With ever improving conditions, an ambitious, hungry, ultra talented group of racers ready to contend for class honours, the stage was set for a quite enthralling, compelling Dunlop Lightweight Classic TT.
Powering into an early lead at Glen Helen on lap 1 was Adam McLean. Highly rated rising star McLean held a minor 0.942 advantage over Ian Lougher, whilst third placed Lee Johnston was only half s second in front of good friend Dean Harrison.
Positions remained unchanged at Ballaugh Bridge and Ramsey Hairpin, but by the Bungalow Padgetts Johnston overhauled ten time TT winner Lougher for second, with two stroke newcomer Harrison dropping 15 seconds behind his Laylaw Racing team mate.
As the front runners ventured over the mountain, which for once greeted racers this week with good visibility, Ulster GP Super Twins victor McLean was maintaining a plus 3.5 second advantage over fellow countryman Johnston.
Come the conclusion of lap 1, McLean’s race lead stood at 4.169 over Johnston, with reigning race runner up Lougher in third just a further 3.3 behind.
Onto lap 2 and McLean’s lead dramatically diminished to under a second, as six times International road race winner Johnston started to hit the sweet spot with the Padgetts Honda.
Photo by Nick Wheeler
By Ballaugh Bridge, Johnston had moved into race lead, holding a 1.84 second advantage which soon grew to over three seconds at Ramsey Hairpin.
Former Irish road race 125/Moto 3 champion McLean wasn’t giving up though, and by Cronk Ny Mona he was only 2.416 behind Johnston.
Entering the pits, for his scheduled pit stop McLean had chipped away a touch more at Johnston’s lead, with just 1.7 seconds separating them.
After pit lane action, Johnston was starting to come under more pressure from McLean, as just 0.2 off a second was all that separated them at Glen Helen on lap 3.
Photo by Mark Corlett
The happy go lucky, every cheerful racer soon though got the hammer down, moving 4.6 clear at Ballaugh Bridge, before moving 9 seconds clear at Ramsey Hairpin.
From here McLean’s tenacious challenge effectively ended as Johnston maintained his form and some, to ultimately clinch Dunlop Lightweight Classic honours by just over 29 seconds.
It’s General Lee’s second Classic TT triumph, whilst for plucky runner up McLean it’s a well deserved first Mountain Course podium finish.
Photo by Nick Wheeler
Ian Lougher finalised the podium finishers in front of team mate Dean Harrison, whilst a closely contested battle for fifth went the way of Team ILR mainstay Joe Thompson, largely thanks to his JRC Racing Honda’s reliability.
Rikki McGovern banked an excellent sixth place finish, as Tom Snow, Stephen Ault, Adrian Morris and James Ford rounded out the first ten finishers.
Dunlop Lightweight Classic TT race results, are as follows:
1 Lee Johnston
2 Adam McLean
3 Ian Lougher
4 Dean Harrison
5 Joe Thompson
6 Rikki McGovern
7 Tom Snow
8 Stephen Ault
9 Adrian Morris
10 James Ford
11 Simon Hunt
12 Neal Champion
13 David Glover
14 Andrew Cowie
15 Chris Moore
16 Dave Madsen Mygdal
17 Andrew Davies
18 Colin Croft
19 Jamie O’Brien
20 James Tye
21 Mark Woods
Words by Stevie Rial