Harrison and Dunlop share the Wednesday Isle of Man TT spoils whilst Hillier, McGee and Rutter claim podiums
The third day of action at the 2018 Isle of Man TT proved a highly successful day for METZELER RACETEC RR riders, as Dean Harrison claimed victory in the Supersport race whilst Michael Dunlop powered to his maiden Lightweight win. James Hillier took third in the Supersport race, whilst Derek McGee and Michael Rutter ensured a METZELER lockout on the Lightweight podium.
It has been an incredible week of racing so far at the 2018 Isle of Man TT, and METZELER rider Dean Harrison has impressed throughout the festival; setting the fastest ever TT lap on Saturday of 134.432mph, followed by podiums in the Superstock and opening Supersport race on Monday.
With glorious weather once again gracing the island for Wednesday’s packed day of racing, Harrison dominated the Supersport race; with the Silicone Engineering Racing rider leading from the opening check point at Glen Helen through to the chequered flag. Setting a blistering pace throughout the four lap race, he set a fastest lap of 17:59.452 (129.099mph average) on his second circulation and eventually took the win by over 18 seconds, setting a new race record in the process. Using the METZELER road legal RACETEC RR treaded tyres, Harrison rode the entire race without changing tyres.
Harrison leads Hillier in the Supersport race
Joining Dean on the Supersport podium was James Hillier, his second podium of the 2018 TT. The Quattro Plant JG Speedfit Kawasaki rider took third place in the Superbike race on Saturday, where he used the METZELER RACETEC RR Slick tyres.
In the final race of the day, the Bennetts Lightweight TT, it was Michael Dunlop who claimed victory, leading for the majority of the race aboard his METZELER RACETEC RR shod Paton. Breaking the lap record on the opening lap, Dunlop would go on to lap even faster throughout the race, eventually setting a new lap record of 122.750mph average on his final circulation. Completing a successful day for METZELER, Derek McGee claimed his first Isle of Man TT podium with second place whilst Michael Rutter took third to ensure a podium lockout.
Michael Dunlop on his way to victory in the Lightweight race
METZELER UK Racing Manager Jason Griffiths commented “With 5 podiums in a day, including two wins, it has proven to be a very successful day for Metzeler and our road legal Racetec RR’s. Dean Harrison has been with us since our return to the roads in 2013 and his second Isle of Man TT win was well deserved as he’s been incredibly quick all week. We always enjoy a podium lockout so it was fantastic to see Derek McGee claim his first podium amongst two TT legends.”
Bridgnorth’s Michael Rutter enjoyed a superb day of racing at the Isle of Man TT Races on Wednesday as he claimed his sixth TT win and a new lap record in the TT Zero race and then took his 17th TT podium in the afternoon’s Lightweight race.
Victory on the Mugen in the TT Zero race saw Michael become the first rider ever to have lapped in excess of 120mph on an electric machine with a new lap record of 121.824mph over 2.5mph quicker than the old mark set in 2015.
A good start to the single lap race saw Michael lead team-mate Lee Johnston by six seconds at Ballaugh Bridge, half way round the lap, and, going through the Sulby speed trap at an impressive 166.9mph, his lead had increased to 7.8s at Ramsey with just a third of the race to go.
Johnston ran into trouble over the Mountain when he had to replace his chain but Michael still had to push on as new second placed rider Daley Mathison was only ten seconds adrift at Ramsey. And with the aforementioned record lap of 121.824mph, he took his sixth victory around the famous Mountain Course by 23.7s from Mathison who also broke the old lap record.
There was added prestige for Michael as he received his winner’s trophy from HRH Duke of Cambridge, Prince William who was a guest of honour on the day.
There was little rest for Michael as he was immediately back out on the Paton for the Lightweight race and a solid start saw him post a speed of 118.660mph which put him in sixth spot. However, from that moment on, he continually moved forward and his second lap of 119.183mph moved him up to fourth, just behind third placed James Cowton.
The Kawasaki rider went out on lap three but Michael was overhauled by Peter Hickman only for the KMR Kawasaki rider also to retire, this time at Union Mills on the fourth and final lap. Up into third with just the final 37.73 miles to negotiate, Michael really flew on the final lap and with a speed of 120.946mph, his best in the class, he claimed yet another TT podium.
Michael Rutter: “I had a bit of a sleepless night before today’s TT Zero race as there was a lot of pressure on Lee and myself to not only win but also record the first 120mph+ lap. It had been a tough week in practice with a few technical issues but the team never stopped working, flying new parts in from Japan and all sorts and the quicker you go, the more challenges you encounter.”
“It’s a beautiful bike and even though we only got one lap of practice, when we thought we’d get five, I was delighted to get the win. There was no time to celebrate though as I was straight back out on the Lightweight bike and although I missed a few gears early on, I tried to keep the revs down and really got my head down on the last lap. I did my best ever lap on the Paton and although a few lads went out, the race is all about finishing and two podiums in one day is something to be very happy about.”
Gary Johnson and the RAF Regular & Reserve team claimed their second top ten finish at the 2018 Isle of Man TT Races with the Lincolnshire rider taking a good eighth place in Wednesday’s Supersport 600cc race.
With superb conditions on the island, the four-lap race got underway at 10.45am and a good start by Gary saw him put in an opening lap of 124.566mph on the 675cc Triumph, which put him in eighth place, less than two seconds behind Josh Brookes but only eight tenths of a second ahead of Derek McGee.
Second time around the 37.73-mile Mountain Course, a better lap of 125.332mph enabled Gary to maintain his eighth place and although Brookes began to pull away from him, he extended his advantage over McGee to two seconds.
The Irishman managed to overhaul Gary on the third lap but he retired at Sarah’s Cottage on the fourth and final lap and with another lap in excess of 125mph, 125.122mph, Gary moved back up to eighth which was where he finished for his second top eight finish of the week thus winning his second silver replica.
The 37-year old had been due to contest the afternoon’s Lightweight race, also over four laps, but problems in practice meant he had to withdraw from the race, a disappointment for all concerned.
Gary Johnson: “We made some changes prior to the race, including changing the gearing, in the hope we could push on up the leaderboard, and I was pushing hard from the start. The bike still wasn’t pulling the gearing like it should have done though and I was down the order a little bit, battling for seventh and eighth. I felt like I was riding well though, hitting all my apexes, so it was a shame I was only in the 125mph bracket as I don’t think that’s the bikes’ full capability.”
“I was losing drive a little bit out of the corners and whilst I could stick with the riders in front of me through the fast, flowing stuff when we got to the lower gear corners, they were just pulling away. That all adds up over the course of a lap but we finished the race and I’m satisfied that I put 100% effort in from start to finish and full credit should go to the team as they’ve never stopped working from the moment we got here.”
Lee Hardy, Team Owner: “I’m happy Gary got another top ten finish under his belt today and although we never got to see the Triumph before we got here – which was a shame as we could have arrived in a better place – it’s another finish and another silver replica to add to Gary’s collection.”
“The bike’s been struggling a bit for power and hasn’t quite been performing as it should but we can’t grumble with eighth place and laps in excess of 125mph in what, as always, was a very competitive race. The team did a great pit stop so full credit to them as well.”
Derek McGee gave IEG/KMR Kawasaki a superb podium finish in Wednesday afternoon’s Lightweight race at the Isle of Man TT Races with the Mullingar rider finishing in a brilliant second place.
Contesting just his third TT meeting, McGee had showed good pace in practice whilst he’d also enjoyed some good finishes in the Superbike and Supersport races which set him up nicely for the four-lap Lightweight race where he was back on board Ryan Farquhar’s IEG/KMR Kawasaki.
Hoping to challenge for a podium finish, McGee exceeded all expectations and, instead, was disputing the race win with Ivan Lintin and Michael Dunlop from the word go, his opening lap of 120.984mph being inside the old lap record and putting him in second place, 5.7s behind race leader Lintin.
It was all change on lap two when Lintin, who’d extended his lead to ten seconds over the Mountain, retired at Bedstead and as the riders came into their solitary pit stop, it was Dunlop who now led Derek by four seconds, the latter having improved his lap speed to a superb 121.698mph.
However, the IEG/KMR Kawasaki team did a superb job in the pits and as the riders swept through Glen Helen on lap three, Derek now led Dunlop by 3.1s. Dunlop had to call upon all his Mountain Course experience to reel in McGee and by Ramsey Hairpin, he’d brought the gap down to a miniscule 0.3s.
