Southern 100: Michael Dunlop hails 23rd victory after Senior win as 'good way to start'

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Michael Dunlop toasted his 23rd win at the Southern 100 on the Isle of Man on Tuesday evening and said his Superbike win in the Peel Holdings Senior race was ‘a good way to start off’.

The 35-year-old was reunited with the Hawk Racing Honda Superbike for the first time since the Isle of Man TT in June, but Dunlop only managed one flying lap in a damp qualifying session after pulling in to change to a rear intermediate tyre.

However, he qualified in second place at the Billown course and after taking the lead from pole man Jamie Coward on the second lap, Dunlop pulled a slight gap after three laps of the scheduled six, setting the fastest lap of the evening at 106.892mph.

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The race was red-flagged moments after the leaders had completed their third lap when Dunlop was one second ahead of Coward (KTS Racing Honda), who was almost six seconds ahead of Davey Todd (Milwaukee BMW).

Michael Dunlop leads Jamie Coward into Iron Gate during Tuesday evening's Southern 100 Senior Race. Picture: Dave Kneen/PacemakerMichael Dunlop leads Jamie Coward into Iron Gate during Tuesday evening's Southern 100 Senior Race. Picture: Dave Kneen/Pacemaker
Michael Dunlop leads Jamie Coward into Iron Gate during Tuesday evening's Southern 100 Senior Race. Picture: Dave Kneen/Pacemaker

A result was declared after two laps, with Dunlop taking the win by 0.282s from Coward and Todd third.

The rider involved in the incident was reported to be ‘ok and taken to Noble’s Hospital’.

Race winner Dunlop, who became the most successful rider ever at the TT this year with a new record of 29 victories, said: “I haven’t rode the (Hawk Honda) since the TT so again, we were trying to get into the groove whereas those boys are riding their bikes all the time.

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“Obviously only getting two laps (in qualifying) didn’t help things either so I was just building back into it and thanks to Stuart and Steve (Hicken), the bike is mint and all the lads worked real hard.

“Thanks to all the sponsors as well, MasterMac and DAO – it’s a good way to start off.”

Runner-up Coward said he was losing out in a straight line on his Superstock-spec Honda against Dunlop’s Superbike.

“I passed Michael on that first lap but we’re just on the ’stock bike so the Superbike in a straight line is an absolute missile, so once he came past I knew he’d try and pull the pin,” said Coward.

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“I tried to stay with him as best as I could and it was a good race.

“Conditions are pretty awful and it’s so greasy. I was following Michael through the bomb hole and he had some big moments, so it’s not ideal out there.

“It’s nice to get a finish and get home and if conditions are better the rest of the week it will be a lot nicer for friends, family and spectators.”

Saltburn man Todd described conditions as ‘hideous’ as he settled for a safe third.

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“It was a game of choosing the right tyre and me, Michael and Jamie are all on a different selection of tyres, but that was hideous – I didn’t enjoy a second of that,” said the 28-year-old.

“As soon as we went on the warm-up lap we were straight out there and the whole back section of the course… it was spitting with rain and it’s so hard to tell how much it’s raining.

“When you have a slick rear tyre it’s not very confidence inspiring so I was pretty nervous out there and just trying to nurse it around really and stay safe.

“We started on the box and we’ll keep chipping away and hopefully get some better weather tomorrow and the next day.”

Mike Browne (IN Competition Aprilia), Dean Harrison (Honda) and Michael Sweeney (MJR BMW) rounded out the top six.

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