There’s been countless record breaking, history making, incredible, unbelievable moments throughout the past decade of national, International road race competition but one moment in particular stands out in my opinion, the first sub 17 minute lap of the fabled, mythical Mountain Course.
Back in 2016 I wrote an article detailing what made the feat achieved by Michael Dunlop on the Hawk Racing BMW, so notable for road racing and two wheel motorsport worldwide.
The article reads as follows:
With near perfect conditions, for the RST Superbike race, many where predicting sub 17 minute laps.
Pace setters Hutchinson and Dunlop, where closely matched on the opening lap of the race, with not much in it between the S1000RR BMW mounted riders.
Photo by Rod Neill
Tyco BMW’s Hutchinson, was the first to cross the line at the end of lap 1, lapping at 132.892 mph, under John McGuinness previous lap record of 132.701 mph.
Hutchy’s new lap record, was soon surpassed by Dunlop on the Hawk Racing BMW, who lapped at a incredible 133.369 mph, which took 16 minutes 58.439 seconds, the first ever sub 17 minute lap of the magical Mountain Course.
You could visibly hear the noise from the crowd on the grandstand, at this iconic feat been achieved, thousands of spectators knew that they had witnessed a true moment of great sporting history.
The rest of the race, saw Dunlop set another new lap record on lap two, lapping at 133.393 mph, from here the rider nicknamed ‘Maverick’ pulled further and further away from Ian Hutchinson, to in the end wrap up race victory, by in excess of 19 seconds.
It was the sub 17 minute lap, that it’s fair to say proved the premier story of the six lap race.
After all the hype, attention and expectations prior to TT 2016, about whether this incredible feat would be achieved, it left everyone with a sense of I was there when it happened.
Words by Stevie Rial