The most frenetic day in TT history gave us some sparkling racing in the warm sunshine (yes really). Conditions were just about perfect throughout the day; with clear blue skies and a light breeze. The roads were dry all round the Mountain Course, except for some sight damp patches at Laurel Bank, the Black Dub, Glen Helen, Kerrowmoar and the run from Ramsey Hairpin to Waterworks, where serious tree surgery is desperately needed.
After another titanic duel with Dean Harrison Peter Hickman claimed his fourth TT Race victory when he won Thursday’s two-lap Monster Energy Supersport TT Race, his first win in the 600cc category.
Riding the lovely looking and sounding Trooper Beer by Smiths Racing Triumph he was locked in battle throughout the two laps with Kawasaki riders Dean Harrison and James Hiller with never more than 5s covering them. Mastery of the mountain section allowed the Burton upon Trent rider to grab the win win by 3.3s. James Hillier took third on the Quattro Plant Wicked Coatings Kawasaki.
Unusually it was Hickman who led at Glen Helen on the opening lap; his lead over Hillier was just 0.06s and it was close across the leader board with Harrison, Gary Johnson, Lee Johnston and Jamie Coward filling third to sixth place positions as just two and a half seconds covered the top six. Ian Hutchinson was in trouble though with the Honda Racing rider retiring at Quarter Bridge.
It was all change at Ballaugh as Harrison took over the lead from Hillier and Hickman with the trio separated by only half a second but as the riders charged past us in Ramsey Hickman had moved back to the top of the leader board. The gap was only 0.038s with Hillier in third, one and a half seconds adrift of Harrison.
The trio remained close as they went up and over the Mountain for the first time but an opening lap of 127.21mph gave Hickman a 2.3s lead over Harrison with Hillier just under a second further back in third. Conor Cummins and Coward had moved up to fourth and fifth as Johnston slipped back to sixth.
With no pit stop on this occasion, the riders went on to their second and final lap but Harrison’s strength on the opening sector could again be seen as he turned his deficit into a 0.5s advantage as the riders swept round the left hander at Glen Helen. It looked to be a two-horse race as well as Hillier was now three seconds in arrears of Hickman.
By Ballaugh, Hickman had edged ahead again but it remained extremely tight with Harrison only three tenths of a second behind. Hillier dropped another second but stayed in third over six seconds clear of Cummins as Coward and Johnson completed the top six.
As they arrived at Ramsey for the final time, the gap, amazingly, was almost exactly the same and, just as in last year’s Senior race, it would be decided on the final charge over the Mountain.
Through the Bungalow, Hickman had added another 0.6s to his lead and it was 1.9s at Cronk ny Mona just over 1 mile from the finish line. It required the fastest lap of the race at 128.14mph, for Hickman to secure his first Supersport victory by 3.302s.
Harrison had to settle for second with Hillier taking another 600cc podium in third as Cummins took a superb fourth place; someone who is 2 metres tall really should not be competitive on these bikes. Coward took his best ever TT result in fifth ahead of Dunlop with last year’s best newcomer Davey Todd also having his best ever TT finish in seventh. Gary Johnson, Lee Johnston and David Johnson rounded out the top ten.
Hickman’s victory saw him extend his lead at the top of the Joey Dunlop TT Championship to 13 points and he now leads the way on 66 from Harrison (53) and Hillier (49).
Coward took his third successive maximum haul of points in the race for the TT Privateers Championship he moved onto 75 points ahead of Derek Sheils (47) and Paul Jordan (45) who took 12th and 11th respectively in today’s race.
Matt Stevenson was reported to be off at Greeba Castle and was treated at the scene for a wrist injury.
Monster Energy Supersport Race 2
- Peter Hickman Trooper Beer Triumph 127.671mph
- Dean Harrison Silicone Engineering Kawasaki 127.473mph
- James Hillier Quattro Plant Kawasaki 127.201mph
- Conor Cummins Milenco Padgetts Honda 126.692mph
- Jamie Coward Prez Yamaha 126.423mph
- Michael Dunlop MD Honda 125.164mph
The second race for the Sidecars was the next little delight for us. This was also run over the reduce distance of 2 laps. The race was robbed of star newcomers Ryan and Callum Crowe who were unable to start to machine problems.
