DEAN Harrison has won this afternoon’s Motorsport Merchandise Superbike Classic TT – despite feeling ‘under the weather’.
The Bradford favourite led from the first sector to take a comfortable win and a new race record over Bruce Anstey, who set a new lap record on the final lap, while Horst Saiger came home a delighted third.
David Johnson led the bikes away at 2.50pm followed by the Yamaha of Anstey, as previous winner Michael Dunlop was third away ahead of this morning’s Junior winner, Michael Rutter.
Harrison was the man with the edge as the machines clocked in at Glen Helen, holding three seconds over Michael Dunlop who was less than a second quicker than Anstey.
The Silicone Engineering Kawasaki rider stretched the lead by the best part of five seconds as they hit Ballaugh, but Anstey had leapfrogged Dunlop to move into second by 0.5secs. Dunlop then started to struggle, and had dropped way down the order as the riders arrived at Ramsey, his race clearly done.
Leading the way, Harrison continued to build his lead, eking out a little bit more through each sector to cross the line at the end of the opening lap with a cushion of 7.862secs over Anstey, with Horst Saiger holding third a further 14 secs adrift.
As expected, Dunlop came into the pits at the end of the lap and parked up the Team Classic Suzuki XR69, while Jamie Coward, who had been running fourth didn’t make it to Glen Helen, amid reports of smoke being spotted from his Mistral Racing Kawasaki moments earlier.
Harrison continued to push on, and had extended the lead to more than 10 seconds as the pack arrived at the Bungalow for the second time, with Anstey sitting comfortable in second some 36 seconds ahead of Saiger.
As first man on the road, Anstey was the first to pit, setting a new lap record of 126.995mph. But it was to be a short-lived moment, as Harrison came in shortly after clocking a record-smashing 127.212mph on the way.
Michael Rutter gave the pit crews a bit of a scare as he made a dressage manoeuvre sending his Ducati sideways into his box, and then more drama followed as Gary Johnson and Ivan Lintin almost tangled in pit lane.
Stops done, Harrison now had a very comfortable 29.745sec lead over Anstey in hand as they reached Glen Helen for the third time, who in turn was holding a similar gap over Saiger.
David Johnson, Gary Johnson, Lintin, Manxman Dan Kneen and Josh Brookes were running fourth to eighth respectively, as Derek Sheils and William Dunlop rounded out the top 10.
Brookes joined the list of retirements a few minutes later, as did Gary Johnson at the 27th, which shook up the top 10 a bit as the riders started to cross the line to start the final lap.
It was to prove a relatively calm final lap up front, as Harrison backed off a little bit to ensure a safe passage home, while Anstey remained second, closing the gap to around 20 seconds and increasing the gap to Saiger to more than 50 as they arrived at the Bungalow for the final time.
Anstey’s final lap turned out to be his best, as he destroyed the lap record with an impressive 127.496mph, but it wasn’t enough to topple Harrison, who came home with 16 seconds in hand to grab the win.
“This is the one everyone wants to win so I’m over the moon with that,” Harrison said. “I got stuck in from the start and just chipped away. I had ‘P1 +8’ and got up to 29 or 30 seconds and just cruised home, but if need be I could’ve pushed harder.”
“The lads have been getting slicker and slicker all year, [the pit stop] was spot on. There were a few damp patches, I was a bit cautious coming out of Hillberry and Ramsey, the usual places, but it were alright.”
“I were a bit under the weather to be fair but it worked out alright. Thanks to everyone that was waving me on and everyone in the crowds that were cheering. And thanks to all the marshals as well – without them we wouldn’t be here.”
David Johnson was fourth ahead of Kneen, as fellow Manxman Conor Cummins finished sixth, William Dunlop seventh, Derek Sheils eighth, Danny Webb ninth and Andrew Dudgeon rounded out the top 10.
Motorsport Merchandise Superbike Classic TT top 10 (provisional)
- Dean Harrison
- Bruce Anstey
- Horst Saiger
- David Johnson
- Dan Kneen
- Conor Cummins
- William Dunlop
- Derek Sheils
- Danny Webb
- Andrew Dudgeon