It needed a lap record from Dunlop on the fourth and final lap to finally see off Derek’s challenge but with another lap in excess of 121mph, 121.334mph, the Southern Irishman took his maiden TT podium in fantastic style to give former racer Farquhar his first TT podium since Conor Cummins finished third in the same race in 2013.
Unfortunately, there was disappointment for Ryan’s three other riders with David Johnson (broken fairing bracket) and Danny Webb (broken clutch) going out on the opening lap and Peter Hickman cruelly being forced to retire from third at the beginning of the fourth lap.
Derek McGee: “To be honest, I’m speechless and lost for words! I didn’t know what to expect at the TT this year but the KMR lads have been working incredibly hard and I thought a podium position may have been a possibility if everything came together and it’s taken a lot of late nights from the boys in the team to get the bike ready. The only pit board I had was at the Gooseneck so I didn’t realise I was leading until I saw my board there and I thought Michael must have gone out!”
“An unbelievable pit stop put me in that position and we knew the tank didn’t need to be brimmed so we were in and out in a flash. Having missed a year, I wasn’t sure how this year’s TT would go for me but it’s been great so far and to be sitting here now as a podium finisher is simply brilliant. I’ve got to say a big thanks to Ryan and his team as they’ve been brilliant throughout.”
Ryan Farquhar, Team Owner: “Today’s result is unreal but I said at the North West 200 that Derek could have won there had it not been for bike trouble. We’ve had terrible issues all fortnight with the camshafts wearing out and at one stage I wasn’t sure if I’d have any bikes out on the grid. We had to do a lot of work to get them ready and whilst I’m gutted for Danny, Davo and, especially, Pete, I couldn’t be happier for Derek.”
“He’s been riding brilliantly in all classes and I think a lot more people are going to be hearing about him in the future. He’s done a superb job so with his second place here and Jeremy McWilliams’ two runner-up spots at the North West 200, it’s nice to have our hard work rewarded. A massive thank you to all the team who have worked so hard and, of course, to all the sponsors who have made it all possible.”
Ivan Lintin and the Dafabet Devitt Racing team endured mixed fortunes on Wednesday at the Isle of Man TT Races with a fine tenth place in the morning’s Supersport 600cc race offset by a retirement on lap two – when leading – in the afternoon’s Lightweight race.
Having set the second fastest time in Lightweight practice on his ER6 650cc Kawasaki, Ivan and the team were hoping to repeat their victories of 2015 and 2016 and the four-lap race started well as he swept through Glen Helen just half a second behind surprise leader Derek McGee.
However, by the time they’d reached Ramsey Hairpin for the first time, Ivan had turned the deficit into a 2.9s advantage and as he completed the lap, he broke the old lap record with a superb lap of 121.603mph. That gave him a 5.7s lead over new second placed rider Michael Dunlop.
Lap two saw Ivan extend his lead and he looked set for a 122mph+ lap when he reached Cronk ny Mona, less than two miles from the start and finish, as his lead had gone out to almost ten seconds. Unfortunately, as he went round the next corner, Bedstead, the bike ground to a halt and his race was over.
Earlier in the day though, he’d taken his fourth top ten finish of the week when he finished in tenth place in the second Supersport 600cc race. An opening lap of 123.185mph put him into 12th place and this became 11th at half race distance with an improved speed of 124.506mph on the Kawasaki ZX-6R.
Aided by the fastest pit stop of all the teams, Ivan got out ahead of James Cowton and although the Yorkshire rider caught him back up on the final lap, a speed of 124.913mph – Ivan’s best ever lap on a 600cc machine – elevated him to tenth place at the chequered flag.
Ivan Lintin: “Obviously, I’m disappointed with the outcome of the Lightweight race as I was really hopeful of making it a hat-trick of wins. The game plan of getting my head down at the start and breaking Michael (Dunlop) was going reasonably well and after getting a signal saying ‘P2’ at Sulby Bridge on the first lap, I got cracking and although Michael went quicker on the last lap, I broke the lap record from a standard start, which was very pleasing.”