Ben and Tom Birchall showed their mastery to secure their tenth victory and in doing so matched the ten wins of TT legend Rob Fisher. In a repeat of the last five races they fought off the challenge of John Holden/Lee Cain to win by more than twenty seconds with Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley sealing the final podium position in third.
The Birchall brothers led Holden/Cain by 1s at Glen Helen on the first of the two laps with Alan Founds/Jake Lowther, Founds/Walmsley and Lewis Blackstock/Patrick Rosney slotting into third to fifth. However for Founds/Lowther the race was was over 200m up the hill; they were forced to retire at Sarah’s Cottage. Holden/Cain were not going to go down without a huge fight; at Ballaugh Bridge they had reduced the deficit by a tenth of a second as they took the jump.
At White Gates first time around, the Birchalls were flying; taking the left hander superbly; the sidecar wheel skimming over the low kerb on the inside. Holden/Cain were similarly impressive. Founds/Walmsley were more spectacular with their sidecar wheel a couple feet into the air as they powered through. The Birchalls lead had increased to 2.757s; with Founds /Walmsley in third but over 14 seconds adrift of Holden/Cain. Blackstock/Rosney were now fourth with Molyneux/Payne in fifth and Reeves/Wilkes up to sixth; the latter pairs both struggling with mechanical issues.
An opening lap of 118.38mph gave the Birchalls an extended lead over Holden/Cain of 10.602s. Behind them, Founds/Lowther remained in third albeit now 30s behind the leaders. Blackstock/Rosney, Molyneux/Payne and Reeves/Wilkes continued to occupy fourth to sixth.
The lead had stretched to 13 seconds at Glen Helen second time around and Holden/Cain were also extending their advantage over Founds/Walmsley, that gap now up to 24.636s. Blackstock/Rosney continued to hold on to fourth as they crossed the timing beam; but they pulled into the car park by the commentary point to make adjustments before rejoining the race.
Former race winners Molyneux and Reeves were now split by only 0.2s as they circulated in fifth and sixth. At White Gates for the second and final time, the Birchalls were almost 17s clear of Holden/Cain. The action was again excellent with the sidecar wheels skimming over the kerb to allow a faster corner speed. Molyneux’s engine sounded really sick as he tried to accelerate up to Stella Maris and the Hairpin. There were no such issues for the Birchall brothers; with a lap speed of 118.609mph, they took their second win of the week, and tenth in total, by a commanding 20.511s.
Holden/Cain had to settle for second once more, the Blackburn driver’s 12th podium in a row, with Founds/Walmsley finishing in third and taking their first podium since 2016. Reeves/Wilkes came through to take fourth ahead of Gary Bryan/Phil Hyde with Estelle Leblond/Franck Claeys finishing in a fine sixth place after another 110mph+ lap for the French female driver.
The top ten was completed Blackstock/Rosney, Allan Schofield/Steve Thomas, John Lowther/Scott Hardie and a slowing Molyneux/Payne.
Julie Grosset-Bourbange; passenger to Mark Saunders was reported to have come out of the sidecar at Rhencullen and sustained an arm injury. We wish her a rapid recovery.
Locate.im Sidecar Race 2
- Ben Birchall / Tom Birchall Haith LCR 118.494mph
- John Holden / Lee Cain SBR Honda 117. 444mph
- Peter Founds/Jevan Walmsley Rowtec Suzuki 115.724mph
- Tim Reeves / Mark Wilkes Berlin Express Yamaha 112.428mph
- Gary Bryan / Philip Hyde GBM Baker 112.310mph
- Estelle Leblond / Frank Claeys SGR Suzuki 109.760mph
After a quick move to the exit to Cruickshank’s Corner on May Hill, it was time to watch the 3 laps Superstock Race. The race gave us some stunning action as the bikes swept through the rising right hand bend between the walls and then burst into the bright sunshine onto the short straight. Peter Hickman was the most spectacular on lap 2 as he had aviated the front wheel; throttle pinned; whilst still heeled over on exit to the corner.
