Saturday’s opening 500cc race of the inaugural Classic TT on the Isle of Man saw popular Bedfordshire rider Olie Linsdell take a dominant victory from Northern Ireland’s William Dunlop.
Linsdell, riding with the number one plate, had over two seconds in hand on the Giovanni Cabassi Paton following the four-lap event, held in glorious sunshine on the Isle of Man.
“My father and I have been trying for the last 10 years to win this race. It’s been a long time coming,” Linsdell said.
The race developed into a war of attrition with a number of leading contenders falling by the wayside as the unique challenge of the 37.73-mile Mountain Course took its toll on the classic machines.
Island legend John McGuinness was an early retirement on Roger Winfield’s Paton, previously ridden to Manx Grand Prix success by Ryan Farquhar.
Manx hope Conor Cummins’ race was also over prematurely as the big Ramsey man retired at Appledene.
Linsdell was setting a hot pace out front and completed his opening lap at 111.446mph, shattering Farquhar’s 2010 lap record.
The English rider, who has bounced back from a number of serious accidents on the Mountain Course, led by nearly 40 seconds from Dunlop on the Davies Motorsport Honda with Bruce Anstey on the McIntosh Racing/Mobil 1 Norton in third, a further six seconds back.
Australia’s Cameron Donald held fourth on the Ripley Land Matchless after an opening lap of 106.861mph with Jamie Coward a further three seconds in arrears in fifth.
Race leaders Linsdell and Dunlop made their pit stops at the end of the first lap to refuel, but despite losing time Linsdell still led by 15 seconds from Anstey at Glen Helen on lap two with Donald now slotting into third.
Donald, though, was forced out at Cruickshanks, promoting Chris Palmer into the top three on the Shelton Racing Matchless.
Anstey’s race also ended on the second lap as the Kiwi retired at Brandywell, while Coward was making ground as he overtook Palmer to slot into third by the end of the lap with Dunlop now fifth behind Roy Richardson (Aermacchi) following his pit stop.
Linsdell was untouchable as he blitzed through the Sulby speed trap at 146.84mph on lap three, smashing the lap record again with a speed of 111.660mph as he stretched further clear, with 50 seconds in hand over Coward in second place.
Palmer fell victim to mechanical trouble at Governors as Dunlop moved into third and began to reel in Coward, with Richardson fourth and Ian Lougher on the Flitwick Motorcycles Royal Enfield in fifth.
On the final lap, Linsdell closed out a deserved victory – his first on the Mountain Course since he claimed a double at the Manx Grand Prix in 2007 – with Dunlop passing Coward to take second place.
Lougher finished fourth ahead of Richardson, with James Hillier completing the top six.
Michael Dunlop finished seventh on the MD Racing Norton.