Prior to the start of the Superbike Classic TT, a lot of the attention was on Michael Dunlop on the Team Classic Suzuki, to see if he could make it back to back victories today on the Mountain Course.
His race got off to the best possible start at Glen Helen as he surged into race lead, leading James Hillier in second by 2.432 seconds with Dean Harrison just 0.8 back on the Silicone Engineering Racing ZXR 750 Kawasaki.
At Ballaugh Bridge the race lead was up almost four seconds, whilst Harrison moved to within just 0.415 of Hillier in second place.
By Ramsey Hairpin Harrison was into second as Dunlop stretched his race lead to 5.865 seconds, Dan Kneen, Ivan Lintin and Gary Johnson where all closely matched in holding fourth, fifth and sixth positions.
Steve Mercer holding the number one plate on the Mistral Racing ZXR 750 Kawasaki, was an early retirement as was Matthew Rees.
Over the mountain Dunlop got the hammer down and by Cronk Ny Mona was now almost seven seconds clear of nearest challenger Harrison.
As he crossed the line to complete lap one, Dunlop held a 7.3 second over Harrison with Hillier third 5.6 clear of Dan Kneen, who was soon forced into retirement.
This promoted Ivan Lintin into fourth, Gary Johnson into fifth and Bruce Anstey on the exotic Valvoline Racing by Padgetts Motorcycles YZR 500 Yamaha into sixth.
Lap two began with Dunlop moving almost 11 seconds clear at Glen Helen, then by Ballaugh Bridge holding a 13.665 advantage over Silicone Engineering Racing’s Harrison.
Hillier maintaining third place was over 11 seconds of Lintin in fourth who in turn was over 7.7 in front of Michael Rutter, who moved into fifth place on the Team Winfield Harris Yamaha.
Photo by Nick Wheeler
The rest of lap two would see race leader Dunlop, building and building to something very special, a new class lap record.
As he entered the pits at the finalisation of the second lap, it was announced that his average speed from this lap, was a staggering 126.808 mph, a new lap record for Superbike Classic TT machinery.
This momentous feat propelled him to an increased race lead of 18.361 seconds over Dean Harrison, who was also a record breaker in setting the quickest ever lap on a 750 machine, lapping at 125.512 mph.
James Hillier remained in third place, Ivan Lintin was fourth by coming under increasing pressure from Michael Rutter.
There was spades of drama in the pit stops as Harrison got Dunlop’s race lead down to just ten seconds, whilst Rutter moved into fourth place.
Then by the first timing point on lap three at Glen Helen, the race lead was cut down to 2.369 as Harrison was on a charge in his bid to secure a third Classic TT victory.
Race leader Dunlop steadied the ship at Ballaugh Bridge increasing his lead to five seconds, whilst James Hillier was still right in the mix at the front of the field, overall just fifteen seconds behind.
Bruce Anstey was into fifth place as Mistral Racing’s Jamie Coward, completed the top six.
Remaining timing points on lap three, all indicated one thing Michael Dunlop was back in the groove with the Team Classic Suzuki, by Cronk Ny Mona, his advantage out front was 12.61 seconds.
Photo by Nick Wheeler
As the penultimate lap of the race concluded, his race lead over Harrison in second place, stood at 13.914 seconds.
Hillier maintained third position 33 seconds clear of Rutter in fourth, Anstey held fifth position with Coward in sixth, the sole Mistral Racing competitor left in the race.
Lap four would see Dunlop by Ramsey leading by 18 seconds, from here as he has multiple times, he kept his cool, kept up an ultra consistent pace, to take the chequered flag at the end of lap four, to win the 2016 Superbike Classic TT, in race record breaking fashion.
It’s his fourth victory at the Classic TT Races, plus his third with Team Classic Suzuki.
Dean Harrison in second place, who wrapped up his fifth podium finish on the Mountain Course in 2016, described his race as faultless and was full of praise for the Silicone Engineering Racing team.
James Hillier wrapped up the podium finishers, following a highly accomplished display on the Greenall Racing ZXR 750 Kawasaki.
Michael Rutter secured fourth, Jamie Coward was fifth, Horst Saiger finished an excellent sixth as William Dunlop took the Herheim Racing ZXR 750 Kawasaki to seventh place.
Photo by Nick Wheeler
Rounding out the top ten finishers was Conor Cummins, Gary Johnson and Danny Webb.
Ivan Lintin was a late retirement at Signpost Corner, incredibly bad luck for the two times Lightweight TT winner.
Alex Pickett 11th piloting the DP Coldplaning/TC Racing ZXR 750 Kawasaki, finished the leading privateer, a great accomplishment for the up and coming pure road racer from Australia.
Photo by Jim Gibson
Now an 18 times winner around the Mountain Course, we’ve all run out of superlatives to describe Michael Dunlop’s performances this year on the Isle of Man.
As in the Pokerstars Senior TT, today’s Superbike Classic TT saw him set new lap and race records in his own unique style.
Classic TT Races – Superbike Race Results:
1 Michael Dunlop
2 Dean Harrison
3 James Hillier
4 Michael Rutter
5 Jamie Coward
6 Horst Saiger
7 William Dunlop
8 Conor Cummins
9 Gary Johnson
10 Danny Webb
11 Alex Pickett
12 Timothee Monot
13 Kiaran Hankin
14 Ryan Kneen
15 Dave Hewson
16 Dennis Booth
17 David Sellers
18 Dave Madsen Mygdal
19 Ben Wylie
20 Dan Stewart
21 Dan Hegarty
22 Nick Jefferies
23 Richard Wilson
24 Adrian Harrison
25 Graham Ward
26 James Caswell
27 Wayne Axon
28 Neal Champion
29 Alan Bud Jackson
30 Colin Croft
31 Martin Harrison
32 Alec Whitwell
33 Ian Gardner
34 Bob Farrington
35 Paul Wilson
36 Peter Creer
37 Jack Hunter
38 Steven Dobbie
Words by Stevie Rial