Classic TT: Michael Dunlop leads Classic TT times for second night running

Michael Dunlop on the Team Classic Suzuki during practice for the Classic TT Races
Michael Dunlop on the Team Classic Suzuki during practice for the Classic TT Races

Michael Dunlop set the benchmark for the second night in succession during practice for the Classic TT Races.

The Team Classic Suzuki rider posted the fastest lap so far this week at 118.772mph on the XR69 as he continues to underline his status as the favourite for Monday’s Motorsport Merchandise Formula 1 race on the Mountain Course.

Dunlop was followed by Team York Suzuki’s Russ Mountford, who began the session with a lap at 115.966mph before achieving a faster second lap at 116.534mph.

All eyes were once again on man of the moment Bruce Anstey, who was in stunning form at the Metzeler Ulster Grand Prix as the Kiwi clinched a Superbike and Supersport brace.

Anstey is riding the exotic Padgetts Motorcycles ex-Grand Prix YZR500 Yamaha and after stopping on his first lap on the two-stroke machine on Monday, the 45-year-old set a time of 114.107mph.

The popular New Zealand rider, the fastest man ever to lap the Mountain Course after a blistering 132mph record in June, was beginning to wind up the wick on his second lap but came to a halt at Creg-ny-Baa.

Anstey, though, was the fastest rider through the speed trap at Sulby at 164.5mph and could prove to be the biggest threat to Dunlop on Monday if the factory 500cc machine lasts the distance.

Lincolnshire’s Gary Johnson, who is back on track after a crash in the Superstock race at the Isle of Man TT, lapped at 113.668mph on the Team Winfield Harris Yamaha.

In perfect conditions on the Isle of Man last night, Ballyclare’s Jamie Hamilton - a late replacement for the injured Dean Harrison on the Black Eagle Racing MV Agusta - was the first rider to leave the line ahead of Anstey on the 500cc McIntosh Norton and the illustrious pairing of John McGuinness on the Team Winfield Paton and Michael Dunlop (Molnar Manx Norton).

Morecambe man McGuinness set the pace ahead of Saturday’s 500cc race with a best lap of 109.454mph on his second lap, with Welshman Ian Lougher second fastest on the Flitwick Motorcycles Paton at 109.282mph.

Ulsterman Ryan Farquhar, who has won in the class five times at the Manx Grand Prix, was third fastest (108.767mph) followed by

Hamilton (107.327mph) and Molnar Manx pair Dunlop (106.431mph) and Dan Cooper (105.896mph).

Other notable performers included Michael Rutter, who completed his first Classic TT lap on the Seeley Matchless G50 with a speed of 102.114mph plus last year’s 500cc race winner Olie Linsdell, who lapped at 101.100mph on a ’72 Enfield Seeley.

Alan Oversby set the pace again in the 350cc class on his Honda at 102.707mph to top the times from Cheshire’s Connor Behan (99.842mph) and Ballymoney’s William Dunlop (99.756mph) on the Davies Motorsport Honda.

In the F2 Class, James Cowton - who finished third in this year’s Lightweight TT - posted the fastest lap on his Berwick Yamaha TZ250 (108.326mph) with Chris Moore and Lougher completing the top three.

Alex Sinclair was taken by Airmed to Nobles with an arm injury following an accident at Ballaugh, causing an oil spill that necessitated waved and stationary yellow flags.