DEAN Harrison laid down the quickest time of the week in this evening’s wind-stricken first big bike session as he set the only 129mph laps of the night.
The Silicone Engineering Kawasaki star, who went quickest in Sunday’s practice before yesterday’s sessions were axed due to bad weather, topped the times today on his ZX-10 Superbike at 129.53mph and also led the Stockers with a 129.34.
With high winds playing havoc, it was a difficult start for reigning Senior winner Peter Hickman who pulled off with problems at Quarterbridge on his Superstock-spec Smith’s BMW and had to head back to the grandstand to grab his Supersport bike.
Milenco by Padgetts man Conor Cummins clocked the quickest opening lap with a 128.09 ahead of Tyco BMW’s Michael Dunlop at 126.65 and Harrison, just a couple of tenths behind at 125.63mph.
Ian Hutchinson put the Honda Racing machine fourth on the leaderboard on his first standing start lap at 125.39, but the surprise of the session just a lap in was Penz13 rider Daley Mathison, who set the fourth fastest time at 125.17mph.
But just a lap later, both pace-setter Cummins and RAF Regular and Reserves’ Gary Johnson were both black-flagged, Cummins for a smoking engine and Johnson for a dangling onboard camera. And moments later, Hutchy was reported to have come off the Fireblade at the 11th milestone though was said to be okay.
In the Superstock ranks, Harrison set the early pace with a 126.68, leading Honda man David Johnson by just over 0.4sec. Trooper Beer Triumph rider Hickman controlled the Supersport action with a 123.92, leading B&W/Keever Kawasaki’s Derek McGee after the Irishman clocked an early 122.04.
But with 30 minutes remaining, Harrison eclipsed all the big bikes on his Superstock ZX-10 with a 129.34mph lap to lead the session outright before heading straight back out on his Superbike and clocking a 129.53 to beat Cummins to the top spot in class.
A late lap from Tyco BMW’s Michael Dunlop looked like it could topple Harrison’s quick time, but the Ballymoney man lost time on the run to Glen Helen and again heading down the Mountain to finish the short lap with a 126.93.
Retirements included Irishman Brian McCormack, who stopped on his first lap at Braddan Bridge, while Timothee Monot retired at Kerrowmoar with under 20 minutes to go. Paul Williams, Derek Sheils and Frank Gallagher all retired in the closing minutes of the session, while Jason Corcoran was taken to Nobles with a reported neck injury to join Emmett Burke with a reported leg injury.