Classic TT: Harrison beats record breaking Anstey to Superbike win
Dean Harrison took victory in the postponed Superbike Classic TT despite a hard-charging Bruce Anstey breaking the outright lap record twice.
The race was initially penned to take place on Monday, but with adverse weather conditions affecting the island, all racing was cancelled. Fortunately, there was enough time to fit the remainder of the Classic TT schedule alongside the remaining Manx Grand Prix activities on Tuesday.
At the start of the race, riders were advised of a number of damp patches around the course following yesterday’s rain.
Australian David Johnson the Team York Suzuki was first away from the grandstand at 2.50pm followed by Bruce Anstey, riding the Padgetts Motorcycles.com Yamaha YZR 500 and Michael Dunlop, the fastest qualifier, on the Team Classic Suzuki machine.
Harrison, on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki ZXR 750 was the early race leader – almost four seconds ahead of Dunlop on the clock at the opening sector. Horst Saiger, promoted up the order from an original start number of 16 following a strong qualifying session, was fourth on the Greenall Racing Kawasaki, two seconds behind Anstey, with Jamie Coward on the 1992 Mistral Racing Kawasaki completing the top five.
Harrison’s opening lap of 126.387 put him almost eight seconds ahead of second placed rider Bruce Anstey (125.450) with Horst Saiger (123.837) completing the top three a further fourteen seconds back from Anstey. Jamie Coward’s lap of 123.258 put him in fourth place ahead of David Johnson (123.122) and Gary Johnson (122.549).
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However, Michael Dunlop pulled in at the Grandstand at the end of the opening lap. James Hillier on the Oxford Products Ducati was also reported as a retirement at Ballacraine on his second lap when running in 13th place.
Anstey broke Michael Dunlop’s lap record from last year with his second lap of 126.995 but held the record for less than a minute with Harrison clocking 127.212mph on his second lap, giving the Bradford based rider a lead of almost ten seconds. The times were all the more remarkable as the leading pair were slowing down coming in to the pits.
Harrison’s Silicone Engineering team gained time on the Padgetts Motorcycles.com outfit in the pits with a fifty-seven second turn around to Anstey’s time of 1 minute 11 seconds, with the two stroke requiring more fuel than the four strokes, and Harrison’s lead duly grew decisively to almost thirty seconds by Glen Helen on the third lap.
Harrison’s last lap of 125.970 secured the race in a new race record (124.815/ 1:12.32.923) with Anstey having the consolation of regaining the lap record with a last lap of 127.496 to finish in 124.357/ 1:12.48.971. Horst Saiger held third place to gain his first Mountain Course podium with David Johnson fourth and Dan Kneen completing the top five.
Dan Stewart, riding the Wilcock Consulting Kawasaki was the leading privateer in 11th place.