The outright lap record for the Classictt crept up to 127.496mph in the Superbike event, not far short of the Supersport standard for thett proper. The show-stopping lap of 17min 45.348sec came from Bruce Anstey on the EX-GPYZR500, but it still wasn’t enough to secure him the honours in what was the finale to the classic road race aspect of the Isle of Man’s Festival of Motorcycling. The honours ultimately went to Dean Harrison on the Silicone Engineering ZXR Kawasaki. Harrison was on the pace from the word go and had a three-second advantage over Michael Dunlop’steam Classic Racing Suzuki at Glen Helen, with Anstey nine tenths behind in third. Anstey had edged ahead of Dunlop by Ballaugh, while Harrison had established a 6.9s advantage by Ramsey Hairpin. A standing start average speed of 126.367mph was the only sub-18 minute opener, giving Harrison a 5.9s advantage over Anstey, with Horst Saiger up to third on the Greenall Racing Kawasaki at another 14s. Michael Dunlop rounded off a disappointing meeting for him (Gilera lap apart) with another retirement on the bike originally earmarked for Lee Johnston.the issue was possibly ECU management system-related. Jamie Coward had moved up to fourth on the Mistral Racing Kawasaki, with Australian David Johnson and Lincolnshire’s Gary Johnson flying the Suzuki flag in fifth and sixth. Such was the standard of riders and machinery that the top 13 lapped in less than 19 minutes from a standing start. James Hillier retired the Oxford Products 888 Ducati from 13th spot at Ballacraine on lap two, where Coward’s Kawasaki was reported to be smoking heavily. He later retired with what was reported to be a broken fuel pipe. Harrison was clocked at more than 127mph from Ballaugh-to-ballaugh, indeed his lap two average was a record of 127.212mph – 1.8s faster than Anstey whose record of 126.995mph lasted less than the time it took to write the figures down. Heading into the pits, Harrison had an advantage of 9.6s over the Kiwi, with Austrian Saiger leading the chasing pack in third from the two Johnsons, Ivan Lintin and Josh Brookes, whose lap of 122.926mph on the Rotary Norton was getting close to ‘Hizzy pace’ from the 1992 Seniortt. Back then, Hislop’s fastest lap on the Abus Locks-sponsored Rotary was 123.50mph in an all-out final lap attempt to see off Carl Fogarty’s Owo1yamaha, but the lap two equivalent of 18m 23.4s was only one-and-a-half seconds faster than Brookes on the 25-year-old Advanced Performance Coatings machine. Harrison eked out more time in the pits as Anstey’s thirstier two-stroke took on more fuel, so at Ramsey on lap three the lead had stretched to 30.279sec, with Bruce in turn 34.6s up on Saiger. There was a groan of disappointment when Brookes’s gallant ride on the Norton came to an end at Glentramman. Minutes later, Gary Johnson’s teamyork Suzuki stopped at the 27th Milestone. Additionally, there were problems for Ivan Lintin, whose Kraus Racing Kawasaki was placed sixth at half-distance. The reshuffle elevated Manxmen Dan Kneen and Conor Cummins to fifth and sixth, but out in front, the margin between Harrison and Anstey was 19 seconds. The lead peaked at 29 seconds before Harrison eased up and Anstey quickened up in the final half lap. It was back down to 22.4s at Ramsey Hairpin, then 18.7s at Cronk-ny-mona, but Harrison had the race under control and crossed the line with a winning margin of 16 seconds. Anstey later admitted that when he realised the race win was lost he instead set his sights on the lap record, and he duly achieved that with his time of 17:45.348.This was almost six seconds faster than Michael Dunlop’s record of 12 months earlier and 2.4 seconds better than Harrison had set on lap two of this year’s race. But the day’s honours and a new race record went to the latter man. “I got stuck in at the start and got an early board with P1 +8. When it got to 29 seconds I cruised the last lap,” said Dean after his second Classictt success. “I felt a bit under the weather initially.there were a few damp patches so I took things cautiously.the boys were very slick in the pit stop, so thanks to the team and everyone who waved me on out on the course.” His race record was 26.827 seconds quicker than Dunlop’s previous one. Anstey had to take consolation from the outright lap record, but the margin of 16.08 seconds was tight considering that he’d spent an estimated extra 15 seconds than his rival in the pits. “The bike ran superbly all week, so I have no complaints,” said Bruce. “I was perhaps too cautious on lap one, but there was a lot of cement dust around, in addition to a few damp patches.” Horst Saiger was delighted with his first podium at either thett or Classictt, indeed he said he was: “Behind the Moon!” “I don’t know what that means,” he confided. “This bike is more than good. I ride it faster and faster, and yet I am completely in control.” His only disappointment was that he missed a 125mph lap. “When Dean passed me I tried to keep with him, but knew I had to slow down otherwise I would end up in hospital again.” Davo Johnson had a good solid race to finish fourth on the No1 platedteamyork Suzuki, while Dan Kneen (Mistral Kawasaki) and Conor Cummins (Padgett’s Owo1yamaha) secured fifth and sixth having been 17th and 12th respectively at the end of lap one. The leading privateer was seasonedtt campaigner Dan Stewart of Barrow, on the Wilcock Consulting Kawasaki in 11th spot. “That was unexpected,” he said. “It’s nice to be turned into the winners’ enclosure for the first time after 17 years of trying.”
Ian Lougher gets closeto the spectators on Harold Leece’s hedgeatthe seventh milestone, on his wayto the runner-upspot in the Lightweight 250cc race. (Main picture) Michael Rutter leaves the town of Ramsey and the rest of the field behind in the Junior race on the Ripley Land Honda.