Northern Ireland’s Michael Dunlop made history at the Isle of Man TT as he became the first rider ever to lap the Mountain Course at 133mph on his way to victory in the RST Superbike race.
It was the 27-year-old’s 12th TT win and Dunlop did it in sensational style on the Hawk Racing BMW, blitzing John McGuinness’s outright lap record from 2015 of 132.701mph with a new benchmark of 133.369mph from a standing start.
The Ballymoney rider also achieved the first ever sub-17 minute lap of the 37.73-mile course in 16m 58.439s but there was more to come, with Dunlop going faster again on his second lap to increase the lap record to a blistering 133.393mph (16m 58.254s).
His red-hot opening salvo on the first two laps put Dunlop in control as he opened a lead of seven seconds over Tyco BMW’s Ian Hutchinson, who had emerged as the Ulster rider’s biggest threat after the pair went head-to-head during a sun-kissed practice week on the Isle of Man.
Dunlop never gave his rivals an inch as he maintained a scorching pace on his S1000RR, extending his lead to more than 15 seconds following the first round of pit stops after lap two.
He reeled in Hutchinson, who started 20 seconds ahead of him on the road, and passed the Yorkshire rider on lap four to assert his authority as John McGuinness held a safe third on the Honda Racing Fireblade.
Dunlop had done the hard work and now simply had to bring his BMW home safely to wrap up an outstanding 12th win, which has put him ahead of TT legends Steve Hislop and fellow countryman Phillip McCallen on the all-time roll of honour.
The delighted 27-year-old said: “We had a small issue on the first lap but nothing serious and the bike never missed a beat, which is a credit to these boys. Stuart [Hicken] gave me a bike and I said what I was going to do, and there you go: I’ve given him what he wanted and that’s the main thing.
“It’s good to win again, especially on a bike that we’ve brought ourselves,” added Dunlop, who left the island empty-handed in 2015, when injuries sustained in a crash in the Superbike race and an eleventh hour change of teams hampered his chances.
“To do 133mph from a standing start is pretty good and we’ll just have to lift the bar in the next race.”
Dunlop completed the fastest six-lap TT race in history at an average speed of 130.306mph in a time of 1h 44m 14.259s. His race-winning time was a remarkable 1m 15.643s inside the old race record.
Behind the top three, Peter Hickman finished a fine fourth in his first race on a full-blown Superbike on the JG Speedfit Kawasaki ZX-10R – his best TT result to date.
The Burton-on-Trent rider clocked a brilliant 132mph lap on his final lap as he came home ahead of Harrison on the Silicone Engineering Kawasaki, with Michael Rutter rounding out the top six on his Bathams SMT BMW.
Australia’s David Johnson continued to break new ground with the Norton SG5 as he finished in a magnificent seventh, notching a 130mph lap.
Bruce Anstey was eighth on the exotic Honda RC213V-S MotoGP replica and also set a lap of 130mph, despite feeling the effects of his practice crash at Keppel Gate on Thursday evening.
Gary Johnson (Penz13.com BMW) and Northern Ireland’s Lee Johnston on the East Coast/Burdens BMW completed the top ten.
Manx rider Conor Cummins was a first lap retirement at Ballaugh on the Honda Racing Fireblade, while William Dunlop stopped at Union Mills on lap three while holding eighth on the Yamaha R1.
Davy Morgan and Shaun Anderson were also retirements from the race, while newcomer Seamus Elliott from Ballymoney crashed at Sarah’s Cottage, but was reported to be OK.