The indomitable New Zealander, who has been battling cancer, was cheered all around the course by fans as he dominated the race on his 250cc two stroke Honda and was never headed, eventually clinching the race win – his sixth in the Classic TT and his third in the Lightweight class - by over a minute from his Milenco by Padgetts Motorcycles teammate, Davey Todd.
In the winner’s enclosure after the race, an emotional Anstey paid tribute to the Padgetts team: “It’s awesome to win. I can’t believe it. Everyone – the team, Clive (Padgett), my family have just been awesome. I was right in the zone but on the last lap I was really nervous and just short shifted – I was not trying to go fast – just get it to the end. The last two years have been really tough. If it wasn’t for Anny (his partner) I wouldn’t be here.”
Todd had the honour of leading the field away but it was Anstey who lead on the clock at the opening checkpoint at Glen Helen from James Hind - a MGP newcomer in 2018 - the second fastest qualifier, with Todd a further two seconds back in third.
Eight time Sidecar TT Race winning passenger Dan Sayle, on his own comeback from serious injury in last year’s Classic TT meeting, showed his two stroke prowess in fourth riding a John Chapman Racing Honda with Ian Lougher, himself no stranger to the lower capacity bikes, completing the top five on the Laylaw Racing Yamaha less than a second behind Sayle at the first timing point.
Anstey had increased his lead to fifteen seconds over Hind by the Bungalow on the opening lap, with Todd a further five seconds back. Anstey’s opening lap – 117.053mph – gave him a near twenty second lead over Hind with Todd holding third place.
Many of the leading riders came in for their pit stop at the end of the opening lap to give them a ‘flying’ third lap including Anstey, who emerged from a forty second pit stop to lead on the road and on the clock by forty seconds at Glen Helen on the second lap.
However, Hind’s race challenge was effectively over as a thirty second pit lane speeding infringement, coupled with a long stop of over a minute, dropped him to 8th and although Todd was now second, a lengthy pit stop of 56 seconds put him significantly behind the race leader. Lougher, after his own forty second pit stop, was only six seconds behind Todd in third.
By this stage Anstey was already in his own race and his second lap of 113.399mph gave him an unassailable lead of almost a minute from Todd who was now established in second place, leading third placed man Lougher by seventeen seconds. Jamie Coward on a Binch Racing Yamaha and Dominic Herbertson completed the top five at the end of the second lap. Hind had battled back to sixth place and was clearly on a charge after his earlier misfortune.
Anstey clinched the race win with a final lap of 116.157mph and Todd’s 114.889mph lap secured the runners-up spot but behind the Milenco by Padgetts Motorcycles pair, James Hind was on a charge and set the fastest lap on the final circuit – 116.601mph securing the Lincolnshire rider the final podium place. Lougher came home in fourth with Jamie Coward completing the top five.
FULL RACE RESULTS CAN BE FOUND HERE.
Images courtesy of Pacemaker Press