Isle of Man TT: Michael Dunlop scores first TT victory

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Michael Dunlop has won today’s heavily delayed second Relentless Supersport race on his privately entered Yamaha, leading from start to finish, following in the footsteps of father Robert and Uncle Joey as a TT winner.

The 21-year old stole an early advantage in the damp conditions and was never headed, coming home 31 seconds ahead of Bruce Anstey (Relentless by TAS Suzuki) and Conor Cummins (McAdoo Kawasaki).

After three retirements in the first three races, Dunlop was clearly overjoyed, and emotional, with the win. “It was really hard at the beginning as it was really slippy but my Dad had passed on all his track knowledge and I know he and Joey were with me all the way today.

The week had been a disaster with two blown engines and 3 DNF’s so we had to use the number two bike but I went as quickly as I could in the damp and the bike never missed a beat. I’ve always wanted to win a TT and for it to happen so early in my career is brilliant. The Dunlops are back on the road again!”

Rain, and hail, hit the west side of the circuit in the morning resulting in a 3 and a quarter hour delay and when the race did get underway at 2pm, the course was still very damp, most of the leading riders admitting that caution would very much be the order of the day early on.

Dunlop, who had been fastest in practice, suffered a blown engine in the first race after just two miles and he was clearly keen to make amends, an opening lap of 119.743mph putting him over ten seconds clear of Cummins. Tuesday’s double race victor Ian Hutchinson was down in ninth though and Monday’s Superbike victor John McGuinness in 11th.

Continually stretching his advantage, Dunlop’s lead at the end of lap two was up to 15 seconds, a lap of 122.692mph clear indication of the improving conditions. Cummins and Anstey were up to second and third with Guy Martin, Keith Amor, Steve Plater and Hutchinson in hot pursuit. McGuinness was clearly unhappy with the damp circuit and slipped further back to 14th.

As they started their fourth and final lap, Dunlop was soaring even further ahead, his lead up to 24 seconds, as he also moved up to third on the road. Cummins appeared to be in trouble though and crossed the start line at just 98mph whilst Martin pulled in to retire, not at all happy with the performance of his engine.

Dunlop had the race under control and with a final lap of 125.077mph, he took his first TT victory by 31.01 seconds. The win came 11 years after father Robert’s last win in the 1998 125cc race and nine years after Joey’s last TT win in the 2000 125cc race.

Behind, Anstey got the verdict over Cummins, whose problems disappeared as quickly as they’d surfaced, by just 0.71seconds whilst Plater set the fastest lap of the race, 125.384mph, on his final lap to take fourth for the third race in a row, also making it four different manufacturers in the top four. Hutchinson came through to fifth with the evergreen Ian Lougher completing the top six.

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Phil Wain

By Phil Wain