Michael Dunlop set out to make history at the 2014 Isle of Man TT. The Northern Ireland rider started his campaign in proper form by piloting his BMW to victory in the opening Superbike TT. Tyco Suzuki’s Guy Martin followed Dunlop on the podium in second along with Honda TT Legends rider Conor Cummins in third.
Although Dunlop broke the standing lap record twice en route to the race win, surprisingly he is not the new King of the Mountain. Instead, TT veteran Bruce Anstey supplants John McGuinness as the King, having peeled off the fastest ever lap on the Mountain Course at 132.298 mph. Piloting the Padgetts Honda, Anstey earned the distinction of being the first 132 mph lap at the TT on the final lap of the race.
Dunlop seized the lead on the timesheets early into the opening lap, overtaking Kawasaki rider James Hillier. From there Dunlop made his way to the top with a 131.730 mph opening lap, itself a record-breaking time. The nearest competitor was Martin, 9.5 second back. But on his second circuit of the Mountain Course, Dunlop extended his advantage by upping his own record with a 131.890 mph lap.
Though ahead on the timing, Dunlop and Martin where physically close on the course, as the Suzuki pilot started earlier off the line. Cummins moved into his eventual third-place running order, with another BMW pilot, Michael Rutter, slotting into fourth as the riders emerged from the first of two pit stops in the six-lap race. Cummins’ teammate, McGuinness, ran fifth – the 20-time TT winner still hampered by a wrist injury. Meanwhile, Dunlop’s elder brother, William, was sixth aboard the second Tyco Suzuki.
After two more laps and the final pit stop, Dunlop enjoyed almost a half-minute lead. The BMW rider maintained a comfortable margin all the way to his victory. Instead of pressing for the win, Martin had to withstand the charge of Cummins to retain second. Meanwhile, Anstey’s record-breaking final lap vaulted the New Zealander up to fourth with Rutter relegated to fifth.
William Dunlop finished sixth, followed by McGuinness. Early front-runner Dean Harrison impressed with an eighth-place finish, one spot ahead of fellow Kawasaki rider Hillier, who was leader off the start line in the timing before Dunlop took over. Australian Josh Brookes rounded out the top 10, with the British Superbike competitor racing his Milwaukee Yamaha.
Dunlop’s win gives BMW its first premier class victory for the German marque since German rider George Meier took the 1939 Senior TT victory. Dunlop’s opening race success also signals a potential record-breaking TT campaign, as the 25-year-old embarks on an unprecedented six-TT wins. Dunlop claimed four wins during last year’s Isle of Man races, narrowly missing a five-TT sweep when McGuinness took top honors in the Senior TT (Dunlop placed second). The five victories would have tied the feat accomplished by Ian Hutchinson in 2010. Dunlop could potentially earn a record-breaking six TT victories this year, as he adds the Lightweight TT to his schedule along with the upcoming pair of Supersport races, as well as the lone Superstock and second Superbike race, the Senior TT finale.
2014 Isle of Man Superbike TT Results:
1. Michael Dunlop (BMW) 128.415 mph
2. Guy Martin (Suzuki) 128.000 mph
3. Conor Cummins (Honda) 127.940 mph
4. Bruce Anstey (Honda) 127.504 mph
5. Michael Rutter (BMW) 127.176 mph
6. William Dunlop (Suzuki) 126.982 mph
7. John McGuinness (Honda) 126.966 mph
8. Dean Harrison (Kawasaki) 126.160 mph
9. James Hillier (Kawasaki) 125.674 mph
10. Josh Brookes (Yamaha) 125.660 mph