BMW’S Michael Dunlop has Senior TT glory in his sights on Friday as the 10-time Mountain Course winner attempts to capture the prized silverware for the first time.
Dunlop was denied a five-timer last year when John McGuinness came out on top to win the coveted trophy on the Honda TT Legends machine by 10 seconds.
However, the Ballymoney rider will be determined to set the record straight on Friday afternoon as he attempts to emulate Georg Meier’s Senior win for BMW in 1939.
Dunlop has already claimed the German manufacturer’s first success in the premier class at the TT for 75 years when he won last Saturday’s Dainese Superbike race but all his focus now is solely on repeating the feat in Friday’s glittering finale.
Following his treble in the Superbike, Superstock and Supersport races this week, Dunlop is currently level on 10 TT wins with Giacomo Agostini and Stanley Woods, and one more top step would see him join Steve Hislop and Phillip McCallen on the roll of honour with 11 triumphs.
The Northern Ireland star is also entered in the Lightweight race on Friday morning (10.30am) on the McAdoo Kawasaki and conceivably could equal Ian Hutchinson’s 2010 record of five wins in a week with a final day double.
Dunlop said: “For me, the TT is the ultimate road race – nothing else compares to it. We’re getting there and we’ll keep plugging away because we don’t want to get carried away with ourselves.
“The BMW is only just showing its potential, there’s a lot more to come from the bike.
“When we were filming the TV programme [ITV4’s The Michael Dunlop Story], BMW Motorrad brought over the [Senior] trophy from 75 years ago to show me. It would be great if I could repeat that and give them another trophy to take back home.”
Lee Nicholls, BMW UK’s marketing manager, doesn’t hide the fact that a Senior TT victory has been the team’s primary objective since Dunlop came on board.
“There’s a very real chance that we can repeat Georg Meier’s victory from 1939,” he said. “It would mean so much to us to be able to go home with an Isle of Man Senior TT win – and Michael is the man who can make it happen.”
Dunlop has been in stunning form as he emerges as the new master of the Mountain Course and although he starts as favourite, New Zealand’s Bruce Anstey will be hoping he can spoil the party.
The 44-year-old Kiwi put down a marker as he became the first rider ever to surpass the 132mph mark in the Superbike race, finishing in fourth place on the Valvoline Padgett’s Honda after losing time when he ran on at The Nook.
A lightning-fast start will be crucial though, with Anstey starting ten seconds ahead of Dunlop as the pair carry the number five and six plates respectively.
While the stage seems set for a showdown between the pair, Tyco Suzuki’s Guy Martin and Manxman Conor Cummins on the Honda Racing Fireblade can’t be dismissed lightly.
William Dunlop (Tyco Suzuki), James Hillier (Quattro Kawasaki), Michael Rutter (Bathams BMW) and Dean Harrison (RC Express Kawasaki) will also be vying for the top six positions, with John McGuinness (Honda Racing) hoping to round off the week with a strong result after his 2014 TT has been largely thwarted by a wrist injury.