Ian Hutchinson notched up his 15th Isle of Man TT victory in a close fought Superbike battle as race action got underway at the Isle of Man TT.
It didn’t come easy for the Tyco BMW rider though, with Smiths BMW’s Peter Hickman having reeled his lead to just 1.6 seconds at Ramsey on the final lap.
After limited practice laps, it was James Hillier who led into Glen Helen on the opening lap but by the time they’d crossed the line 37.73 miles later Michael Dunlop had barged into the lead for Bennetts Suzuki with a barnstorming 131.135mph opening lap from a standing start.
Dunlop was on the pace and stretching a lead until drama struck for the Ballymoney man as his unproven GSX-R1000 cut out on the Cronk y voddy straight leaving him with no choice but to pull up at Handleys.
This left Silicone Engineering’s Dean Harrison out in front as they came into the pits. It was a tough start for Hutchinson who languished in fourth after the second lap but a sublime pitstop for the Tyco crew saw him close in Harrison’s lead at Glen Helen on lap three.
Hutchy was within touching distance of Harrison as they moved onto lap four, but Peter Hickman and James Hillier were also chasing them down.
Hutchy took the lead for the first time at Ramsey on the fourth lap, and while Harrison put up a strong fight, another stunning pitstop for Tyco BMW saw the Bingley Bullet stretch a nine second lead as Hillier moved into second.
It was Hickman who was flying in the final stages, eeking Hutchinson’s gap to just 1.6 seconds after Hutchinson and Hillier came across a crash at Greeba Castle on the final lap, however a strong run across the mountain secured victory for the factory BMW.
Hickman crossed the line just five seconds behind with Harrison a further eight back in third. Hillier took fourth ahead of local boy Dan Kneen with Michael Rutter rounding out the top six.
Davo Johnson equalled his best result for Norton in seventh ahead of team-mate Josh Brookes with William Dunlop and Martin Jessopp rounding out the top ten. Honda's Guy Martin fell unhurt at Doran's on the opening lap.
SUPERBIKE RACE RESULT
- Ian Hutchinson – Tyco BMW
- Peter Hickman – Smiths BMW +5.070
- Dean Harrison – Silicone Engineering Kawasaki +8.001 (to Hickman)
- James Hillier – JG Speedfit Kawasaki +1.736
- Dan Kneen – Penz13.com BMW +1:36.787
- Michael Rutter – Bathams BMW +0.135
- David Johnson – Norton +35.309
- Josh Brookes – Norton +13.662
- William Dunlop – Temple Golf Yamaha +11.684
- Martin Jessopp – Riders BMW +3.085
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