Following one of the most challenging practice weeks for competitors in history, 2018 Classic TT race action got underway today at just after 1 PM, as the Senior 500 machines took centre stage.
Pre race favourite John McGuinness first off down on Bray Hill, was quickly into the groove slotting into an eight second plus lead at Glen Helen, which soon extended to 18 seconds at Ballaugh Bridge.
Behind McGuinness, Maria Costello MBE, Jamie Coward and Lee Johnston were all closely matched in the battle for second, whilst notable early retirements included Alan Oversby, Ian Lougher, John Barton and Olie Linsdell.
Come the completion of lap 1, Team Winfield’s McGuinness held a 38 second plus advantage over Jamie Coward, who in turn was only 1.8 clear of Maria Costello MBE.
Onto lap 2 and McGuinness with the bit firmly between his teeth, section by section increased his strangle hold on the race.
46 seconds clear at Glen Helen, by the time he approached the start line at the end of lap 2, his race lead stood at over a minute.
Photo by Nick Wheeler
From here the 23 times TT winner, kept up a consistent, first class pace to ultimately clinch race honours by 1 minute 13.022 seconds.
It’s his second Bennetts Senior race crown, plus overall his 25th Mountain Course triumph.
Photo by Nick Wheeler
The battle for second was won by Hebden Bridge’s Jamie Coward on the Ted Woof, Craven Manx Norton, who in my opinion produced the ride of the race, given the obvious power advantage of the front running Paton’s.
Finalising the rostrum finishers was Davies Motorsport’s Lee Johnston, who finished just over 25 seconds behind twice TT Privateers championship runner up, Coward.
With Maria Costello MBE dropping out of contention of lap 3, placing’s fourth and fifth went the way of Yesteryear racing stalwart Chris Swallow and Izzard Racing’s Michael Russell.
Rounding out the top ten finishers were IRRC Superbike champion Danny Webb, James Hillier, Chris McGahan, Richard Wilson and York’s Joe Thompson.
Others quietly impressing in record very respectable results included Will Loder 15th, Josh Daley 17th, Keith Dixon 18th and event debutant David Tetley 20th.
In total just 26 riders finished a race which had as predicted by many a high attrition rate, with almost half of the 49 rider start list not finishing.
Bennetts Senior Classic TT race results, are as follows:
1 John McGuinness
2 Jamie Coward
3 Lee Johnston
4 Chris Swallow
5 Michael Russell
6 Danny Webb
7 James Hillier
8 Chris McGahan
9 Richard Wilson
10 Joe Thompson
11 Phil McGurk
12 Dave Madsen Mygdal
13 Peter Boast
14 Hefyn Owen
15 Will Loder
16 Meredydd Owen
17 Josh Daley
18 Keith Dixon
19 Keith Clarke
20 David Tetley
21 Colin Stockdale
22 Jeff Smith
23 Leon Murphy
24 Lee Jennings
25 Ian Bainbridge
26 Grant Sellars
Words by Stevie Rial