Tuesday was a great day for Ian Hutchinson, who won both the Supersport 600cc TT and Superstock TT races at the 2009 Isle of Man TT on a pair of Honda Sportsbikes.
The weather on Tuesday mirrored Monday’s record-breaking day and all hopes were set on a repeat performance as riders rolled up to the line in the first TT of the day – the Relentless Supersport race for 600cc machines and nobody was disappointed.
Monday’s winner, John McGuiness, was well in the frame, as was another podium finisher, Guy Martin, still desperate for a win. However, the firm favorite was Michal Dunlop after setting some blistering practice lap times, setting an unofficial lap record into the bargain. Another safe bet looked to be Kiwi Bruce Anstey on the Relentless Suzuki by TAS Racing Machine, keen to make up for the disappointment caused by Monday’s early Superbike TT retirement.
Anstey actually won the Supersport race last year (2008), but was disqualified when it was found his machine had a technical infringement, although there was no suggestion of any cheating! (He subsequently went out and won later in the week to prove a point). Three US riders were listed as starters, but in the end only Jimmy Moore and Thomas Montano crossed the start line to head off down the infamous Bray Hill for the four-lap 150.92-mile race. Like every other starter their initial pace showed all meant business in the rescheduled race.
(top) Hydrex Honda rider Guy Martin fell in behind Hutchinson after initially leading with a record starting lap.
(middle) Bruce Anstey was in the lead after setting a new lap record on lap 2, however a failure of his lambda sensor forced him out of the race.
(bottom) Scotch rider Keith Amor slipped into third after Anstey dropped-out.
Certainly the commentary reflected this with Lap 1 leader, Guy Martin, being credited with a lap record from the standing start. He was followed by all the favored riders including Ian Hutchinson, a previous TT winner and another Honda mounted rider. Dunlop’s challenge never materialized, however, thanks to a blown engine early into the lap.
Anstey was in third and just five seconds down and it was clear that he had no intention of remaining there. No surprise then at the end of Lap 2 the Kiwi came in for his pit stop in the lead with a new lap record of 17.53.32, or 126.549 mph, which obviously included slowing for his pit!
It is not that long ago that 126-mph average was the sort of speed only attained by the big bikes. This event has only been going since 2005 and was conceived to replace the Junior TT traditionally for 350cc machines. Of all the classes it shows most graphically how motorcycle and tire technology is progressing.
Anstey had a quick stop and was away ahead of the pack, leading on the road and by the end of the third lap was still ahead of Ian Hutchinson by nine seconds with Martin down in third with Scotch rider Keith Amor, again Honda-mounted, in fourth. Plater and McGuiness seemed to have no answer for the leading trio in fifth and sixth respectively.
It certainly looked as though the Relentless-sponsored rider would for bring it home for the overall race sponsor with consummate ease. However, it was not to be when another electrical failure brought the machine to a halt at Brandywell on the homeward side of the mountain with just six miles to go. Somewhat ironic given Monday’s failure was a faulty fuel sensor!
So Hutchinson, Martin and Amor, all Honda-mounted, moved up a place and crossed the line and took the checkered flag without change to give Honda their 140th win with a clean sweep in their anniversary year. The added bonus was also a new race record for the Supersport Class.
(top) Jimmy Moore was the top finishing American in the Isle of Man Supersport TT.
(bottom) The other American finisher was Thomas Montano in 40th, who is also racing in the inaugural Electric Motorcycle TTXGP.
It later transpired that Martin had done most of the race with a blown head gasket, so was very fortunate to finish let alone get on the rostrum!
Jimmy Moore brought his 600 Yamaha/Ian Barnes racing machine home in 14th position to add a silver replica to add to his growing total of replicas. Fellow compatriot Thomas Montano mounted on a 600 Honda came home in 40th with a 115-mph average and sufficient to gain another Bronze replica for his collection.
This was followed by another practice session for the sidecars that are racing again tomorrow, Wednesday. Although this is a totally separate race it will count on an aggregate system for an overall sidecar victor.
After a short break history was made when 14 electric machines set off for a practice/qualifying lap of the course. These are the bikes that will take place in the inaugural TTXGP, to run on Friday morning. One of the first away was the Mission Motors machine ridden by Thomas Montano, one of several American entrants.
The most futuristic looking electric bike was definitely the MotoCzysz machine that was unveiled last night, but it was one of four that failed to make it back. Those riders that did reported massive support from around the course as well as praising the new machines despite their near silent progress.
Speeds in excess of 100mph were recorded on the Sulby straight with the normal race speed timing system, and the fastest machine round – Team Agni’s Pro Class entry – lapped at an average speed of 84.81mph, which was actually faster than one of the sidecar machines under race conditions!.
With a two-hour break to allow the local residents to get home from work the Superstock race lined up at 18.30 hours for a four-lap 150.92 mile race. Once again the usual suspects were favored to win, with many having already been out this morning. Mark Miller, Jimmy Moore, CR Gittere, James Vanderhaar and Scott Jensen represented the US in a very international field.
Topping the practice leader board was Plater, with Hutchinson and Amor following on with McGuiness and Anstey being ninth and 10th. While this is always a good guide given the nature of the TT, nothing is ever certain as the race set out prove.
The results will show Ian Hutchinson took his second win of the day, with Guy Martin in second again, failing to achieve his dream. Keith Amor completed the top three to totally replicate this morning’s results.
(left to right): Ian Hutchinson, Guy Martin, and Keith Amor made the Isle of Man Superstock race a repeat of the Supersport results.
Bizarrely, Plater and McGuiness repeated their fourth and fifth places, with Honda just totally dominating the race and making 141 wins. Add to this race and lap records and it is a job well done for the Japanese giant.
But, these are just the hard facts about a race where the lead was changing regularly and was determined by fractions of a second and pit stops. Run again in ideal conditions with a big crowd around the course it certainly ranks amongst the most exciting races in the past few years.
At the end of the first lap it was McGuiness leading and setting a new lap record with the first four posting times in the 128 mph bracket on machines with no quick-shifters or similar racing aids. But, by the end of the second lap Hutchinson had posted a 129.212 mph record lap with Martin also in the 129 bracket behind him, with McGuiness slipping to fourth. However, a poor pit-stop put Martin out in the lead, which he maintained into the fourth lap although at times the lead was down to percentages of a second.
In the last half of the lap it was probably backmarkers that made the difference, allowing Hutchinson to make it two wins in a day and take a race record with a 127.612 mph average speed for the 150 miles. In the process he broke his own lap record set two laps earlier posting 129.746 mph coming in nine seconds in front of Martin.
Jenny Tinmouth the only female competitor in the solo class posted a 116.483mph lap to become the fastest female ever around the TT course. She was watched by the previous holder Maria Costello (114.73 mph in 2004) who is now Pirelli’s PR person, who sportily went to congratulate the new record holder.
Mark Miller gained a silver replica on his Suzuki/WA Corless/Jackson Racing machine with an average of 122.704mph. Jimmy Moore on the Yamaha/JMF Millsport Yamaha gained a bronze with an average 121.029 mph average. Kawasaki mounted James Vanderhaar ended up with a 110.900 average and CR Gittere on a Honda ended just behind with a 110.331, both gaining finishers awards.
So as the sun finally set on the island most headed to celebrate and to look forward to another good days racing tomorrow when the program gets back on schedule.