Rutter bounces back to take Junior victory; Harrison wins record breaking Superbike Classic TT.
Michael Rutter bounced back from his off at Ballacraine in the Senior Race and the disappointment of being disqualified from the Classic Lightweight Race to take victory in the Junior Classic Race. The race was reduced to 3 laps from 4 because of the one day’s delay in the running of the event and consequent shorter time window.
This meant that those who needed to refuel had less laps in which to make up for the time taken; something that helped Rutter in his battle with MV Agusta mounted Lee Johnston. It was great to see Lee back to fitness after his excursion in June. Michael and William Dunlop were notable non-starters. Dan Cooper was first away; followed by fastest man in practice Jamie Coward; both Honda mounted. Alan Oversby had to stop at Quarterbridge to make adjustments; this dropped him right down the order.
At Glen Helen, it was Jamie Coward who led on the road; but on the watches it was number 13 (to tie in with his cancer charity) Lee Johnston who led on the watches by 3s from Coward who was in turn 0.4s ahead of Rutter. Hefyn Owen and a still not 100% well Dean Harrison completed the top 5. Oversby went through in 33rd place after his unscheduled stop. Coward was first into Ramsey; with Rutter now second on the road. Oversby was tramping on and was up to fifth on the road. Johnston duly arrived on the beautiful MV and it was he who led on our watch by 8.77s from Coward; with Rutter exactly 1s behind in third. Harrison was up to fourth, with Dominic Herbertson fifth.
Rutter was quick up the mountain and was in second place at the Bungalow. At the Grandstand, Johnston led by 13.6s; having lapped at 102.523mph; Rutter was now 4.65s ahead of Coward; with Harrison fourth. Herbertson was fifth and in sixth was Oversby; who half way around the course had been 20th. Harrison opted to refuel at this time; dropping himself one place down the batting order.
At Glen Helen on lap 2 Johnston had increased his lead to 21s; behind him Rutter’s advantage over Coward had reduced to 2s. At Ballaugh, Coward was in second, 0.2s ahead of Rutter. At Ramsey the lead for Johnston was 26.9s on our watch; Rutter had retaken second place by 3.6s from Coward. Herbertson, Harrison and Oversby completed the leader board. A lap at 103.421mph gave Johnston an advantage of 25s over Rutter (102.525mph); with Coward now 12s behind Rutter. Johnston’s refuelling stop was timed at 39s; giving Rutter a lead of 14s. Would this lead prove to be enough for him to hold off a flying Johnston?
At Glen Helen Rutter’s lead was 12.6s; surely Johnston was not reeling him in quickly enough. At Ballaugh it was 12s and as they flashed past us on the exit to Parliament Square on our watch gave Rutter a lead of 11.2s with 13 miles left to the finish. The MV gained 6s on the mountain climb; but Rutter made his experience count on the descent to cross the finish line 10.252s ahead of Johnston after a final lap at 104.002mph. Coward completed the podium; he finished 13.9s behind Johnston. A fine ride ensured fourth for Herbertson, Oversby and Harrison completed the leader board. Chris Swallow; in a fine seventh place; was the best of the single cylinder riders; with Phil McGurk the best privateer in eighth.
Sure Junior Classic TT
- Michael Rutter Ripley Land Honda 102.660mph
- Lee Johnston Black Eagle MV Agusta 102.395mph
- Jamie Coward Craven Honda 102.039mph
- Dominic Herbertson Davies Honda 101.179mph
- Alan Oversby Davies Honda 100.753mph
- Dean Harrison Black Eagle MV Agusta 100.647mph
The final race of the Classic section of the festival was the main event; the Motorsport Merchandise Superbike Race. Engine blow ups would have cost Michael Dunlop his ride had not the still not fully fit Lee Johnston foregone his own ride and given Michael his machine for the race. The main question on people’s lips was; could Bruce Anstey on the beautiful two stroke GP Yamaha see off the big four strokes of Dunlop, Harrison etc.
As in the TT, Davo Johnson had the number 1 plate and led the field away. Fastest to the first check point at Glen Helen was Dean Harrison who was still not 100% well after having a run for his money for several days. Fastest in practice, Michael Dunlop was second 0.9s in front of Bruce Anstey. Anstey’s plans to gun it on the first lap were scuppered when dust was kicked up at him and he eased his pace. Horst Saiger was fourth, Jamie Coward fifth; Gary Johnson completed the early leader board. At Ballaugh Harrison led by 4.9s from Anstey who had passed Dunlop on corrected time.
Anstey was first on the road at Cruickshank’s in Ramsey; then it was Davo Johnson, Dunlop and circulating together, the Ducatis of Rutter and James Hillier. Dunlop was clearly in trouble; on the straight from Parliament Square the big Suzuki let out a huge bang; very similar to the report from a .45 magnum. It then let out more as it kangaroo hopped towards White Gates. Dunlop managed to coax the ailing machine back to the pits to retire. Our watch indicated that Harrison led by 6.9s from Anstey with Horst Saiger in the final podium placing, 5.9s behind Anstey. Harrison led by 7.2s at the Bungalow and after an opening lap at 126.367mph he led by 7.9s as they began their second lap. Saiger was third 14.1s down on Anstey; Coward, Davo Johnson and Gary Johnson filled out the leader board.
Hillier was forced to park the Oxford Ducati at Ballacraine when in 13th place, Jamie Coward was another to retire in the area; he stopped at Vaaish. Just up the road at Glen Helen, Harrison had a 9s advantage over Anstey who had gained a further 6s from Saiger. The lead was virtually unchanged at Ballaugh. As they came into Cruickshank’s; along a stretch of road that would be a disgrace in a third world country; Harrison had a lead of 9.625s; with Saiger 22.3s further back. Gary Johnson had a near miss when a false neutral almost put into the air fence.
Anstey set a new lap record at 126.995mph; but it lasted less than a minute as Harrison completed his lap at 127.212mph. Harrison had a faster stop due to Anstey’s two stroke needing more fuel. His lead leaving pit lane was 25.6s and at Glen Helen it had grown to 29s; barring misfortune the race was surely his. Anstey was 29s clear of Saiger; he had a 16s advantage over Davo Johnson; with Gary a further 15s in arrears; Ivan Lintin completed our top 6. At Ramsey the lead for Harrison was 30.3s as he left for the mountain climb. Gary Johnson retired from the race on the Mountain Mile.
Staring the final lap Harrison had a lead of 28.96s over Anstey who decided to try to take the lap record. At Glen Helen the lead was 29s; at Ramsey, Anstey had cut it by a couple of seconds. Josh Brookes retired from 8th at Glen Tramman and Ivan Lintin lost a leader board place when his machine expired on the Mountain Mile. Harrison began to feel unwell and slowed; whilst Anstey kept going at record pace. Harrison set a new race record and took his well deserved win by 16.048s from Anstey who had the consolation of setting the new lap at 127.496mph. Horst Saiger took his maiden Mountain Course podium after a very fine ride indeed. Davo Johnson, Dan Kneen and Conor Cummins completed the final leader board. Dan Stewart was best privateer in 11th place.
Motorsport Merchandise Superbike Classic TT
- Dean Harrison Silicone Kawasaki 124.815mph
- Bruce Anstey Padgetts Yamaha 124.357mph
- Horst Saiger Greenall Kawasaki 122.644mph
- David Johnson York Suzuki 121.787mph
- Dan Kneen Mistral Kawasaki 121.401mph
- Conor Cummins Padgetts Yamaha 119.828mph