At the end of a spellbinding race Hickman had secured another win to join the illustrious band of riders who have scored a hat trick around the 37.733 miles of the Mountain Course. The facts of the race are these. Hickman was again rapid over the first sector and led through Glen Helen on the opening lap, – 1.68s ahead of Harrison with James Hillier a similar distance back in third. Dunlop slotted into fourth ahead of veteran Michael Rutter and youngster Davey Todd who was having a storming ride in sixth.
Hickman increased his lead by a further seven tenths of a second at Ballaugh, while Dunlop; more like his normal self; moved ahead of Hillier for third. At our vantage point the flying Hickman’s advantage had grown to 3.978s. Harrison had edged 4.9s ahead of Dunlop with Hillier, Conor Cummins and Davo Johnson occupying fourth to sixth positions.
Another storming run over the Mountain and an opening lap of 132.02mph gave Hickman a 9.026s lead over Harrison as the riders all made their mandatory pit stop. Dunlop was just over four seconds behind Harrison but 6.7s ahead of Hillier as they entered the pit lane. Hillier’s challenge was dented when he picked up a 30s pit lane speeding penalty which dropped him down the order. Johnson was now in fifth having overhauled Cummins. Johnson’s crew gave him the fastest pit stop; something that would prove pivotal later.
Hickman’s lead at Glen Helen had come down to 5.8s as Harrison made his bid to close the gap and it looked like it was now a two-horse race with Dunlop over 11s in arrears in third. Aided by his rapid refuelling Johnson had moved up to fourth, from Cummins and Rutter as Hillier went through in ninth position.
As the lap unfolded, Hickman began to reassert his authority back on the race once more and the lead was up to 9.1s on our watch; with Dunlop 14.2s down on Harrison. In fact Dunlop needed to look back not forward because he was being closed down by a charging Johnson who had come to grips with his Honda Racing Fireblade.
Hickman’s second lap speed of 128.13mph gave him a healthy lead of 16.576s over Harrison as he headed into his third and final lap of the 37.73-mile course. Dunlop was now only 3.2s ahead of Johnson. Cummins and Rutter retained the final leader board places. Hillier was rapid and had fought his way back up to seventh.
At Glen Helen third time around, Hickman had extended his advantage over Harrison to 18.078s but Johnson had now moved up to third at the expense of Dunlop, although the gap between the pairing was only 0.784s. Dunlop responded and had closed to within 0.114s at Ballaugh.
Throughout the final lap, Hickman continually pressed home his advantage and with a final lap speed of 131.38mph, he took the chequered flag by 26.045s to move on to a career total of five TT wins.
Harrison took his second runner-up spot of the day, and third of the week, with Johnson getting the better of Dunlop for third by 0.208s as he overhauled the Ulsterman in the final sector; the 3 seconds he gained on Dunlop in the pits proving decisive. Cummins and Rutter took fifth and sixth with Hillier, Todd, Jamie Coward and Gary Johnson completing the top ten.
Dean Osborne was reported to be unhurt after coming off at Appledene; he is one lucky boy.
RL 360 Superstock Race
- Peter Hickman Smith’s BMW 130.488mph
- Dean Harrison Silicone Kawasaki 129.409mph
- Davo Johnson Honda 128.843mph
- Michael Dunlop MD BMW 128.834mph
- Conor Cummins Milenco Padgetts Honda 128.463mph
- Michael Rutter Batham’s BMW 128.186mph
After a break to allow commuters to go home the action restarted with the 2 laps Lightweight TT. After a duel in the evening sunshine Michael Dunlop took a thrilling Bennetts Lightweight TT Race victory at the 2019 Isle of Man TT Races, fuelled by Monster Energy, on Thursday evening when he beat Jamie Coward by just 1.299s at the end of the shortened two lap race.
