RECORD BREAKING END TO QUALIFYING AS DUNLOP HITS NEW HEIGHTS
The Isle of Man TT Races were set alight this afternoon as Michael Dunlop unofficially broke the outright lap record with a stunning lap of 135.531mph on the Hawk Racing Honda, almost six tenths of a second inside Peter Hickman’s official lap of 135.452mph set in the 2018 Senior TT Race.
Hickman wasn’t far behind his Honda rival with a lap of 134.91mph on the FHO Racing BMW with Dean Harrison (DAO Racing Kawasaki) also above the 134mph barrier at 134.216mph.
Hickman wasn't far behind Dunlop's record breaking pace
Dunlop was also in scintillating form in the Supertwin class with a standing start lap of 123.474mph on his Paton, five seconds quicker than the mark he set on Monday evening and six and a half seconds quicker than the official record he set in 2018. For good measure, he also topped the Supersport class.
On a gorgeous, sunny afternoon, it was the Sidecar class that got proceedings underway, and Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley (FHO Racing Honda) were quickest on the opening lap with a speed of 117.807mph. The Crowes were a little bit further behind on their Haven Homes Honda after lapping at 116.452mph whilst the Birchall’s, yesterday’s record breakers, lapped at a leisurely 81.928mph after stopping at Ballacraine.
Tim Reeves/Mark Wilkes (113.509mph) were next up, and they were followed by Gary Bryan/Phil Hyde (112.088) and John Holden/Maxime Vasseur (112.046), the last two both setting their best laps of the week. That also applied to Steve and Matty Ramsden (111.442) and Daryl Gibson/Tom Christie (111.148), newcomer Gibson continuing to impress as he posted his first 110mph+ lap.
Pete Founds/Jevan Walmsley were fastest in the qaulifying session of the week
Reeves and Wilkes looked on course to better their time before coming to a halt on the Mountain Mile, but the Ramsden’s did improve to 112.719mph, their best lap of the Mountain Course. Dan Knight/Ben Hughes also went quicker at 110.118mph, their maiden 110mph+ lap.
The Supersport/Supertwin session followed, and the big headlines were made by Dunlop and Hickman albeit for different reasons, Dunlop unofficially smashing the Supertwin lap record from a standing start with a lap of 123.474mph. He pulled off the course at Union Mills on his second lap, but he fared better than Hickman who only got as far as Greeba Castle on lap one. He made it back to the Grandstand to get a lap in on his Supersport machine but with no time registered all week, he’s failed to qualify for the Supertwin class.
Dunlop’s lap was 21seconds quicker than Jamie Coward (121.08mph) with Frenchman Pierre Yves-Bian (119.131mph) impressing in third on his Paton. Josh Brookes was continuing to get quicker on the Dafabet Kawasaki and he placed fourth at 118.523mph ahead of Rob Hodson (118.266mph) and Paul Jordan (117.455mph).
After returning to the pits, Dunlop went out on his Supersport machine and topped that session too with a lap of 127.51mph with Harrison (127.216mph) the only other rider to break the 127mph barrier.
Dunlop also topped the Supersport class and unofficially smashed the Supertwin lap record.
Davey Todd (125.715) placed third to give the Milenco by Padgett’s Motorcycles team some cheer with Conor Cummins currently hospitalised with an infection. It was then Mike Browne (125.049), Hickman (124.842) and James Hillier (124.761) that rounded out the top six. Newcomers Ryan Cringle (117.333) and Jorge Halliday (114.942) also made further progression on their 600cc machines.
The Superbike/Superstock session completed the day’s action, and it was most definitely a case of the best being saved until last as Shaun Anderson (Team Classic Suzuki) led the field away from Sam West, James Hillier, Michael Rutter, David Johnson and John McGuinness.
Dunlop was immediately putting the hammer down and opened with a 134.27mph lap, Davey Todd (132.194mph) and Harrison (132.123mph) slotting into second and third until Hickman – who’d started late – knocked them down a spot with a lap of 133.195mph. Jamie Coward and John McGuinness were also above 130mph on their opening lap.
The pace really increased on lap two with Dunlop laying down his stunning 135.531mph lap, more than 1.5mph quicker than he’d ever gone before. Hickman wasn’t far behind at 134.910mph with Harrison in third on 134.216mph. McGuiness (131.003mph) and Coward (130.945mph) also went quicker again.
Late in the session, Josh Brookes posted his first 130mph lap of the week with 131.098mph putting him fifth quickest overall whilst other impressive laps came from Rob Hodson (129.279mph) in eighth overall in the Superbike class and James Hind (128.316mph). Cringle lapped at 121.844mph.
Few riders went out on their Superstock machines but of those that did, Todd – who’d pulled off the course on his second lap on the Superbike – was quickest at 131.080mph with Browne’s strong week continuing as he came perilously close to his first 130mph lap at 129.664mph. Debutante Erno Kostamo set his best lap of the week at 119.806mph.
Tomorrow sees the first races of this year’s TT get underway with the Monster Energy Supersport TT Race 1 and 3wheeling.media Sidecar TT Race 1 taking place. After an unbelievable end to this year’s qualifying, it’s set to be an incredible week of racing and fans can follow all the action live on TT+.