The tremendous weather that graced qualifying week, moved into the start of racing at TT 2023 as sun, blue skies, only the odd cloud transcended over Parc Ferme ahead of the Monster Energy Supersport opener. Fifty racers in total started the four-lap race, which was delayed by three hours due to a road traffic collision. Adelaide’s David Johnson, carrying the No.1 plate was first to make the descend down Bray Hill followed ten seconds later by Boyce Precision Engineering/Russell Racing’s Dean Harrison. Lap 1: Just over three seconds covered the top six at Glen Helen, with the initial pace set by triple TT winner Harrison, leading Michael Dunlop by only 0.550 of a second. At Ballaugh Bridge Dunlop grabbed the initiative, slotting into P1, moving 1.571 in front of Harrison with outright lap record holder Peter Hickman a further 1.883 seconds behind. By the Bungalow R6 Yamaha pilot Dunlop lead had extended to 4.493 seconds. Harrison now first on the road, was first to finish lap 1, going through at 127.643 mph. Soon after race leader Dunlop sped through Glencrutchery Road, averaging for lap 1, 128.305 mph – 17:38.632 seconds. 5.488 separated Dunlop and Harrison, Hickman maintained third with Jamie Coward, Davey Todd, James Hillier wrapping up the first six. Lap 2: 4 minutes 19.389 seconds, this was Dunlop’s sector time to Glen Helen, inside the existing Supersport lap record. 9.454 clear at Ballaugh Bridge, ‘Maverick’ went into don’t think just do mode, looking in the same form that took him yesterday to an unofficial lap record. Behind Dunlop, Harrison solidly kept second, Hickman stayed third, six seconds down on his respected rival. With scheduled pit stops beckoning, Dunlop’s lead by Ramsey Hairpin, grew to in excess of eleven seconds. Whilst a new outright class lap record, wasn’t quite attained, 112 times Irish road race winner Dunlop had boosted his grip on race proceedings, enjoying a 13.445 lead over Bradford’s Harrison. There was disappointment in the pits for next gen talent Jim Hind, WH Racing’s Julian Trummer who were handed thirty second pit-lane speeding penalties. Lap 3: Believe it or not Ducks encountered Milltown! One of the stranger aspects of this captivating Supersport encounter. Harrison nibbled a touch into Dunlop’s race lead at Glen Helen but across Ballaugh Bridge, Ramsey Hairpin, Bungalow timing sectors had lost more time to the Ballymoney racer. 17.528 seconds was Dunlop’s advantage as lap three finalised. Harrison second, started to come under pressure from nine times TT winner Hickman. Coward, King of The Roads Champion Todd, 2013 Lightweight class victor Hillier rounded out the top six behind Harrison, Hickman, now covered by a shade under four seconds. Seventh to tenth place holders were Paul Jordan, David Johnson, Rob Hodson and Bathams Racing’s Craig Neve. Lap 4: 16.4 seconds clear at Ballaugh Bridge, Dunlop was doing everything he had to do, as he homed in on a tenth Supersport TT success. Whilst Dunlop looked safe for TT win no.22, the race for second heated up with Hickman closing to within 1.122 seconds of Harrison. Notorious for his prowess over the mountain, Hickman took almost a second out of Harrison as final race chapters entered the horizon. Dunlop stylishly wrapped up TT triumph no.22 but who would finish second? Answer Hickman, topping Harrison by only 0.394 of a second, after recording the second quickest lap of the race (129.039). Twice TT Privateers Champion Coward took fourth, Todd was fifth, Hillier occupied sixth. Jordan, Johnson, Hodson, Hind concluded the top 10 leader board. Newcomers Ryan Cringle, Jorge Halliday, Jack Petrie placed 22nd, 37th, 39th respectively whilst others securing more than creditable results included Michal Dokoupil (14th), Joey Thompson (16th), Barry Furber (17th), Jonathan Goetschy (21st) and Stephen ‘Trevor’ Parsons (27th). TT 2023 – Monster Energy Supersport Race 1 Result: 1st – Michael Dunlop 2nd – Peter Hickman 3rd – Dean Harrison 4th – Jamie Coward 5th – Davey Todd 6th – James Hillier 7th – Paul Jordan 8th – David Johnson 9th – Rob Hodson 10th – Jim Hind 11th – Craig Neve 12th – Michael Evans 13th – Shaun Anderson 14th – Michal Dokoupil 15th – Brian McCormack 16th – Joey Thompson 17th – Barry Furber 18th – Pierre Yves Bian 19th – Stefano Bonetti 20th – Richard Wilson 21st – Jonathan Goetschy 22nd – Ryan Cringle 23rd – James Chawke 24th – Tom Weeden 25th – Julian Trummer 26th – Michael Russell 27th – Stephen Parsons 28th – Jonathan Perry 29th – Mark Parrett 30th – Forest Dunn 31st – AJ Venter 32nd – Amalric Blanc 33rd – Mark Goodings 34th – Martin Morris 35th – Xavier Denis 36th – Paul ‘Potchy’ Williams 37th – Jorge Halliday 38th – Paul Cassidy 39th – Jack Petrie 40th – David Brook 41st – Masayuki Yamanaka Photo credit: Mark Corlett, Nick Wheeler Words by Stevie Rial #dontletfearcontrolyou
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