Dunlop (SC Corse Paton) and Coward (KTS Racing Kawasaki) swapped the race lead on a number of occasions and were never more than a few seconds apart but the Ulsterman just held off Coward for his 19th TT victory. Lee Johnston finished in third place on the KMR Kawasaki.
Dunlop led Coward at Glen Helen on the first lap by 2.68s with Gary Johnson only 0.676s adrift in third. Bonetti slotted into fourth ahead of Michael Rutter and Johnston with Peter Hickman the best of the Nortons in eighth.
Coward pulled two tenths of a second back on the run to Ballaugh but as they swept past us in Ramsey Dunlop had extended his lead to four seconds. Johnson remained in third, but he was now 5.8s behind Coward. He had his hands full with KMR Kawasaki team-mate Johnston who had closed to within 0.158s. To the disappointment of fans of both rider and bike John McGuinness was forced to park his silver racer at Ballaugh.
On the climb up the mountain, Coward took 3.7s out of Dunlop’s lead to trail by 0.3s at the Bungalow and he took the lead for the first time at Cronk ny Mona. His opening lap of 120.65mph gave him a slender 0.748s advantage over Dunlop. Behind them Lee Johnston had made great progress to move up to third on the KMR machine; ahead of NW200 race winner Stefano Bonetti, Johnson and Paul Jordan.
To increase Norton’s woes Davey Todd retired his machine at the pits. On track things were hotting up nicely; Dunlop had cut Coward’s lead to under 0.5s as they swept through the left hander for the final time. Johnston was only 0.2s ahead of Bonetti as Jordan moved ahead of Johnson into fifth.
At Ballaugh, the gap had come down further still to 0.163s but as they passed us in Ramsey, Dunlop had edged ahead by 1.4s, with just the final run over the Mountain to come. Could Coward repeat his first lap performance and grab 3.7s from Dunlop? The answer was no; he was the quicker rider but gained only 0.3s.
Coward was rapid on the charge down the mountain and had cut the deficit by another 0.4s as they roared through Cronk ny Mona. Dunlop then flashed across the line having lapped at 122.746mph, just 0.03s outside his own lap record. He then had a short but nail biting wait to see if he had secured his 19th win.
Coward lapped at 122.52mph but fell 1.299s short; his excellent ride securing for him his first ever TT podium. Johnston took third for former winner Ryan Farquhar’s KMR team, with Jordan taking an excellent fourth place finish in his third TT ahead of Rutter and Bonetti.
Johnson faded to seventh, whilst Peter Hickman gave Norton something to cheer about in eighth with Dominic Herbertson and Horst Saiger completing the top ten.
Bennett’s Lightweight Race
- Michael Dunlop PRC Paton 121.646mph
- Jamie Coward SB Kawasaki 121.576mph
- Lee Johnston KMR Kawasaki 120.353mph
- Paul Jordan RC Express Kawasaki 120.073mph
- Michael Rutter Bathams KMR Kawasaki 119.811mph
- Stefano Bonetti PRC Paton 119.635mph
The final race was the TT Zero. Again this had a tiny number of competitors and was a Mugen benefit. Davey Todd rode the Nottingham university bike in honour of his Penz team mate; the late Daley Mathison. Todd held third until he was forced to retire at the Bungalow. On track, Michael Rutter always seemed to have matters in hand over his team mate and good friend John McGuinness. Rutter duly kept his 100% record in TT Zero races; winning by 8.56s after setting a new lap record at 121.909mph. Both of the Mugens went down Sulby Straight at over 170mph. Ian Lougher secured the last podium place to give us the oldest podium in TT history.
SES TT Zero
- Michael Rutter Bathams Mugen 121.909mph
- John McGuinnes Bathams Mugen 120.979mph
- Ian Lougher Idaten X RE 102.690mph
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