race was red flagged due to an incident at Bray Hill, the race finally got underway at 4.30pm and at the end of the opening lap, the first five riders were all over 130mph and with only seven seconds between them, Dunlop leading from McGuinness, Gary Johnson, Michael Rutter and Guy Martin.
McGuinness began to make his move on the second lap and, after edging ahead by just five hundredths of a second at Ballaugh, he completed his second lap at 131.272mph to open up a 2.4s lead. Another slick pit stop by McGuinness’ Honda TT Legends crew saw him leave the pits with a bigger lead but by Glen Helen the gap was down to half a second and it continued to be nip and tuck all the way and at half race distance there was two seconds between the duo, Anstey in third ahead of Martin and Hillier, who had relegated Rutter to sixth.
On the fourth lap, McGuiness appeared to have broken Dunlop slightly and, for the first time, his lead increased the whole way round. Leading on the road with Hillier right in his wheeltracks, the pair lapped at over 131mph as they came into their second pit stop and whilst it allowed McGuinness to go seven seconds clear of Dunlop, it also allowed Hillier to not only move up to fourth but also close up on Anstey.
Indeed, whilst McGuinness and Dunlop looked safe in third, third place was anyone’s and as the riders headed into their sixth and final lap, Hillier had nosed ahead of Anstey albeit by the tiny margin of 0.16s!
The final lap saw the leading four riders all lap in excess of 131mph, Hillier and Anstey both setting personal best laps, but it was McGuinness who was celebrating the most as he took his 20th TT win by 10.1s. Dunlop ended his phenomenal week with a second place and, in a thrilling last lap, Anstey set the fastest lap of the race, 131.531mph, to get the better of Hillier for third.
Martin took fifth with Rutter in sixth, the Midlands rider delighted with his first 130mph+ laps. William Dunlop took seventh from Dean Harrison and Dan Stewart with Australian David Johnson securing his best TT result in tenth.