JOHN MCGUINNESS MOVES CLOSER TO JOEY DUNLOP’S OUTRIGHT RECORD WITH VICTORY IN ROYAL LONDON 360 SUPERSTOCK TT RACE
John McGuinness made it TT win number nineteen when he led the Royal London 360 Superstock race from start to finish. After numerous podiums, it was his first win in the class and he beat Michael Dunlop by 7.8s, the Northern Irishman overhauling fellow countryman Ryan Farquhar in the closing stages of the race.
The evening start time of 6.30pm saw perfect conditions around the Mountain Course although the sun that had caused problems during practice again proved awkward for riders.
McGuinness blasted away on the Padgetts Honda and led through Glen Helen but, as with the morning’s Monster Energy Supersport race, it was again tight and his lead over second placed James Hillier was just half a second. Gary Johnson was a further eight tenths of a second back with Farquhar right on his tail, the gap between the two only 0.03s.
As the lap progressed, it was clear it was becoming a fight between McGuinness and Farquhar and as they flashed across the line for the first time, the Morecambe man narrowly led but it was close – the gap between the two a negligible 0.17s. Guy Martin on the Tyco Suzuki was up to third as the morning’s Supersport winner Bruce Anstey, Michael Rutter and Hillier completed the top six. Dunlop, meanwhile, was down in eighth after a slow first lap.
At Glen Helen second time around, there was still only 0.3s in it but at Ramsey, McGuinness eked out a 2.88s lead and it appeared that he was just beginning to edge away. However, fuel problems meant he had to nurse the bike home on the run down the Mountain but, nevertheless, a lap of 128.806mph gave him a near four second lead coming into the pit stop. Anstey had now moved into third and, with a 128mph+ lap, Dunlop was up to fourth pushing Martin, who changed a tyre at his stop, down to fifth with Rutter now in sixth.
Powering around the third lap, McGuinness’ advantage continued to build and all eyes were now focused on the battle for second. Dunlop had overhauled Anstey and was within eight seconds of fellow Kawasaki man Farquhar. Martin and Hillier were still in fifth and sixth.
At Glen Helen for the final time, McGuinness’ lead was up to 14.6s whilst the gap between Farquhar and Dunlop was now down to 5.9s. Indeed, Dunlop was putting a superb lap, which would eventually be 129.253mph, the fastest of the race, and at Ramsey the deficit was down to half a second. With Farquhar suffering an oil leak, he had to slightly reduce his pace and that, combined with Dunlop’s effort, meant that Dunlop edged ahead on the final Mountain climb.
McGuinness, wary of the fuel problem from earlier, used his head and rode slightly cautiously over the final few miles to take his second win of the week by just under eight seconds. Dunlop’s 129mph lap saw him get his first podium of the week. It was also the first finish of the week for the KMR Kawasaki man, less than five seconds behind Dunlop.
Anstey, Martin and Hillier took the next three places with Rutter, Gary Johnson, Dan Stewart and Cameron Donald completing the top ten.
The results mean that McGuinness has gone back to the top of the TT Championship with 63 points to Anstey’s 54 and Donald’s 46. Meanwhile, Stewart was again the lead privateer and he has opened up a healthy lead in the Privateer’s Championship with 63 points compared to second placed Stefano Bonetti’s 36.
All eyes will now be on Wednesday’s second Supersport Race and while John McGuinness will not start favourite in the 600cc class, he cannot be ruled out on this form. A number of leading riders currently empty handed will be looking to make their mark on this year’s meeting with Cameron Donald and the Dunlop brothers in particular keen to record their first victories this year while Bruce Anstey will be hoping to add to his Supersport 1 Race victory earlier in the day.