TT 2014: Johnson holds off Anstey and Dunlop for damp victory

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Overnight rain meant that the start of the Monster Energy Supersport race was delayed until 2pm but this didn’t deter eventual race winner Gary Johnson on the Smiths Triumph, who led from the start but was pushed all the way by Bruce Anstey on his Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Honda.

At the end of the first of four laps Johnson had pulled out a lead of just 1.6 seconds over Anstey but this would all change during the pit stops at the end of lap 2.  Anstey’s team refuelled his Honda in record time allowing the veteran rider to pull out a lead of 2.2 seconds over Johnson, who then was forced to put in a fast first sector time to claw back his lead.  At Glen Helen on lap 3 Johnson was back in front but only by the slimmest of margins.  He worked hard to pull away from Ansty, staying ahead of 3rd placed rider Michael Dunlop on the road and at the end of the penultimate lap had a lead of 2.83 seconds.

Anstey was not done yet though, and with just 8 miles to go he had reduced the gap to 0.028 making the crowd in the Grandstand gasp when the time was shown. Anstey was the first to take the chequered flag and both he and the spectators had to wait to see if Johnson would cross the line as  the winner.  He managed to do this with a margin of 1.5 seconds.

Michae Dunlop finished in 3rd place, some 10 seconds behind Anstey with Dean Harrison, William Dunlop and Guy Martin making up the top six.

Johnson spoke afterwards about the conditions on the third lap of the race, saying he half expected to see the red flags: “I know that I’m on a competitive machine, and I knew that if I could get the hammer down early on and catch Michael Dunlop I’d be good. He’s a fast guy and I thought it was him I was battling with initially. We messed each other up a little bit after I went past him, because there was rain on the mountain and I tried to wave him back in front of me, because I did not want to be out in front on wet roads with a dark visor!”

The second race of the day, the Superstock TT, was due to go off at 6.15pm, but weather closing in on the Mountain has seen it delayed until at least 12.30pm tomorrow.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer