Exemplary Dunlop Obtains Fifth Superbike TT Title

Exemplary Dunlop Obtains Fifth Superbike TT Title
If anything compared to yesterday, the weather pre the hugely awaited RST Superbike race, was warmer, brighter, sunnier.

Would the pace as on Saturday be record breaking, history making?

At 2:40 PM, race action opened with C&L Fairburn Properties by Jackson Racing’s David Johnson first away.

Lap 1:

At the first timing sector, Glen Helen, Michael Dunlop led Dean Harrison by just 0.145 of a second, Davey Todd was third 1.281 further back with Peter Hickman a surprising fourth.

Dunlop took almost three seconds out of Harrison at Ballaugh Bridge, to move 3.135 seconds clear, Todd, Hickman remained third, fourth.

Before Ramsey Hairpin beckoned, Hawk Racing’s Dunlop went through the Sulby speed trap at 200.083 mph.

Hickman jumped up to third at Ramsey Hairpin but out-front Dunlop was steadily pulling away.

Onto the Bungalow and Hickman, Todd traded positions whilst Dunlop, Harrison we’re now separated by 5.416 seconds.

As lap one concluded, Dunlop setting a new Superbike lap record (134.519), led Harrison by just over six seconds.

Hickman reoccupied third ahead of Todd with LAMI OMG Racing’s James Hillier, Jamie Coward wrapping up lap 1 top six.

Lap 2:

On record breaking pace on the run to Glen Helen, Dunlop now second on the road, slightly increased his race-lead to 7.17 seconds.

Fast forward to Ramsey Hairpin and 10.119 covered pace setters Dunlop and Harrison.

Dunlop went onto record another new Superbike lap record (135.046).

Harrison averaging 133.938 mph, steadfastly occupied second but was now 14.6 in arrears.

Hickman suffering from a quick-shifter issue, Duke Road Race Rankings Champion Todd remained third, fourth respectively with Hillier, Coward also keeping lap one positions of fifth and sixth.

Lap 3:

Post opening pit-stops, 13.226 separated Dunlop and Harrison at Glen Helen.

14.562 was Dunlop’s lead at Ballaugh Bridge whilst outright lap record holder Hickman, began to challenge Harrison for second.

Hickman dropped time to Harrison at the Bungalow, despite ultra precise passes on Coward and Hillier.

Dunlop was almost 19 seconds to the good as lap four dawned.

Five seconds covered second, place third place holders Harrison, Hickman.

Davey Todd became the highest profile race retirement, retiring at the pits.

Lap 4:

There weren’t any major changes, drama emerging across lap four.

For race leader Dunlop, his relentless pursuit towards SBK glory continued, enjoying heading in for his second scheduled pit-stop, a plus 22 seconds’ lead.

Third place Hickman, was 6.49 behind esteemed Mountain Course rival Harrison.

Fifth place carrier Jamie Coward, bagged a new personal best lap speed of 131.036 mph.

Twice British Superbike Champion, Monster Energy by FHO Racing’s Josh Brookes seventh, was 24.527 behind 23 times TT winner, Honda Racing UK’s McGuinness MBE.

Lap 5:

Rolling off his pace a touch, Harrison reduced on lap five, Dunlop’s advantage to 17.297 seconds.

It did appear though that the Ballymoney racer was controlling his speed, doing what he had to do.

23 TT triumphs looming, equalling sixth place holder John McGuinness MBE?

Fastest through the Sulby speed trap, Hickman in third, moved to within only 2.433 of Harrison.

1 minute 34.951 further back, Leading Yamaha runner Hillier kept fourth, going onto the sixth and final lap, just past eight seconds ahead of Hebden Bridge’s Coward.

Lap 6:

Keeping a cool, calm temperament out front, in spite of increased pace from an absolutely flying Peter Hickman, determined Dean Harrison, Michael Dunlop successfully clinched TT victory number 23.

Now the joint second most successful TT racer in history, he’s also now a five-time Superbike TT Champion and new Superbike race record holder.

Taking second behind the new race record holder after a blistering last lap of 135.445 mph, a new Superbike lap record, almost a new outright lap record, was nine times TT winner Hickman.

Hickman finished 9.8 in front of DAO Racing’s Harrison with Hillier, Coward gaining fourth, fifth place finishes.

McGuinness MBE took sixth, quickest Australian TT racer in history Brookes was seventh with eighth going to new 130 Mph Club member Dominic Herbertson.

Michael Rutter, second new 130 Mph Club member Team Classic Suzuki’s Shaun Anderson finalised the first ten finishers.

12th place finisher Jim Hind, set an impressive last lap speed of 129.439 mph.

Others attaining major personal best lap speeds included Michael Browne (15th), Paul Jordan (16th), Julian Trummer (18th), Michael Evans (19th).

TT 2023 – RST Superbike Race Result:

1st – Michael Dunlop

2nd – Peter Hickman

3rd – Dean Harrison

4th – James Hillier

5th – Jamie Coward

6th – John McGuinness MBE

7th – Josh Brookes

8th – Dominic Herbertson

9th – Michael Rutter

10th – Shaun Anderson

11th – David Johnson

12th – Jim Hind

13th – Phil Crowe

14th – Brian McCormack

15th – Michael Browne

16th – Paul Jordan

17th – Sam West

18th – Julian Trummer

19th – Michael Evans

20th – Stephen Smith

21st – Mark Parrett

22nd – Stefano Bonetti

23rd – Richard Wilson

24th – Forest Dunn

25th – Michael Russell

26th – Raul Torras Martinez

27th – AJ Venter

28th – Mark Goodings

29th – Rhys Hardisty

30th – James Chawke

31st – Barry Furber

32nd – Dave Hewson

33rd – Chris Sarbora

34th – Xavier Denis

35th – Erno Kostamo

Photo credit: Mark Corlett, Nick Wheeler

Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou
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