Road Racing

Michael Dunlop takes Formula 1 Classic TT win

Dramatic Formula 1 race sees Bruce Anstey black flagged

NORTHERN Ireland’s Michael Dunlop wins the Formula 1 Classic TT race on-board the Team Classic Suzuki ahead of Bruce Anstey who was forced to pit twice.

Due to a fault in the marshal’s communication system up in race control, the Formula 1 race was postponed until 5pm. The Formula 1, being the most anticipated race of the Classic TT, saw TT riders Dunlop, Dean Harrison, Ryan Farquhar and Peter Hickman go head to head on a range of machinery from the Japanese Suzuki, Kawasaki and Yamaha superbikes along with the Yamaha YZR-500 V4 two-stroke Valvoline Racing by Padgetts motorcycle ridden by the flying Kiwi Anstey.  

Farquhar took the lead at Glen Helen on the first lap on the Team Winfield Harris Yamaha pulling out just over a one second lead from the Team Classic Suzuki rider Dunlop. Hickman, the fastest qualifier, was a further second back on the Mistral Racing Kawasaki with fellow Kawasaki rider Harrison and Hillier completing the top five. Gary Johnson was up to sixth on the second Team Winfield Harris Yamaha and Anstey back in seventh almost five seconds behind Dunlop.

Harrison retired on the Mountain Mile and Dunlop moved back in front almost three seconds ahead of the fast improving Anstey with Farquhar third.

It’s known you shouldn’t discount Anstey, and proving this correctly the Kiwi flew through to move in front at Cronk-ny-Mona to lead at the end of the opening lap by less than a second from Dunlop. Farquhar held third with Hickman fourth. Only just over two seconds separated the top four.

Michael’s brother William Dunlop was riding the Team National Motorcycle Museum/Crighton Racing Norton Rotary – the type that won the 1992 Senior TT with the legendary Steve Hislop on-board. However, unfortunately William was forced to retire at Ballacraine on the opening lap.

Lap two saw the top three establish a gap from the rest of the field with Anstey extending his lead to over 12 seconds as he came into the pits for the first time. Despite slowing down for the pit stop, the flying Kiwi shattered the lap record and posted a remarkable 126.261mph – the first sub 18-minute Classic TT lap. Dunlop was also inside the lap record with a 124.954mph, but not as quick as Anstey.

Unfortunately, Anstey lost 15-seconds in the pits to Dunlop with a pit stop of 1 minute 18 seconds due to a loose under tray allowing Dunlop to take the lead by just over a second at Glen Helen on the third lap which he extended to almost six seconds by Ballaugh. Farquhar remained in the final podium position.

At the end of lap three it was reported that Anstey was to be black flagged into the pits due to a loose left exhaust. The Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Motorcycles team battled to fix the problem with cable ties as scruitineers ensured it was safe to continue racing. The Kiwi continued but had lost a minute to Dunlop which handed the victory to Dunlop.

Anstey clawed back a gap of over thirty seconds on Hillier on the last lap whilst Farquhar lost time on the Mountain section allowing Anstey to grab that second place.

Dunlop brought his Team Classic Suzuki home to win in 1:13.37.628 breaking his old race record set in 2013 by over a minute. South African Allan Venter finished 14th and was the first privateer home.

In the concurrent Formula 2 Race, Ryan Kneen took the victory from James Cowton, breaking the old lap record by a minute. Kneen powered over the Mountain Course which included a last lap of 113.075mph, his fastest of the race, to finish almost 12 seconds ahead of Cowton.

The Classic TT has now finished and the Manx Grand Prix has begun with the Newcomers race taking place at 2pm on Tuesday. Unfortunately it has since been reduced from four laps to three as weather has delayed proceedings. 

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