McGuinness Nabs 20th Isle Of Man Victory
ISLE OF MAN – John McGuinness took his 20th Isle of Man TT race victory on Friday when he won the Pokerstars Senior race by 10 seconds from team-mate Michael Dunlop.
Bruce Anstey took third place, and set the fastest lap of the race at 131.531 mph as he got the better of Lightweight TT race winner James Hillier by .978s on the final run down the Mountain.
After the initial race was red flagged due to an incident at Bray Hill involving rider Jonathan Howarth in which ten spectators were injured, the race got underway at 4:30 p.m. and the first few laps were nothing short of superb as the gaps between the leading riders were minimal.
It was Gary Johnson who grabbed the lead at Glen Helen by half a second from William Dunlop with Michael Dunlop just .05-second further back. Michael Rutter slotted into fourth as McGuinness found himself down in fifth.
It was all change at Ramsey though as Michael Dunlop hit the front for the first time, Johnson now second and McGuinness third. At the end of the lap, the order was still with the first five riders all over 130mph and only seven seconds between them, Dunlop leading from McGuinness, Johnson, Rutter and Guy Martin.
McGuinness began to make his move on the second lap and, after edging ahead by just five hundredths of a second at Ballaugh, he completed his second lap at 131.272 mph to open up a 2.4 second lead. Dunlop was 4.8 seconds ahead of Martin with Bruce Anstey up to fourth and ahead of Rutter as Johnson was forced to retire with a broken foot assembly.
Another slick pit stop by McGuinness’ Honda TT Legends crew saw him leave the pits with a bigger lead but by Glen Helen the gap was down to half a second although McGuinness had doubled this by Ramsey. It was nip and tuck all the way and at half race distance there was two seconds between the duo, Anstey in third ahead of Martin and Hillier, who had relegated Rutter to sixth.
On the fourth lap, McGuiness appeared to have broken Dunlop slightly and, for the first time, his lead increased the whole way round. Leading on the road with Hillier right in his wheeltracks, the pair lapped at over 131mph as they came into their second pit stop and whilst it allowed McGuinness to go seven seconds clear of Dunlop, it also allowed Hillier to not only move up to fourth but also close up on Anstey.