The win was the third in the class for McGuinness following his victories in 2016 and 2018 and the fourth in a row for Roger Winfield’s outfit. It meant that McGuinness has now won 26 races around the Mountain Course.
The frustrations of the weather affected qualifying week were swept away with perfect racing conditions on the Isle of Man for the opening race day of the 2019 Classic TT Races presented by Bennetts.
Italian marques have dominated the Class, winning every year since the Classic TT’s inception in 2013, with only Dean Harrison – on an MV Agusta – interrupting Paton’s winning streak and that trend looked set to continue with John McGuinness and Italian Stefano Bonetti, both riding Patons, the two fastest qualifiers.
Any fuel capacity advantage that the lower speed single cylinder bikes held was negated with the reduction of the race to three laps which meant that the thirstier Patons could complete full race distance without refuelling.
McGuinness, who won the race in 2016 and on his comeback to the Mountain Course last year, lead the race from the opening sector. He held a lead of six seconds over second placed man Stefano Bonetti at Glen Helen on the opening lap with Maria Costello, also on a Paton for Team Beugger Racing, a further five seconds back in third place. Jamie Coward (Ted Woof/Craven Manx Norton) and Alan Oversby (Ireland Honda) completed the top five.
McGuinness’s opening lap (111.679mph) gave him a lead of 17 seconds from Bonetti with Costello third a further 25 seconds behind the Italian. However there was a battle emerging for the final podium place with Jamie Coward less than a second behind Costello. Oversby completed the top five with his opening lap of 106.73mph.
McGuinness maintained his lead over Bonetti on the second lap but behind the leading pair, Coward moved into the final podium place by Ramsey. McGuinness’s second lap (111.59mph) put him 24 seconds ahead of Bonetti with Coward retaining the final podium place, five seconds ahead of Maria Costello with Oversby completing the top five.
Michael Rutter, who was running sixth, was reported as a retirement at Glen Tramman with a seized engine and new sixth placed man Derek Sheils, riding a Greenall Racing Honda, came into the pits for a quick ‘splash and dash’ refuelling stop at the end of the second lap.
McGuinness took the chequered flag with a final lap of 110.45MPH to win from Bonetti, who secured his first Mountain Course podium with Coward clinching the final podium place. Costello duly finished fourth with Oversby fifth and Sheils holding sixth place after his earlier pit stop.
FULL RACE RESULTS CAN BE FOUND HERE.
Images courtesy of Lucas Croydon