“I kept pulling away on the second lap, which isn’t something you do very often to Michael but coming into Bedstead, the bike ground to a halt and I had to take to the kerb to bring the bike under control. It was a real shame but the morning’s Supersport went very well and after James caught me early on, I hooked on to the back of him. The team did a great job at the pit stop and although James caught me up again on the last lap, we had a good ride round together and I was pleased with another top ten finish and another personal best lap.”
Ben Constable, Team Co-Owner: “It’s definitely been a day of two halves and it started really well with another top ten finish for Ivan in the Supersport race and another personal best lap too. Four top ten finishes from the first four races was simply superb and we had really high hopes for the Lightweight race where we were going for our fourth win and Ivan his third.”
“He knew what he had to do and he broke the field with a near 10s lead after almost two laps. Lap two would have been 122mph+ for sure and we knew we’d be able to get him in and out of the pits in double-quick time but it wasn’t to be. Unfortunately, that’s the nature of the class and when you’re at the top end of the field, the margins are fine. Hopefully, we can finish the week on a high and get back into the top ten in the Senior.”
Michael Dunlop took a record breaking win in the Bennetts Lightweight TT on Wednesday afternoon at the Isle of Man TT Races fuelled by Monster Energy with the Paton rider smashing both the lap and race records on his way to his 18th TT win.
Despite a relatively steady start, Dunlop took advantage of early leader Ivan Lintin’s retirement at Bedstead on lap two and with a new lap record of 122.750mph, he came home 14.6s clear of Derek McGee and Michael Rutter. McGee second place was his first TT podium. Dunlop beat the old race record by over a minute.
McGee led at Glen Helen on the opening lap with the Irishman flying on the KMR Kawasaki although it was close with his lead over Lintin just half a second. Dunlop was 1.6s back in third with Stefano Bonetti, James Cowton and Rutter slotted into fourth, fifth and sixth.
By Ballaugh, Lintin had nosed ahead by 0.8s but one man in trouble was David Johnson, the Australian stopping to make adjustments to his KMR Kawasaki at Douglas Road Corner. By Ramsey Lintind was 2.9s clear of new second placed rider Dunlop as McGee slipped back to third albeit only 0.3s. Bonetti, Cowton and Rutter continued to fill fourth to sixth place positions.
Johnson retired at Sulby Bridge but a new lap record of 121.603mph gave Lintin a 5.7s lead over McGee who was continuing to excel and was also inside the old lap record. Dunlop was only a further second behind in third as Bonetti, Cowton and Rutter remained in fourth to sixth.
Second time around Lintin still led at Glen Helen by six seconds but Dunlop had got back up into second with McGee now a second back in third. Bonetti was over 25s adrift in fourth but Rutter had moved ahead of Cowton by a tenth of a second to make it three Patons in the top five.
Coming into the pits at the end of the second lap, half race distance, and there was drama as it was Dunlop who led with another new lap record of 122.257mph. Lintin went through Cronk ny Mona but retired at Bedstead and that promoted McGee up to second, only four seconds behind Dunlop, with Cowton now third.
Rutter was up to fourth but he was coming under pressure from Peter Hickman and Bonetti as just 0.3s covered the trio. Daniel Cooper, Ian Lougher, Michael Sweeney and Joey Thompson now completed the top ten.
There was a change after the pit stop with McGee’s team doing a great job on the fuel and he led Dunlop by 3.1s at Glen Helen on lap three. There were changes further back too with Cowton going out at Crosby and Hickman made it two KMR Kawasaki’s in the top three as he overhauled Rutter.
Dunlop called on all his extra experience around the Mountain Course though and by Ramsey, he was back in the lead by 1.2s but McGee’s excellent ride saw him slash the gap to just half a second at the Bungalow. Hickman appeared to be in control of third as he extended his advantage over Rutter to 10.6s. Cooper was out though having retired at Glen Duff.
Going into the fourth and final lap and Dunlop had responded with the margin to McGee having crept out again to 1.6s and the Ulsterman wasn’t to be denied as he came home for his 18th TT win and third of the week.
McGee was delighted with his maiden TT rostrum but team-mate Hickman went out at Union Mills on the final lap and that promoted Rutter up to third for his 17th TT podium and with Bonetti finishing fourth and Thompson in fifth, four Patons finished in the top five.
Michael Sweeney, Ian Lougher, Adam McLean, Julian Trummer and Dominic Herbertson completed the top ten.